Another week of the Brooklyn Nets offseason is in the books, and another report has surfaced reaffirming their commitment to Mikal Bridges. This time, it came from The Athletic's Fred Katz, who shut down the idea of the New York Knicks acquiring Bridges this summer.

“The Nets have expressed zero interest in trading Bridges, according to league sources who have been in contact with them — and it’s not like they haven’t had opportunities,” Katz wrote. “Other teams have offered hoards of first-rounders; Brooklyn hasn’t engaged… According to league sources, Brooklyn’s front office has told teams it views Bridges as a costar to whichever big name it can trade for down the line. That’s the organization’s long-term plan.”

Brooklyn has sent this message throughout the league since acquiring Bridges in a package for Kevin Durant at the 2023 trade deadline. Despite posting a 32-50 record this season, the franchise's worst since 2017-18, general manager Sean Marks has not budged on that stance. The Nets view Bridges as a core piece and a player who could help them land a star, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski noted at this year's trade deadline.

They are telling everybody no on Mikal Bridges,” Wojnarowski said. “From the day they got Mikal Bridges, they’ve been offered a ton: four [first-round] picks, five [first-round] picks. There’s nowhere he doesn’t fit, but they love Bridges there, and they wanna bring in the next big player. Everybody wants to play with Mikal Bridges, and so you hope that they want to do it in Brooklyn.”

Is a star really joining Mikal Bridges in Brooklyn?

 Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges (1) drives to the basket between Toronto Raptors guard Immanuel Quickley (5) and forward Garrett Temple (17) during the first quarter at Barclays Center.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets have avenues to acquiring one or possibly two stars alongside Bridges. They have seven tradable first-round picks, including three distant unprotected firsts from the Phoenix Suns (2027, 2028, 2029), which are highly coveted. With Ben Simmons' contract expiring and the salary cap set to jump due to a new TV deal, they can also open over $70 million in cap space next summer, depending on roster decisions.

Marks has spoken confidently about his ability to attract stars using those assets, but it's unclear who those players could be. Many had pointed to Donovan Mitchell, with reports indicating the Nets would be a frontrunner for the star guard if he declines to sign an extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, league sources now anticipate Mitchell will return to Cleveland on a multi-year deal.

If Mitchell re-signs, it's difficult to identify the marquee name who could be available in the coming year. Several stars have contracts that will expire next summer, including Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Jalen Brunson, Lauri Markkanen, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, Jamal Murray, Alperen Sengun, and Brandon Ingram. However, in today's NBA landscape, such players rarely change teams via free agency.

It's far more common for stars to secure long-term contracts then request a trade if unhappy, i.e., Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard. The Nets could be waiting to make their bid for the next disgruntled star before filling out their roster with their 2025 cap space. However, with the clock ticking on Bridges' contract, can they afford to?

What the Nets are risking by holding on to Bridges

Much of Bridges' trade value is tied to his low salary. Brooklyn owes the 27-year-old $24 million annually over the next two seasons, a contract considered one of the best values in the league. Bridges will earn a significant raise on his next deal. He will be eligible to sign a three-year, $113 million extension in October. However, he can earn a bigger contract if he waits until he hits free agency in 2026.

The Nets could pivot and trade Bridges next summer if they cannot attract a star. However, with one year left on his deal, his value will take a hit.

Brooklyn has also turned down opportunities to regain control of its draft picks in favor of star-hunting with Bridges. Marks has rebuffed numerous trade inquiries from the Houston Rockets that would have returned several of his team's draft picks from the James Harden trade. If the Nets hold on to Bridges through next season, they will sacrifice the ability to regain control of their first-round pick in the 2025 draft, which features a stacked class. They also risk Houston removing itself from the negotiating table.

The Nets have weighed these risks, and all signs indicate they feel the prospect of landing a star outweighs them. Many fans have called for the team to pick a direction in the year and a half since the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving trades. That path is now clear, but it's a gamble that could prove costly.