The Brooklyn Nets have to invest in two things: their superstars and their future. That means letting go of aging assets and avoiding depreciating free agents.
Keep in mind that the Nets made the 2022 NBA Playoffs, but they got swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round. That was not supposed to happen. Entering last season, the Nets were odds-on favorites to contend for the NBA championship. They were even picked by some to figure in a titanic NBA Finals series against the Los Angeles Lakers. Of course, that did not happen.
All throughout last season, the Nets were known more for their off-court drama than their on-court performance. Maybe that was a good thing since the product on the floor stunk on most nights anyway. Now that Kyrie Irving has opted in, Ben Simmons might be ready to play, and Kevin Durant hopefully happier than last year, the Nets may actually live up to expectations.
I wrote a Q+A for @TheAthleticNBA on Kyrie Irving's decision to opt in. Whether he can still agree to an extension, whether the Nets can still trade him, Brooklyn's books now and moving forward, and much more https://t.co/v4uJhBJaB4
— Danny Leroux (@DannyLeroux) June 29, 2022
Unless they bungle the free agency and sign guys they should avoid like the plague.
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3 players Nets must avoid in 2022 NBA Free Agency:
3. joe ingles
Joe Ingles had some good runs with the Utah Jazz, but he would be redundant in a team that already has another Joe — Harris. The Aussie is also four years older than Harris and is still recovering from a torn left ACL. Ingles does provide experience, stability, and shooting, but even that tapered off last season.
The Nets would do well to avoid Ingles, keep Harris, and also focus on keeping unrestricted free agent Bruce Brown. Brown can play pretty much any position and should be a perfect complement to put alongside KD and Kyrie given how he moves really well off the ball. He is also still just 25 years old, while Ingles is already 34.
2. Andre Drummond
This may be a tough summer for Andre Drummond. In an era where his skill-set is getting less and less relevant, the 28-year-old big man has seen his stock fall with each passing year. He was actually a double-double guy for the Nets in the 24 games he played for them last season, but that will likely mean nothing as the Nets focus on keeping Brown and another up-and-comer, Nic Claxton.
The 23-year-old Claxton just gives Brooklyn more length, more spring, and more upside moving forward. Whereas an old-school center like Drummond is on the decline, a nouveau big man like Claxton is on the rise. It makes no sense for the Nets to even think of keeping Drummond for next season.
1. Blake Griffin
Yet another relic of a bygone era, 33-year-old Blake Griffin is coming off, by far, his least productive NBA season. That doesn’t bode well for his chances as an unrestricted free agent at a time when most NBA teams are looking for bigs who can run, jump, and shoot. Unfortunately, this version of Griffin cannot do any of those with satisfying consistency anymore.
The Milwaukee Bucks are interested in Nets free agent Blake Griffin, per league source. pic.twitter.com/NVXz8P61IJ
— Hoop Vines (@Hoopvines) June 30, 2022
Maybe a team out there will take a chance on Griffin and make him a secondary unit power forward. That’s all well and good, but that team should not be the Brooklyn Nets. Again, they should focus on keeping Bruce Brown, Nic Claxton, and maybe even Patty Mills as pieces around the core of KD, Kyrie, and Simmons. Blake’s just got to go.