The Nets don’t have a draft pick, but the organization still has a lot on its plate this offseason. After a disastrous showing in the playoffs, changes need to be made.
Here are a few random offseason thoughts on Brooklyn.
The Nets have to extend Kyrie Irving. Brooklyn made its choice during the summer of 2019. By signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as a package deal, they were buying into everything that comes with that duo.
The thought of ditching Irving might be tempting after the last few tumultuous seasons. Hell, the Nets were thinking it over to some extent, but they are reportedly willing to make it work. They have no choice.
Cutting ties with Kyrie would all but guarantee an awkward situation with Durant and it has the potential to lead to a disaster. Although it might make Marks feel queasy, Irving’s extension needs to happen. It’s better than the alternative — another rebuild.
Is there any trade market for Ben Simmons or Joe Harris? Nets owner Joe Tsai is willing to spend money. Offloading Simmons or Harris isn’t necessarily about that. Trading either player is more about creating salary cap flexibility to improve the roster around Durant and Irving.
The problem for Marks here is that stocks are down for Simmons and Harris — obviously, for different reasons. Simmons didn’t play last season, largely due to a mental block. Harris, on the other hand, is coming back from ankle surgery and he turns 31 in August.
Deferring the Philly pick probably won’t mean anything. The Nets acquired a first-round pick in the blockbuster James Harden-Ben Simmons deal. The rub here is that Brooklyn could decide if they wanted to make that pick in 2022 or 2023. They recently deferred it to 2023 in a not-so-surprising move. It provides the Nets with a little more cap flexibility in the short term.
In the long term, the Nets are betting on Philly regressing in 2023. They are passing up on the 23rd pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Although it’s likely that the pick ends up in a similar spot, it’s not a bad gamble for Brooklyn.
Joel Embiid could have easily been the MVP last season, but he has an injury history. James Harden’s contract situation is murky, at best. Even Tyrese Maxey — Philly’s rising star — is no guarantee to take a step forward in year three.
If — by some mixture of misfortune and ineptitude — the Sixers fall out of the lottery, the Nets could cash in on a loaded class. Deferring the pick probably won’t mean anything, but it’s not a bad move at all.
A handful of teams are going to tank for Victor Wembanyama. This doesn’t apply to Brooklyn, but a few teams are going to be tanking for French phenom Victor Wembanyama. “The best prospect since …” is an overused trope when talking about the draft, but I can’t resist the urge here. Wembanyama flashes Rudy Gobert-like rim protection and has the offensive skill to play like a 7-foot-3 wing.
One of the first times I saw Wembanyama play was a clip circulating on social media in 2020. The then-16-year-old was playing two-on-two in an empty gym and looking smooth. It took a few possessions before I realized he was playing against Gobert.
Obviously, the above clip is just a pickup game, but it’s not hard to see why scouts are drooling over Wembanyama. He is the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft class and there will be a race to the bottom for the chance to draft the potential superstar.