Report: League executives have been talking about Brooklyn Nets potentially blowing up their roster

Peter Dewey
5 Min Read
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Executives around the NBA reportedly have been talking about the possibility of the Brooklyn Nets blowing up their roster this season.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, it is still potentially an option even though Brooklyn has won three of its last four games to move to 5-7 on the season. The Nets have dealt with a ton of issues dating back to the offseason.

First off, there was Kevin Durant’s trade request, which clearly showed that the team had some issues to solve to satisfy the star. Next, Brooklyn parted ways with head coach Steve Nash just a few games into this season.

To make matters worse, the team recently suspended guard Kyrie Irving for at least five games for promoting a documentary with anti-Semitic views on social media. Irving was suspended after he failed to apologize for his actions.

Those issues, and the Nets’ lack of draft capital because of the James Harden trade, could make the team blow things up this season.

“This is just something that league executives are talking about and, frankly, the Brooklyn Nets’ front office has to seriously start considering,” Windhorst said. “And that would be a potentially nuclear option of beginning a blow-up to this roster this season.”

The Nets could certainly turn things around and make the playoffs this season, but it’s hard to forget that the team was the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference in the 2021-22 campaign and got swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.

“They owe the next four drafts, essentially, to the Houston Rockets,” Windhorst continued. “A pick swap this year, (Brooklyn’s) pick unprotected next year, another pick swap in two years, and in three years, their pick. But of those four, this year is interesting.”

The Harden trade looks awful for the Nets now since they haven’t contended for a title, especially because Ben Simmons has struggled so far in the 2022-23 season. Brooklyn acquired Simmons last season when it dealt Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers prior to the trade deadline.

“If this Nets team is not going to rebound, if Kyrie Irving isn’t able to satisfy the Nets and bring him back, if Ben Simmons’ knee and returning from his back issue is too big of a hurdle for him to be an impact player, maybe they need to look at what would happen if they took advantage of the pick swap this year, because the Houston Rockets are one of the league’s worst teams,” Windhorst said. “And with Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson in this year’s draft, they’re going to stay one of the worst teams.”

The Rockets could benefit in a big way if the Nets miss the playoffs in the 2022-23 season, as it would essentially give them two shots at landing the top pick, since they can swap their selection with Brooklyn if the Nets’ pick ends up being better.

Windhorst explained that by blowing up the roster this season, the Nets could still end up with a high draft pick that would jump-start their rebuild. They also would likely have some solid assets that they could use from a potential Durant trade.

“If the Nets elected to go down the path of an instantaneous rebuild, they could get their pick into position where even if it swaps with the Houston Rockets this year, it’d still potentially be a lottery pick in a very deep draft,” Windhorst stated. “It would also potentially bring Kevin Durant back on the market to be traded. And so if the Brooklyn Nets did this, they would potentially have the assets they got from a Kevin Durant trade, potentially a very good lottery pick, and potentially other pieces and parts from other players they could trade this year.”

The NBA insider makes some good points, but it’s hard to see the Nets tanking this early into the season, especially with Durant on the roster and playing well.

Brooklyn will likely have to reassess this team a bit further into the season, and if the Nets are out of playoff contention, it may be time to rethink the future of the franchise.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.