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2 insane trades the Nets need to make to reach the NBA Finals

Nets Pistons, James Harden, Kevin Durant

Despite bannering a big three of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets fell short of their goal of winning an NBA championship last season after getting bounced by the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks in the second round. On paper, the Nets were undoubtedly the favorites to come out of the East. However, injuries became Brooklyn’s main concern for majority of the regular season and that became the exact reason for their demise in the playoffs. That just goes to show that no matter how star-studded a team can be, a clean bill of health is still one of the most important factors of success in the NBA.

The Nets have done what they can this offseason to build a championship-worthy supporting cast around their three stars. Brooklyn retained Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown, two key components of their squad last season. Perhaps their biggest signing is Patty Mills, who had a magnificent run with Team Australia in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Nets also added some veteran free agents in Paul Millsap, Deandre Bembry, and James Johnson to fill out their roster. Even LaMarcus Aldridge, who retired midway through the 2020-21 season due to heart concerns after playing just five games with the Nets, was cleared to play basketball again and came back to Brooklyn on a one-year deal. They also drafted a promising guard in Cameron Thomas, who showed out in the NBA Las Vegas Summer League.

Despite loading their team, the Nets still have avenues to get better and to somewhat mitigate a possible injury from one of their stars down the line. They could still acquire another high-level rotation player that could ultimately ensure them of a spot in the championship round. With that said, here are a two insane trades the Nets need to make to reach the NBA Finals.

Potential Nets Trades

1. Jerami Grant

Jerami Grant left the Denver Nuggets and signed with the Detroit Pistons the previous offseason to get the chance to play a bigger role in an offense. Grant got what he wanted and became Detroit’s top scorer in 2020-21, averaging 22.3 points through 54 games. However, with the Pistons drafting Cade Cunningham with the no. 1 overall pick this summer and looking to head to a youth movement, perhaps the 27-year old may not be in their long-term plans.

If Detroit makes him available, the Nets should go hard in trying to acquire the Syracuse standout. We’ve seen what Grant can do when playing alongside superstar-caliber players, as he did with Denver a couple of years ago. He thrived within his role as a spot up shooter for the most part, but also contributed in other ways as a scorer. He also became their top defender against the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis in the 2020 postseason.

Should the Nets hit the jackpot with Grant, he should play the same role that he had with the Nuggets. The 6-foot-8 forward will likely not have the ball in his hands a ton, as he did with the Pistons. But he should thrive with the more open looks he’ll get, especially from the perimeter, with defenses focused on slowing down the Big Three.

On the defensive end is where the Nets will need Grant the most. His length and versatility will come in handy should they square off once again with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, as well as Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler against the other East contenders. In many ways, he’ll be an upgraded version of Jeff Green, who left the Nets this summer to go to, ironically, Grant’s former team, the Nuggets.

2. Myles Turner

Myles Turner has long been the subject of trade speculation over these last couple of years. His fit alongside Indiana Pacers All-Star Domantas Sabonis is questionable at best, as the Lithuanian figures to play his best when he’s at the five, the same position Turner plays. With that, the Pacers could finally pull the trigger on the player they drafted with the 11th overall pick in 2015.

Should Indiana look to trade Turner, the Nets shouldn’t think twice in trying to land the 2-time blocks leader. Brooklyn may be stacked with talent right now. But as constructed, perhaps their biggest weakness is interior defense and rim protection. Turner is one of the most elite big men in that department and he will instantly address that concern. The 25-year old led the NBA in blocks last season, averaging 3.4 per game.

On the offensive end, Turner is strong finisher at the rim and a capable catch-and-shoot 3-point option at the center position. Being a career 35.2 percent shooter from beyond the arc, his ability to space the floor fits well in the Nets’ system as this would allow Durant, Harden, and Irving more room to operate with.

His addition would also give Brooklyn the option to play big, as they would finally get a true center that could man the paint. Blake Griffin figures to be the team’s de facto starting center, with LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap likely set to back him up. Those three veterans may be best suited to play the five at this point of their careers. But they don’t offer the same kind of elite interior defense that Turner can.