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Nets ‘inquire’ about Naz Reid, ‘monitor’ Serge Ibaka as trade, buyout deadlines approach

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It’s starting to be that time of year, when fragmentary reports of interest by this team or that become the grist for the trade mill.

On Tuesday, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported that the Nets have interest in Naz Reid, the 6’9”, 265-pound Timberwolves center — and Asbury Park, N.J. native. They are not alone.

HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported on Monday that Timberwolves center Naz Reid has drawn interest from the Clippers and Nuggets. I’ve heard from league sources that the Nets have also inquired about Reid, so there would be competition for him if Minnesota chose to move him, though the price for the upcoming free agent wouldn’t be significant.

O’Connor didn’t specify what the Timberwolves would want for the 23-year-old LSU product, but Reid is at the end of a three-year deal signed after he went undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft. He makes $1.9 million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer. It’s unlikely that Reid will be back in Minny despite averaging 10.6 points and 4.8 rebounds. Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert already dominate the Timberwolves frontcourt.

Of course, there will be more rumors of interest leading up the February 9 trade deadline. Indeed, on NBA Today Tuesday, ESPN’s Zach Lowe, said he expects the Nets are going to be “really active” before the trade deadline...

“I think [The Nets are] gonna be really active over the next two weeks looking to add another piece. They have picks to trade, they have some mid-size contracts,” said Lowe.

“I think they sense if KD’s back. and ‘we’re playing like this, and get Ben Simmons a little more consistent. We’ve got a chance and we’re going to push more chips in.’ We don’t think of them that way, because they traded so much to get Harden and all those other deals. They’re going to be active.”

Adrian Wojnarowski has said the Nets are interested in bulking up their front court. Reid would surely qualify in that regard. Although Reid seems likely to be dealt, said fragments of information don’t always mean interest in trading for a player. It might be that the Nets, like a lot of contenders, are looking not just at the trade deadline, but the buyout deadline of March 1.

Mike Scotto, writing for Hoopshype, reports that the Nets are among several teams “monitoring” Serge Ibaka’s troubled relationship with the Bucks but didn’’t provide details..

Scotto writes;

The Milwaukee Bucks and Serge Ibaka have mutually agreed to find the veteran center a new home via trade, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Several teams are monitoring Ibaka, including the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, and Atlanta Hawks, league sources told HoopsHype. The sense is that Milwaukee would be willing to part with Ibaka for a second-round pick, according to NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype.

Ibaka has played only 16 games with the Bucks this season, none since New Year’s Day, and only two since before Thanksgiving. He’s averaging 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds, statistically the worst in his 14-year career. Yes, the Nets did try to sign him for the 2020-21 season, but he chose the Clippers instead.

Separately, Scotto wrote about how Josh Richardson, the Spurs’ small forward, could also be had cheaply...

Richardson is also available for a second-round pick, league sources told HoopsHype. Richardson, a 29-year-old 3-and-D swingman, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Still, it’s hard to imagine that Nets would be interested in trading for Ibaka who’s now 33 or for that matter, Richardson, who’s 29. RIchardson is having a better year than Ibaka, averaging 11.4 points and 2.6 boards, makes $12.2 million on an expiring deal, requiring the Nets or any other contender to match salaries ... and thus up a player with a similar salary. The Nets only control five second rounders through 2029.

What the Nets may be doing in “monitoring” Ibaka (and maybe Richardson) is preparing for the NBA buyout deadline on March 1. Once the trade deadline has passed, at 3:00 p.m. ET on February 9, agents for players who want out of their current contract will press for their clients to be waived so they can sign with a contender. If a player is waived by March 1, he becomes a free agent and consider other offers.

The Nets famously signed LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin in March 2021 after they had been bought out by the Spurs and Pistons, respectively. They also worked the buyout market in 2020 signing Tyler Johnson after he was cut by the Suns and last year when they added Goran Dragic after he was waived by the Spurs.

So far, only one buyout candidate has been tied to Brooklyn: Will Barton, the 6’5” Wizards wing who after consistently scoring in double figures most of his 11-year career has been relegated to the bench where he’s averaging 7.5 points and shooting 37.0% from three. Chris Vernon of The Ringer said on his Mismatch podcast that if he’s bought out, the Nets may have interest.

Somebody told me maybe like a week ago, out of nowhere, and there has been some buzz about Will Barton getting bought out. And that if he does possibly get bought out, just keep an eye on Bucks or Nets.

Putting aside any specific interest, the Nets could have an advantage in a bidding war for any buyout candidates next month: they retain their Taxpayers MLE. Although it drops by $37,236 each day after January 10, it would still be worth roughly $5.4 million the day after the trade deadline and $4.6 million on March 1. With most contenders limited to the vets minimum, if there is a player the Nets really wanted (and Joe Tsai is willing to pay more in luxury taxes), the Nets could offer him all or part of the TMLE.

Earlier Monday, Keith Smith of RealGM tweeted that he believed the Celtics would not make a big move at the trade deadline but instead would wait till the buyout market where they can expected to be active. Based on the Nets recent history, Brooklyn may be following similar path. As of now, there are no rumored candidates but it’s early. Expect to see pundits like Smith come up with names in the next week or so.

Waiting till after the trade deadline would lower the team’s risk and eliminate the need to part with a draft pick or another asset. Of course, the Nets would also have to find a roster spot to fill. Bottom line though is that with deadlines approaching, expect the Nets and other teams to monitor a lot of players.

In the meantime, fans will be monitoring every rumor, every fragment for a sense of what the Nets are thinking.