Years ago, while lunching with a Nets executive, we asked about an Adrian Wojnarowski report that the Nets were discussing a trade ... a big, transformative one. It seems speculative, we noted. The executive took a sip of wine and spoke words we often recall.
“Woj was not speculating,” said the executive. “Woj was working.”
A few hours later, after the executive had departed for HSS Training Center, Woj tweeted out the details of the Brook Lopez for D’Angelo Russell deal. His work was done. And we had learned a lesson.
Woj was apparently working again Wednesday when in speaking with Malika Andrews on ESPN’s NBA Countdown. he predicted that the Nets would be “active” — particularly “in the front court” — before the February 9 trade deadline.
Woj: "Brooklyn [Nets], like a lot of other contenders out there in both conferences, see a marketplace right now that is much more of a sellers than a buyers market. Just Not enough teams have really made the decision that they're going to be sellers, that they're out of it." pic.twitter.com/e5blAQLyIY— ' (@_Talkin_NBA) January 12, 2023
“Brooklyn is going to be active,” said Woj. “They’re going to look to upgrade. I think particularly as Richard [Jefferson] said, in the front court. What the Nets get to do now is evaluate their roster without Kevin Durant. who has been such a dominant force for them. You mention Kyrie Irving leading the way now with this team. T.J. Warren was brought in to be a really productive player offensively. He gets that opportunity now. Seth Curry, Joe Harris. So now, Brooklyn has some time to see how these players play to see before they have to make some decisions.”
But Woj also reported that things are slow right now in the trade market. Not enough mediocre teams have decided whether they want to go for it, that is make the post-season, or rebuild.
“Brooklyn [Nets], like a lot of other contenders out there in both conferences, see a marketplace right now that is much more of a sellers than a buyers market. Just Not enough teams have really made the decision that they’re going to be sellers, that they’re out of it for the play-in, for the playoffs. And usually that happens closer to that February 9 deadline.”
NetsDaily confirmed Woj’s report. Then, on Friday, Woj went further, seeming to suggest that Joe Tsai is willing to pay even more luxury taxes if needed.
“They have an owner in Joe Tsai who’s shown a willingness to take on salary to run up their luxury tax bill. This is clearly the ultimate win-now team in the NBA.” Woj said, also on NBA Countdown. Tsai is currently projected to pay roughly $100 million in luxury taxes this year.
There have been reports that the Nets are among the teams interested in John Collins, the 6’10” power forward, but there have also been reports that the Hawks are not interested in Joe Harris, who would be an easy salary match. There’s also been speculation that the Nets might be thinking about someone less expensive. Alex Schiffer has proposed Nick Richards, the Hornets 7-footer, while Kevin Pelton thinks Chris Boucher, the Raptors 6’9” back-up might be a good fit.
Still, it appears that we have time before the Nets make a move ... we think.
Meanwhile, Magic Johnson posted a series of tweets on the Nets...
As of today, the Brooklyn Nets are the biggest threat to the Boston Celtics going to the NBA Finals.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 11, 2023
Kyrie Irving is back playing at an All Star level. He’s been unstoppable when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 11, 2023
Brooklyn’s Jacque Vaughn is my leading candidate for Coach of the Year followed closely by Sacramento’s Mike Brown and Boston’s Joe Mazzulla.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 11, 2023
Nets Owner Joe Tsai and GM Sean Marks, what are you waiting for? Sign Jacque Vaughn to a long-term contract. He’s earned and deserves a long term deal. This is the best I’ve seen the Brooklyn Nets play!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 11, 2023
For the record, Vaughn’s contract runs through the end of next season.