First the caveats: Things can change and fast. None of the Big Three exit trades took more than 48 hours to complete. The trade that brought James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets took 72 hours. The trade that brought Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets less than 24. We are still days away from that timeframe. Then there’s the game within the game as everyone involved — players, agents, GMs, ambitious staffers, etc. — tries to get an advantage in the days leading to the deadline. The closer the deadline, the more exquisite the game.
That said, things are apparently happening over at 168 39th Street in Brooklyn. By all accounts, the Nets are active. Of course, that doesn’t mean that at 3:00 p.m. ET Thursday, Joe Cuomo, the Nets director of equipment and travel, will be stitching up new uniforms and dumping old ones.
Matt Moore, the veteran NBA writer at Harwood Paroxysm and Action Network, reported that more teams had tried to wrest Mikal Bridges from the Nets, but the Nets continue to resist — and bragged about said resistance. After noting the Rockets’ previously reported entreaties that reportedly included a return of “several” Nets draft assets and maybe even Jalen Green, Moore said that the New Orleans Pelicans had interest in the Nets centerpiece...
The Pelicans are also known to have made a serious offer for Mikal Bridges and were likewise rebuffed. Two league sources said the Nets have claimed multiple offers of five first-rounders for Mikal Bridges, but I’m pretty skeptical on that front. One, it might be five “firsts” with swaps and/or heavily protected picks, and if the offer was really five firsts, why share that and then continue to say they are not interested in trading Mikal Bridges?
Jalen Green’s recent improved play (30 points, seven rebounds and four assists over his last five games) has cooled talk of Houston potentially moving on from the No. 2 pick, though several sources said he was a key component in early talks between the Rockets and Nets for Mikal Bridges.
That appears to confirm Shams Charania’s comment two days about the there is a “long line” of NBA teams “extremely interested” in Bridges.
Moore also pointed out that the Utah Jazz made a bid and suggests that in that case there has been consistency in the Nets price tag: too high.
The Jazz, sources say, called the Nets to inquire about Mikal Bridges, though they found the same impossibly high bar to clear in return.
So, that would mean that at least the Rockets, Pelicans and Jazz made overtures to the Nets as executives wonder how about serious the Nets are regarding their aversion to a total rebuild.
As for the other players reportedly on the block, NetsDaily has been told that the team is not getting the return it wants for the team’s three 30-year-olds: Royce O’Neale, Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie nor Nic Claxton.
O’Neale who is on an expiring $9.5 million contract has reportedly been the subject of talks between the Nets and Phoenix Suns with the Suns offering two second rounders and Nassir Little, the 23-year-old wing man who played the first years of his career with the Blazers, for O’Neale. Little, at 6’6” is an aspiring 3-and-D wing, but his time in Phoenix has been spent mostly riding the pine. He is in the first year of a four-year, $28 million contract. However, Little has been more prominently mentioned in rumored Suns’ talks with the Charlotte Hornets for Miles Bridges and with the Rockets for Jae’Sean Tate. Phoenix needs a back-up wing.
Although DFS is reportedly sought by a number of NBA clubs for his defense, ND has been told that the most likely return for him is a couple of second rounders or a heavily protected first rounder plus a player.
On Saturday’s Steinline podcast, Jake Fischer said virtually the same thing.
As for Dinwiddie, the word is that there is currently “no market” for the 30-year-old who has not had a good year. Those in Dinwiddie’s camp will tell you that it’s not about him but about Jacque Vaughn’s offensive schemes. Not surprisingly, there’s no market for Ben Simmons either.
The Nets biggest expiring deal, of course, is Nic Claxton. While rumors heat up about Clax — Marc Stein of TheSteinLine said Friday that the Nets might be willing to discuss a trade, NetsDaily has been told that the market for the 24-year-old is not what might be expected. Teams are not sure they want to invest the $100 million Claxton wants come summer time and so are not offering a big return. Expect Claxton to stay in Brooklyn beyond the deadline. They can always move in a sign-and-trade in the summer if they want.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports told Marc Stein on his Steinline podcast that he believes “Royce O’Neale could be had for a couple of seconds ... Dorian I think they’ll want a real first. I think that’s the minimum for him, I do.
“Spencer, I think, if-the-right thing-comes-along,” Fischer added. “Because they do have this clear hole at guard.
Finally, while it appears that Dejounte Murray, the Hawks point guard, will get moved before Thursday afternoon, it’s unlikely that his next stop will be Brooklyn. The Nets are reportedly only offering one first rounder for the 27-year-old. More than one team, apparently including the Nets, are concerned about his personality, that in the words of one source, “he is not about the right things.”
Fischer said he too has heard the Nets are not that interested in Murray despite some conversations.
“I would have personally thought make Brooklyn an obvious match for Dejounte Murray. I know they’ve had conversations. I know they have checked in, but I’m pretty confident that the Hawks asking price of two first round picks and a good player as well is just too rich for Brooklyn’s blood. I don’t really see another point guard option that makes sense to them right now.”
Fischer also said the Nets “checked in” with the Toronto Raptors on Bruce Brown regarding a possible reunion “but I don’t think they’re going to put a first rounder out the door for someone who doesn’t have a long-term salary situation like he does.”
And so we wait till the next round of rumors. Expect them to become more hot and heavy starting Tuesday if nothing has happened by then. The last 48 hours before any deadline are hectic and the first of the Nets big trade exceptions — a $4.5 million TPE generated by last year’s Kyrie Irving trade — expires on that day. The Kevin Durant exception at $18.8 million is good through Thursday and the Nets have a recent record of using their big exceptions.