Brooklyn trades away center Jarrett Allen, guard Caris LeVert, and forward Taurean Prince as part of the Harden madness. The Nets had previously lost Spencer Dinwiddie for the year due to a torn ACL.
Now, the Nets have Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant leading the charge. Looks fantastic, right? However, Nets general manager Sean Marks insists the roster still needs to be played with.
“Without a doubt, the roster is not done. It is not finalized,” Marks said, per Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.
The Nets currently have three empty roster spots. They traded away their starting center in Jarrett Allen, and despite the addition of Harden, their roster needs some toying with.
Here are three potential targets the Nets could grab to help fill out the roster.
1. JaVale McGee
How can this happen? It’s rather quite simple.
The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Allen and Prince as part of the deal for Harden, and the Cavs now suddenly have a logjam at the center position.
Andre Drummond had been starting games for Cleveland, and McGee was coming off the bench. Larry Nance Jr. is technically a power forward, and Allen is an up-and-coming center that the Cavs are surely going to want to keep around for the future.
The Cavs can either trade Andre Drummond and his huge contract—which is unlikely—or potentially buy out McGee. Drummond picked up his player option over the offseason for just north of $28 million, so dealing Drummond is going to cost big time.
McGee becomes the odd man out, and a buyout agreement with the Cavs sure seems like the best option for both sides.
The Nets suddenly lack depth at the center position, and Deandre Jordan is presumably going to be the starter. While McGee isn’t a name that scares a lot of people, he is still a serviceable player.
McGee played a big part for the Lakers last season, and started for much of the year and even into the playoffs. The addition of McGee—or another center for that matter—is desperately needed in Brooklyn.
2. JJ Barea
The 14-year NBA veteran is unsigned and would make a ton of sense for Brooklyn. Here’s why.
Barea is still, by all means, serviceable, and the Nets desperately need a point guard to come off the bench. Sure, the Nets still have Landry Shamet, but adding a vet like Barea—and a guy who has a lot of playoff experience—would be an easy decision for the Nets.
Barea averaged 7.7 points and nearly four assists for the Mavericks last season, so his passing ability is still there. Barea is also an above-average defender for a smaller guard, and his leadership and veteran presence will certainly pay huge dividends down the stretch.
The best part? Barea could be had for essentially nothing.
While this might not be the most splashy move, the Nets don’t need anything splashy. Their Big 3 of Irving, Durant, and Harden is as splashy as they come. What the Nets need to do is add some solid bench pieces that can play a role if needed come playoff time.
3. Jamal Crawford
It’s always fun to save the best for last.
Yes, Crawford is 40 and has only played a handful of games over the past couple of seasons. So, why Crawford?
The Nets desperately need some sort of bench scoring with the departures of LeVert and Prince. Caris LeVert was having the best season of his young career, averaging 18.5 with a 43 percent mark from the field.
LeVert also was thrust into the starting lineup with Irving and Durant out, and just dropped 43 points against Memphis on Jan. 8. Prince was averaging eight points a game and is a guy who can do a lot of things on the court.
Crawford is 40, sure, but he can score the basketball easily. At the end of the 2019 season, Crawford dropped a 50-piece against the Phoneix Suns. The Nets signed Crawford to come to the bubble over the summer, but he appeared in just one game, as his legs were quite ready for game action.
Crawford has been working out and has been active on social media with hopes to make an NBA roster.
If Crawford can come off the bench and score a dozen a game for the Nets, it would drastically help. The current bench unit of Shamet, Reggie Perry, Chris Chiozza, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is certainly not going to get it done in the playoffs.