Should the Nets consider breaking up the core sooner rather than later?

Nets

This NBA offseason, we have seen the Brooklyn Nets going through some turmoil within their core players, and it has started catching up to them. Superstar forward Kevin Durant has reiterated his desire to be traded to another team unless the Nets fire head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks. This is because Durant does not believe in the direction of the team, according to reports sent out this Monday.

On top of that, their other star player Kyrie Irving has been in and out of trade rumors. While he has chosen to stay with the team formally, for now, there is no certainty that he is not dealt by the trade deadline if the Nets are no longer competing for a top seed.

So, with this in mind, is it in the Nets’ best interest to trade both of these players away before this year’s trade deadline? If so, what time of the season should they consider moving on from them, and when could they get the best value for each player?

Does trading KD now bring more value?

As of right now, we have seen a few major pieces moved in trades this offseason for reference. Firstly, Dejounte Murray, who was traded from the San Antonio Spurs to the Atlanta Hawks for three first-round picks. These included 2023 (Hornets), 2025, and 2027 first-rounders, both of the Hawks’ picks being unprotected. This also gave the Spurs the option to swap picks in 2026, as well as veteran forward Danillo Gallinari, who was cut shortly after.

The other major trade this offseason was Rudy Gobert being traded from the Utah Jazz to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who gave up an absolute haul to get the former defensive player of the year. Minnesota got Rudy Gobert alone and gave up 4 firsts (2023, 2025, 2027, 2029), a first-round pick swap option in 2026, former 2020 first-round pick Leandro Bolamaro, 2022 first-round pick Walker Kessler, and three other players (Patrick Beverly, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt).

With the Gobert deal being as large as it was for the Utah Jazz, you would have to think a deal for Kevin Durant would be even better. Durant, while slightly older than Gobert, is a significantly better player and brings a huge amount of talent to the court on a daily basis. Odds are, trading Durant further into the season will lower his value, as unless he has an insane MVP caliber first half of the year, he is at about peak value now.

Durant has 4 years left on his deal, is practically at his peak compared to the future at least. With the Gobert deal fresh on the minds of NBA general managers, the Nets would be likely to get a large amount of compensation in return for KD.

Can the Nets get more value for Kyrie near the deadline?

The other question the Nets would have to ask themselves is if they trade Kevin Durant now, does Kyrie Irving stay this whole season? Is it worth retaining Kyrie if your choice is to dismantle the older core?

The best option I can see for the Nets if they choose to go younger is to trade Kevin Durant now and Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline. Kyrie is at about the lowest value possible right now after missing over half the season last year and most teams not getting a good look at him. If the Nets trade Durant away now, then Kyrie will get to be the #1 option for Brooklyn this season and will gain trade value without a doubt.

Rather than the current rough asking price of a 1st round pick and potentially a few smaller assets, the Nets could ask for two firsts or a first and a valuable young asset in return if Kyrie shows out early this season.

The risk the Nets run by doing this, however, is that if Kyrie misses time, gets injured, or plays at not a great level, they could lose value from now until then. The odds of this are relatively slim, but they have to be weighed against the potential value in a return at the deadline.

A team like the Los Angeles Lakers, who will likely need a boost to make the postseason, would likely pay a high price for Kyrie if he puts up stats like he did last year in his limited playing capacity. 27.4 PPG, 5.8 APG, on .469 FG% and .418 3PT% is a boost any playoff contender would be excited to try and acquire late in the season to gain momentum.

So the better outcome for Brooklyn would likely be waiting until the deadline on Kyrie to wait and see how value stacks up.

Final Thoughts

As for what I believe the best option would be for the team? I think if their plan is to trade KD and Kyrie, you trade KD now for his peak value and wait until the deadline with Kyrie to potentially raise his value. While I am not 100% convinced that trading the core is the correct decision, ultimately, it is up to the GM and owner what happens. With that in mind, since KD wants to be traded or GM to be fired, odds would be that the GM chooses his own job.

There is a good chance that the team Brooklyn has now would make a deep playoff push if they get healthy near the end of the year. Ben Simmons is a factor in this, but if he cannot get back on the court, that dampens their chances by quite a bit. We will see how it plays out, as this is all hypothetical, but this is my guess as to how they could get the most value.

 


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