Nets’ worst move of 2022 NBA offseason
The news that Kevin Durant requested a trade rocked the entire NBA world. It set the Brooklyn Nets and many hopeful NBA teams into a state of uncertainty. In the roughly three weeks since the trade has been requested, there seems to have been little movement on a deal getting done. Brooklyn is holding a high bar for what they want in exchange for Durant and for good reason.
Having four years remaining on his deal makes this such a unique situation. When looking around at some of the massive trade hauls that players like Rudy Gobert and DeJounte Murray have commanded, it is difficult to picture what a Durant trade would bring back. The growing reality is that Durant is seemingly likely to stay with the Nets next season.
As long as Durant is a member of the Nets, the team should keep their focus on contending for a title. The 33-year-old remains one of the top talents in the league and the Brooklyn roster is still one of the more impressive in the NBA. The franchise made a solid addition by signing TJ Warren in free agency. They also traded a first-round pick for Royce O’Neale to add to their rotation. The franchise has a solid core of players in place even amid all the drama.
However, there is one decision the franchise will regret this offseason. Allowing Bruce Brown to leave in free agency will prove costly. Brown signed with the Denver Nuggets for two years and $13 million. The scrappy forward played well during his two years with the franchise and will be missed greatly next season.
Bruce Brown is such a dope defender. Loved that pickup by Denver pic.twitter.com/AjoNnG1F3q
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) July 7, 2022
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Nets’ worst move of 2022 NBA offseason
There was a great deal of frustration last season about the availability of the team’s superstars. From Kyrie Irving’s time away from the team to Kevin Durant’s injuries, to James Harden’s lack of effort, it was not always a pretty sight in Brooklyn. One guy who continued to show up and do his job regardless of who was around is Bruce Brown. The 25-year-old averaged 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game last season. Despite carrying the reputation as a non-shooter, Brown also connected on a career-high 40.4% of his three-pointers. He played a valuable role as a cutter and secondary playmaker. Brown made a positive impact on both sides of the floor and was one of the key connective pieces.
One of the biggest factors in Brown’s departure was likely the role that Ben Simmons will play. While the potential of Ben Simmons is still far greater than Bruce Brown, it is clear both guys are at their best when doing the little things for the team. Allowing Simmons to be active setting screens and using him as a secondary playmaker has exciting potential. However, this concept is still in theory as the former top pick has yet to step on the floor. The intrigue is certainly there but it also would absolutely be possible for Simmons and Brown to play together.
The new big three of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons is an incredibly ball-dominant group. Having guys that are comfortable without the ball to surround them is crucial to the team functioning properly. Bruce Brown is a great cutter on the offensive end and is content using most of his energy defensively. He plays much bigger than his 6’4″ frame and brings a valuable spark of energy to the team.
While a Kevin Durant trade would certainly alter the direction of the franchise in a major way, it is tough to imagine Bruce Brown would not fit in regardless of what comes in return. His malleable style of play can fit on just about any roster and this will be proven this season with the Nuggets. The Nets already traded a massive haul of their future draft picks to the Rockets in the trade to land James Harden. This takes away their option to fully rebuild and likely ensures the franchise will be targeting win-now players in the trade. As long as the Nets are a contender Bruce Brown should be looked at as a valuable piece and letting him walk will be a mistake.
This season is an exciting opportunity for Bruce Brown. The Miami product has continually been underrated and will have the opportunity to squash this on the Nuggets. His skill set will make a major difference on the Denver roster. While Brown likely will be comfortable in his new location, this should not change the Nets’ regret. Brooklyn has many larger questions to answer about the future of the franchise, but allowing Bruce Brown to walk away will prove to be a bigger deal than they acknowledge.