4 best players Nets must sign in 2021 NBA free agency
The Brooklyn Nets had championship aspirations in 2020-21, but after losing James Harden (he came back but clearly wasn’t 100%) and Kyrie Irving to injuries, they lost against the Milwaukee Bucks in a thrilling seven-game series. Even Kevin Durant’s 48-point masterpiece was not enough to save the Nets’ season.
Despite getting eliminated early on, oddsmakers have posted the Brooklyn Nets (+225) as the betting favorites for the 2021-22 season with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving all ready to play.
The Nets are severely into the luxury tax and will look to find ways to improve through the taxpayer mid-level exception (about $5.9 million) and veterans who would be willing to take minimum contracts to have an increased chance at winning a ring.
Brooklyn enters the offseason with a lot of decisions to be made regarding free agents in Spencer Dinwiddie, Bruce Brown Jr., Blake Griffin, and Jeff Green. It sure seems like Dinwiddie is going to wind up elsewhere in order to get paid and have a bigger role, and the other guys will also have other suitors.
Whatever happens with those players, here are four other players the Nets must target in free agency.
Rumor has it that DeAndre Jordan, per SNY’s Ian Begley, is being shopped in order to alleviate some of the tax burden. Jordan’s minutes declined this past season, and he was completely out of the rotation when the playoffs started.
Enter Nerlens Noel.
The 27-year-old center was one of the defensive anchors of a suffocating New York Knicks defense. Noel brings rim protection and athleticism to the center spot, as he averaged 5.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and a whopping 2.2 blocks this past season.
The Nets have the best trio in the NBA in Harden, Durant, and Irving, and having a chance to compete for a title could lure Noel away from their crosstown rival.
Otto Porter Jr.
A high-risk, high-reward player, Otto Porter Jr. has struggled with his health in recent seasons. However, he can still be a very good role player and is an excellent 3-and-D forward when healthy.
Last season, Porter averaged 9.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assists while converting 37.5 percent of his attempts from downtown. After playing on a big contract for the past four seasons, Porter will be playing for cheap because of his inability to stay on the court.
One way to boost value is to play and be productive in meaningful minutes for a title contender.
The Nets have a lot of 3-point shooting on their team, but they did just trade away Landry Shamet and could look to replace that production.
Bryn Forbes is one of the best 3-point shooters in the game. Forbes, 28, was fourth in the NBA in 3-point shooting (45.2%) and third-best among players with 200-plus attempts.
Forbes played a notable role in the Bucks’ championship run, at least at the start of it. The sharpshooter helped the Bucks crush the Miami Heat in a first-round sweep. Forbes started the playoffs with a bang, as he averaged 15.0 points on .525/.485/.667 shooting splits in the sweep. He lost minutes as the playoffs went on, but he can still be useful in the right spot.
His hot shooting, off-ball movement, and ability to catch-and-shoot would be a nice lift for the Nets since the Big Three are all ball-dominant players.
The former NBA Finals MVP could make sense for Brooklyn. Even though he is no longer the player he once was when he played with Kevin Durant in Golden State, Iggy can still make an impact on both ends of the court.
Iguodala is a low-usage player with an extremely high basketball IQ. He also boasts plus-level defense and has the ability to handle the rock, so he’s the type of free agent the Nets should target if they want more flexibility off the bench.
Adding another veteran voice in the locker could help the Nets when things get tough during the course of the season.