The Brooklyn Nets are not willing to trade forward Mikal Bridges to the Portland Trail Blazers for a package centered around the No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and guard Anfernee Simons, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
“The Nets aren’t gonna do that. I continue to hear the Nets are not going to do that,” Lowe said. “Simons and [the No.] 3 is not going to get Mikal Bridges to Portland.”
The Blazers seem to be looking for ways to build around seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard, and the No. 3 pick in Thursday night’s draft may be the team’s best asset to do so.
Portland failed to even make the play-in tournament in the 2022-23 season, and it sat Lillard down the stretch of the season in hopes of landing a better pick. The team did just that, but now the Blazers are faced with a tough decision on whether to turn the pick into a player that can help them win now.
Bridges, who was one of the primary pieces sent to the Nets in the Kevin Durant trade with the Phoenix Suns, was great in Brooklyn during the 2022-23 season.
In 27 games for the Nets, Bridges averaged 26.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 37.6 percent from beyond the arc.
A young two-way player, Bridges is one of the better– if not the best – assets that the Nets have at the moment.
The No. 3 pick in the draft could be valuable depending upon how a team feels about Scoot Henderson, Brandon Miller or some of the other prospects in the 2023 NBA Draft.
It’s possible that Portland could attempt to up the offer to entice the Nets into making a deal, but Lowe doesn’t see the current package being enough.
The Blazers should be one of the more active teams this offseason as they look to improve around Lillard. Forward Jerami Grant is a player the team may need to commit major money to in free agency to keep, and Portland could explore various trade avenues as well.
The 2023 NBA Draft is set to take place on Thursday night at 8 p.m. EST.