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ESPN: Nets Off-Season worst in the East with a ‘D+’ rating

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Kevin Pelton of ESPN takes a look at all the East’s rosters, grading each team’s off-season. No surprise, but Pelton thinks the Nets, at least for now, are not doing well. He gave them a D+ and of course, the grade is most about Brooklyn’s unsettled superstar duo:

Only time will tell whether the Nets overplayed their hand with Durant or can convince him to rescind his trade request ahead of free agency. Either way, Brooklyn’s handling of Kyrie Irving’s player option has left the team with major questions about all three of their best players heading into training camp: Durant, Irving and Ben Simmons, the latter looking at a 16-month layoff between competitive games and coming off back surgery.

Pelton isn’t even positive about the Nets acquisitions this off-season, offering skeptical views of both Royce O’Neale and T.J. Warren, currently the team’s two biggest off-season additions.

In terms of the moves the Nets did make, sending the Utah Jazz a first-round pick for Royce O’Neale feels like an overpay given how O’Neale’s defense has declined the past two seasons. He now leans much more toward the “3” half of the 3-and-D equation, same as incumbent Brooklyn perimeter players Seth Curry, Joe Harris and Patty Mills. I liked adding former Indiana Pacers starter T.J. Warren in the hopes he can get healthy, but his deal’s low price (the veteran’s minimum) seems to suggest other teams don’t expect that this season.

Pelton seems to suggest that the Nets roster is too wing-heavy. Of course, the off-season is not over yet. As noted elsewhere, the Nets have only 12 players on guaranteed deals.

Overall, Pelton thinks the 76ers and Celtics have done the best job over the summer, Philly signing James Harden to favorable contract and adding P.J. Tucker, Danuel House Jr. and De’Anthony Melton and Boston picking up Malcolm Brogdon and Daniel Gallinari.

Meanwhile, over at The Athletic, Zach Harper couldn’t offer much more. He understands the Nets fate is tied to KD and Kyrie so dropped them in the middle his off-season rankings:

Bringing in O’Neale and Warren while losing Dragić, Drummond and Brown can be sliced and analyzed in a bunch of different ways. Warren needs to be healthy, but let’s be honest: None of these moves matter until the drama is settled for the Brooklyn Nets. Do we think Durant is going to be traded? I don’t know. Is Kyrie Irving out the door? I don’t know. Even if he’s remains this season, do we expect him to play even half the season? I don’t know. Is Ben Simmons going to return to form? I have no idea. The Nets are full of questions, and there aren’t many answers. For now, let’s just put them firmly in the middle of these rankings.

We don’t know either.