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Scotto: Houston Rockets offered remaining picks for Mikal Bridges, but Brooklyn Nets rejected offer

In another indication that the Nets aren’t interested in a rebuild, Mike Scotto reports Brooklyn rejected an offer of the remaining picks from Harden trade for Mikal Bridges.

Houston Rockets v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets still have no interest in a full rebuild.

Whatever doubt fans may have had about that should be erased by Mike Scotto’s latest trade deadline summary. Scotto reports that the Nets could have gotten back most if not all of their remaining picks from the James Harden trade if the Nets were willing to send the Houston Rockets Mikal Bridges. Brooklyn, Scotto reports, rejected the offer...

Despite Brooklyn’s recent slide, which has put the Nets on the bubble of the final Play-In Tournament spot with the Hawks, the Nets have continued to tell teams Mikal Bridges is not available, league sources told HoopsHype. Recently, the Houston Rockets were among the teams to register trade interest in Bridges, league sources told HoopsHype. Houston was prepared to send back several of Brooklyn’s unused remaining draft picks from the James Harden trade, but talks never got to that stage because the Nets declined to entertain anything for Bridges when Houston inquired.

The Nets owe the Rockets unprotected first round picks in the 2024 and 2026 NBA Drafts as well as unprotected first round swaps in 2025 and 2027. So far, the only asset the Rockets have acquired from the 2021 Harden trade is Tari Eason who Houston took at No. 17 in the 2022 Draft.

The main impediment to a full rebuild, as opposed to the Nets’ current “retool”, has been the lack of their own picks. As multiple pundits have noted, what good is tanking if another team controls your first rounders? Moreover, as has been reported elsewhere, Joe Tsai is not interested in a full rebuild, believing such a strategy in New York City wouldn’t work.

The Hoopshype writer is the second in the last several days to point out that the Nets continue to believe that the Nets want to build around Bridges rather than use him to acquire picks. Four days ago, Brian Lewis reported that the Nets see Bridges as “all-but-untouchable” so much so that they would turn down a Bridges-for-picks deal.

Scotto also reports that the Nets do not intend to trade Nic Claxton two weeks from Thursday. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the deadline, Claxton might return multiple firsts as well if he was on the market.

As previously reported during an episode of The HoopsHype Podcast with ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the Nets have given teams the impression they’ll keep Nic Claxton past the trade deadline and pay him to re-sign this summer. That stance remains the same a week ahead of the trade deadline.

In the Nets plan going forward, Bridges, 27, and Claxton, 24, are seen as key pieces. Lewis reported nearly a year ago that the Nets turned down a package of four first rounders, not further detailed, from an NBA team after he was traded to Brooklyn in the Kevin Durant trade at last year’s deadline. Scott previously wrote that offer came from the Memphis Grizzlies.

Not surprisingly considering other reports, Scotto writes that Spencer Dinwiddie is very likely to be traded before the deadline and gauges the values of Royce O’Neale and Dorian Finney-Smith from talking to other NBA executives.

[R]ival executives who’ve spoken with HoopsHype believe Brooklyn could potentially garner multiple second-round picks in exchange for Royce O’Neale. Those same executives believe Brooklyn could garner a first-round pick and a rotation player for Dorian Finney-Smith should the Nets move the coveted veterans.

As for the Dejounte Murray rumors, Scotto reports that the Murray buzz has “lessened” in part because the Lakers have not found a third team to take on D’Angelo Russell is a rumored deal with the Hawks. In addition, Russell has been playing at a very high rate over the past 10 games.

That third team has yet to materialize, while there’s also a hesitancy from Los Angeles to add another asset to incentivize a third team to take on Russell in addition to the Lakers’ 2029 first-round pick and former first-round pick Jalen Hood-Schifino who’ve already been discussed with Atlanta.

With the Hawks seeking two first-round picks and looking to shed future payroll without taking any back to avoid the luxury tax next season in trade talks for Murray, there’s been a roadblock to a suitable trade thus far with potential teams interested such as the Lakers, Knicks, Nets, etc.

As Bobby Marks has noted, most deals this time of the year happen the week before the deadline. That starts Thursday. In the past two years, he recently tweeted, of the 36 trades, 31 of them came in the week before the deadline.