Within the span of three weeks, the Nets have become the epicenter of trade talks. First, it was Dwight Howard to Brooklyn rumors. Then, the Nets discussed a Kris Humphries-Ben Gordon swap. Now, the main trade news surrounding Brooklyn according to ESPN.com is that Brooklyn is currently coveting Hawks forward Josh Smith, making him a top priority for the Nets.
If you missed Jonah’s post on Josh Smith, it’s quite the read. On the surface, Josh Smith is an amazing player. Next to Brook Lopez, he’d be an amazing talent, similar to what was expected from Gerald Wallace this season. The difference between Gerald Wallace and Josh Smith is simple: Josh Smith could work at power forward. At 31 years old, it seems like Wallace is stuck without a position. He isn’t a small forward because he seems slower than the average small forward, but he isn’t a power forward because he lacks the same lift he did in his Charlotte days. If the Nets are simply trading Kris Humphries, Marshon Brooks, and a couple of draft picks for Josh Smith, then the Nets need to go pull that trade off right away.
However, there are several reasons why the Nets won’t be able to pull this trade off. First, the Hawks have the right to swap draft picks with Brooklyn in 2014 and 2015, thanks to the Joe Johnson trade in the offseason. Second, in the ESPN report, Marc Stein said that Atlanta wants a young center in return for Smith. That would mean the Nets would either move Brook Lopez in exchange for Josh Smith, or a third team would have to be involved, and in a league where the center position has slowly eroded, finding a young center is:
A: Going to be tough to pry away from another team
B: Worth a ton, meaning Brooklyn would have to give up a large ransom for it
So as of right now, the Brooklyn Nets aren’t realistic candidate to get Josh Smith in my eyes. However, this team needs some help. The Nets aren’t a terrible team, but they have their vices. Due to Mirza Teletovic’s struggles (, the Nets simply lack spacing and shooting. According to Hoopdata.com, the Nets are 18th in the league on 10-15 feet field goal percentage, 16th on shots from 16-23 feet, and 21st on shots from three. The Nets have been shooting so badly, Keith Bogans has been called upon to create space with his shooting. C.J. Watson, an underrated signing, has been short of awful this season. For the season, Watson has shot 38% overall from the field, and has been ineffective on the defensive end as well, equaling a reduction of minutes.
Speaking of Mirza Teletovic, he’s been the biggest disappointment for the Nets this season, and at age 27, it’s tough to envision him getting better moving forward. After signing a three year, 15 million dollar contract this offseason, Teletovic might be a write off. He’s only averaging 9.7 minutes per game, but that’s because he’s shooting 36 percent from the field, and Brooklyn is five points better with Teletovic OFF the floor. With just two seasons left on his contract after this season, I would be shocked if Brooklyn wasn’t trying to move him in any trade discussions. At best, he’ll be a three-point shooter who won’t defend. At worst, he’s what he is now, which isn’t saying much.
So instead, I’ll look at some potential trade targets for the Nets. With Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, and Brook Lopez as untouchables/terrible contracts that won’t be moved, the Nets aren’t playing with many huge contracts. Guys like C.J. Watson, Andray Blatche, and Reggie Evans have minimal value, due to their contract status. The first player that’s on the table for Brooklyn is Kris Humphries. Kris Humphries is an ideal contract to move because it expires after next season, and Humphries is actually a good player with one good NBA talent (rebounding). Along with Humphries, Marshon Brooks is a young talent that teams could be attracted to. Brooks has struggled this season, but he’s a very effective wing that, combined with Humphries, cou;d bring back a respectable piece back in a trade. The Nets also have draft picks to throw into a trade, but their 2014 and 2015 picks are swappable, and they could be worth less.
Here are some ideal names for Brooklyn as the trade deadline approaches:
Carlos Delfino: After going an entire offseason where no one showed interest, Carlos Delfino has contributed huge for Houston this season. His true shooting stands at 56.4%, but the two numbers that should intrigue Brooklyn are 39.4 (Delfino’s three-point percentage) and 42.9 (Delfino’s field goal percentage from 10 to 15 feet). Not only does Delfino provide someone who could get Brooklyn’s offense jumping, but he can also defend on the wings. At 6’7’’, Delfino could defend wins on the outside, and relive pressure off Joe Johnson.
Gerald Henderson: A forgotten man because he missed the first 15 games for the Bobcats, Gerald Henderson, in theory, would be an awesome fit for the Nets. In 36 games this season, Henderson has shot 38% from three, and has actually been quite effective outside out 15 feet. Per Hoopdata.com, Henderson is shooting 44% from 16 to 23 feet, and an effective field goal percentage of 58% from three.
Patrick Patterson: We’ve discussed two wings, but let’s go to the interior. Patrick Patterson would be an excellent fit for Brooklyn for spacing on the offensive end. Ever since Patterson’s days at Kentucky, he’s always had a respectable jumper. Alongside his silky jumper, Patterson is also an interesting pick and roll man with Deron Williams. His size allows him to also be effective at the rim, which wouldn’t be really needed, thanks to Brook Lopez.
Mike Dunleavy: Pure Shooter. Dunleavy is a perfect catch and shoot guy, and he’s worth less than J.J. Redick, which says something. The Bucks are in the mode of moving contracts, and if they could get Dunleavy for cheap, he’d be an interesting fit for Brooklyn as well. If the Nets do get Dunleavy, he’d be perfect in sets with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, and Brook Lopez.
Paul Millsap: If the Nets are going to get a star player, I think Paul Millsap is the ideal guy. He’s just 28 years old, and his ability to shoot the ball could be enticing for Brooklyn. He’s struggling a bit this season, but overall, Millsap has been able to shoot in the past. Millsap also can provide some work for Brooklyn’s second unit as well. Unlike the previous players, Millsap will be worth a pretty penny, and probably cashes out Brooklyn’s prospects for his services.
The Nets are the face of trade talks in the East, due to huge expectations, but they shouldn’t rush into any trades for the sake of mixing the roster up. After firing Avery Johnson, the Nets switched to P.J. Carlesimo, and had a large amount of success. Now that that new car smell has worn off, the Nets need to mix it up, but not with a trade. Overall, The Kris Humphries for Ben Gordon trade seemed like a terrible idea, and the Josh Smith trade rumor made it seem like Brooklyn was panicking. Moving forward, The Nets have to analyze their needs on this roster, and find role players who could fill holes. A shooter at either shooting guard, small forward, or power forward is a need. Josh Smith, as talented as he is, isn’t a real need.