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Lewis: Brooklyn Nets would turn down a Houston Rockets offer of lost draft assets for Mikal Bridges

New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

In his weekly Sports+ column, Brian Lewis reports on the upcoming trade deadline (16 days away) and what the roster could look like at 3:00 p.m. ET on February 8. One change we will not see is a trade involving Mikal Bridges.

In fact, Lewis reports that the Nets see Bridges as “all-but-untouchable” so much so that they would turn down a future-altering deal with the Houston Rockets: The 27-year-old for all the draft assets Brooklyn sent Houston in the James Harden trade back in January 2021.

Sources told The Post that Brooklyn rejected four first-round picks for Bridges last season — since revealed to be from the Memphis Grizzlies, per Hoopshype — and their regard for the 27-year-old wing has only grown since. Even if the Houston Rockets were willing to return the remainder of the draft assets the Nets gave up for James Harden, the answer would be another no.

The Rockets, who are in Brooklyn this evening, still hold the Nets unprotected first rounders in 2024 and 2026 and unprotected swaps in 2025 and 2027. The Nets currently have no picks in 2024 and 2026. However, they have multiple picks in both 2025 and 2027: their own (subject to swap) and the Phoenix Suns’ unprotected in 2025 and their own (subject to swap), the Suns’ unprotected first, and the 76ers top-eight protected first in 2027. They also have unprotected first round swap rights with the Suns in 2028.

Bridges was asked about the possibility of a trade after the Nets-Timberwolves game.

“We’re all humans and we know it’s a part of the job,” said Bridges who still has two years and $48.2 million left on his deal after this year. “I think we’re just trying to lock in now and do what we can do here. But I don’t know. You’ve got to ask everybody.”

Bridges is the third highest paid player on the Nets this year after Ben Simmons and Cameron Johnson.

Lewis also noted that the player with probably the most interest on the roster is Royce O’Neale who is on an expiring deal at $9.5 million, a reasonable price for players at his 3-and-D level. Not far behind is Dorian Finney-Smith who was acquired in last year’s deadline deal for Kyrie Irving.

The Post reported that the Nets turned down an offer of two first-round picks for Finney-Smith. Still, he’s been linked to the Bucks, Lakers, Mavericks and Thunder, while O’Neale could fetch a first-round pick and has reportedly drawn interest from the Bucks, Mavs, Nuggets, Pacers and Timberwolves.

And The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported that the Kings were interested in both players, in an attempt to shore up their own leaky defense.

On Friday, there two reports out of Phoenix that another contender, the Suns, also have interest in O’Neale,

As for Spencer Dinwiddie, it’s more of the same: speculation that he could be moved in a three-team trade of point guards that would send him to the Hawks, Dejounte Murray to the Lakers and D’Angelo Russell to the Nets. There are conflicting reports as to whether the Hawks want to move Murray immediately or wait till near the deadline but Lewis hints something may happen sooner rather than later with Dinwiddie.

His recent benchings late in games for Smith Jr. fosters the thought a potential exit could be imminent.

And don’t be surprised if the Nets are part of bigger deals where their league=best seven trade exceptions are put to use. Five of the seven expire between February 6 and 8, including the TPEs generated in the Kyrie Irving trade ($4.5 million) and Kevin Durant ($18.1 million.)