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Nets eyeing Isaia Cordinier in the off-season?

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Brooklyn Nets v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

He was, at least according to Woj, a throw-in the Hawks sent Brooklyn in the Jeremy Lin trade. The Nets were looking for cap space primarily in July 2018. So they dumped Lin, sent back a future second rounder and a future swap of seconds. In the process, they got the draft rights to a 21-year-old French guard Isaia Cordinier and a protected second in return.

“You’ll probably never see him,” tweeted Woj in reporting the trade on Twitter.

Woj may have spoken too soon. Reports out of Europe the last few days suggest that Cordinier, a 6’5” combo guard who was just named first team All-EuroCup, may be headed to Brooklyn after all.

Now 24, Cordinier played for Nanterre in France this year. As a free agent, he’s become a top target of European teams as well as the Nets, according to those reports. Chema de Lucas, the Spanish hoops writer who first called Gabriel Deck to the Thunder and Mike James to the Nets, shut down a discussion of which European team will land Cordinier by tweeting Cordinier is going to “la NBA.”

De Lucas didn’t say the Nets but they do hold his exclusive rights. Similarly on Thursday, another European hoops writer, in a Twitter discussion of where the German League MVP might wind up, said Brooklyn is offering “competition” to Euroleague teams eyeing Cordinier.

Since the trade with the Hawks, Cordinier’s been been seen as the most likely NBA candidate among their many stashes — four now, six a year ago. In 2019, he competed in the Las Vegas Summer League and in one memorable game he dominated play, finishing with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting —3-of-4 from three — as well as three rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

His 3-point shooting was particularly encouraging. It had always been the weakest part of his offensive package. This year, however, it’s matured and he averaged better than 42 percent in EuroCup competition, making him a better prospect. (The Nets have had Cordinier work with Austrian shooting coach Stefan Weissenbock.)

As his Euroleague highlights show, he is as athletic as any Nets player...

Cordinier was interested in a two-way deal a couple of years back, but it never materialized. The current rumors sound more like the interest is more serious. Of course, the Nets are stacked at the positions Cordinier plays and maybe the rumors are a prelude to a trade. On the other hand, the Nets have a number of players who’ll be free agents this summer and as this year has proven, you can never have too much depth.

As for Woj’s 2018 tweet, it probably had some validity back then. Cordinier had persistent knee trouble that later required double knee surgery and a lengthy rehab. As he mentioned at the time of the trade to Brooklyn, the Hawks had lost interest in him following a change in the front office He was only the 44th pick.

The Nets, on the other hand, saw something in him and asked for him in the Lin deal. It wouldn’t be the first time something like this has worked out.

(H/T to @BXJR3311, our social media sleuth. Follow this man!)