Very rarely is an NBA team presented with a get-out-of-jail-free card. The Houston Rockets may have offered the Brooklyn Nets just that at the trade deadline.

Nets general Manager Sean Marks went all-in in 2021, sending all of Brooklyn's draft capital to Houston to pair James Harden with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. All three players have since moved on, leaving the team with a roster that has posted the NBA's eighth-worst record this season (26-45).

Without control of their draft picks until 2027, the Nets couldn't take the route of a traditional rebuild. That was until the Rockets set their sights on Mikal Bridges at the deadline. Houston reportedly offered Brooklyn a package of Jalen Green and multiple first-round picks for Bridges, first reported by Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer and confirmed Monday by Shams Charania on FanDuelTV.

Brooklyn declined. While it is unclear which of Brooklyn's picks Houston was willing to send back, the decision drew scrutiny from the Nets fanbase and other corners of the NBA. That sentiment has only grown louder as time has gone on.

Did the Nets make a huge mistake?

 Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges (1) warms up before game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets have continued their freefall in the standings post-deadline, recording the NBA's fifth-worst record (13-35) since December 14. Bridges has struggled as Brooklyn's top option with his minutes piling up, averaging 16.4 points on 39 percent shooting over his last 18 appearances.

Meanwhile, Jalen Green has been the talk of the league amid a recent Rockets surge. The 22-year-old ranks fourth in the NBA scoring in March, averaging 27.8 points per game on 51/42/80 shooting splits.

Marks remains confident in his ability to lure stars

Marks' decision to turn Houston away underscores Brooklyn's desire to re-enter contention in the near future. Over the last year, the GM has also rebuffed offers for Dorian Finney-Smith and Nic Claxton. After moving Durant, Irving, and Harden, the Nets have seven tradable first-round picks, including three distant unprotected firsts from Phoenix (2027, 2029) and Dallas (2029), which should be highly coveted.

Brooklyn wants to use that capital to pair a star with Bridges. The team's abysmal season has not hurt Marks' confidence in his ability to attract marquee names, something I discussed with the New York Post's Brian Lewis on my podcast, Bleav in Nets.

Donovan Mitchell has been linked to Brooklyn over the last year. The Cleveland Cavaliers star is entering the final year of his contract next season and has well-documented interest in returning home to New York.

But is Mitchell really leaving a Cavs team that has posted the Eastern Conference's third-best record for the lottery-bound Nets? And if so, how far does that even get Brooklyn? Would they have enough assets leftover to acquire another star, moving Bridges to a No. 3 role, his most likely position on a title team?

The deeper you get into the hypotheticals, the more you realize how much would need to break right for the Nets to build a contender within Bridges' window. This realization has led to frustration within the fanbase surrounding Brooklyn's reluctance to entertain offers for the Villanova product.

However, Marks did it once before, taking what many called the most desolate situation in NBA history and turning it into Durant, Irving, and Harden. One year after that group's implosion, he's attempting to sell his fanbase on another quick-fix star acquisition. If the plan is unsuccessful, the fans' waning patience will be completely gone, and so will Marks.