clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Schiffer: Why would Nets trade Mikal Bridges now after turning down four picks?!?

Fan interest in the NBA Draft is a natural thing. Free players! But is moving up to No. 3 at the expense of losing Mikal Bridges worth it?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Indiana Fever v New York Liberty Photo by Catalina Fragoso/NBAE via Getty Images

Alex Schiffer is adamant that the Nets are not interested in trading Mikal Bridges. In a column analyzing fans favorite off-season trades, The Athletic writer said the much discussed scenario where Bridges would go to Portland for the No. 3 pick in the Draft, Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe is not realistic.

League and team sources, who are not permitted to speak publicly about trades, have previously told The Athletic the Nets aren’t interested in trading Mikal Bridges, the prized return in the Kevin Durant trade. They already turned down four first-round picks from the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline for him, so why would this deal change that?

This was in fact the third time, both in copy and tweets, that Schiffer has tried to tamp down fans’ enthusiasm for getting Scoot Henderson on the night of June 22. His colleague at The Athletic has reported the same thing. One reason is that the Nets have committed to Bridges who has been everywhere doing everything with everyone in the Nets firmament. Just this weekend, he was once again at Barclays Center, watching the Liberty with Clara Wu Tsai, co-owner of the Nets and co-governor of the Liberty who Bridges has called one of his favorites. He has been a regular.

Indiana Fever v New York Liberty Photo by Catalina Fragoso/NBAE via Getty Images
Connecticut Sun v New York Liberty Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

He’s even running a basketball camp on July 23 at Basketball City in Manhattan.

Indeed, the 26-year-old Bridges has been lionized by the Nets social media ever since the deadline trade with Phoenix. There has no reporting that Sean Marks is any less enamored of the 6’6” wing than he was in February when Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Marks “long coveted,” not just when the Nets and Suns needed to pull something together.

Schiffer left himself only a little wiggle room in his analysis of a potential deal, but in doing so added other reasons for not dispatching Bridges for what would be a deep rebuild.

If the Nets were to have a change of heart, they’d want more than a pair of assets for Bridges. By trading him, the Nets would be rebuilding around Sharpe, 19, or Simons, 23, and likely either Scoot Henderson or Brandon Miller depending on who the Charlotte Hornets select at No. 2. It would make the Nets younger but do them no immediate favors as their 2024 first-round selection is owned by the Houston Rockets outright from the original James Harden trade.

Moreover, one of the prizes in any such deal is apparently “off-limits,” according to Jake Fischer.

[O]ne detail has emerged from early trade conversations around the league: Trail Blazers officials have left inquiring teams with the impression that Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 7 pick in last year’s draft, is off limits in any dialogue regarding the No. 3 pick.

Then, there’s the uncertainty about just what the Blazers want to do as they try to retool not rebuild around Damian Lillard. At this point, Lillard is attending Blazers draft workouts, a sign he’s still interested in Portland’s future. Which direction the Portland brain trust takes will determine a lot on Draft Night free agency.

Schiffer doesn’t even think such a deal would work for the Blazers.

I’m not sure Bridges puts them into the championship-contending mode everyone in Portland thinks this team is headed with a trade. Portland would be left with a potential starting lineup of Lillard, Sharpe, Bridges, Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkić, with potentially Mattisse Thybulle and Nassir Little coming off the bench.

Also, if Simons is traded, it creates another hole for Portland at backup point guard that will have to be filled. So, again, this trade makes Portland face its ultimate dilemma: It makes them better, but probably not championship-better, so does it make more sense to accrue young talent like Henderson or Miller?

Sure, everything could change but other than talent (or potential), there is the psychic benefit of keeping Bridges. A trade that would send him to the Pacific Northwest would be the third deal in which a face of the franchise was sent packing. You want load down ticket reps and sponsorship sales personnel with that additional burden? Moreover, if Bridges leaves, it would seem less likely that Cam Johnson would stay on when free agency opens.

As Schiffer notes as well, the Nets have a tendency to take care of family business on Draft Night, with a record of doing deals whether it’s trading Thaddeus Young for the draft rights to Caris LeVert at Marks first draft in 2016 or dumping salary so they could engineer the Clean Sweep back in 2019 or acquiring a second first so they could pick up Cam Thomas in 2019.

So, a lot can happen in the two plus weeks before the Draft — and usually does. But sending out Mikal Bridges is, as Schiffer summarized, “unlikely.”