Just 10 days ago, the Brooklyn Nets landed the biggest blockbuster trade of the season. Brooklyn acquired disgruntled superstar James Harden from the Houston Rockets through a four-team trade, forming the latest super-trio of the NBA. However, the trade created some big holes for Brooklyn, fueling the fire for the latest Nets rumors.
In the trade, the Nets sent away center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince to the Cleveland Cavaliers, among other role players to depart. The result? Brooklyn is left with a serious need to upgrade the interior of its lineup, particularly on the defensive end. In these latest Nets rumors, it appears Brooklyn has targeted a few Cleveland names to fill this hole including JaVale McGee, Andre Drummond, or Kevin Love.
Nets Rumors: Brooklyn looks to upgrade its interior rotation
Roster Desperate for Depth at Center
After the dust cleared from this massive trade, it was quite clear the Nets may need to add some depth to the center position. Currently, Brooklyn’s active roster employs only one true center in DeAndre Jordan. Head Coach Steve Nash has used Jordan as the primary starting center while experimenting with Kevin Durant and Jeff Green at the five in certain rotations.
Despite the experimentation, this has proved a big problem for Brooklyn. The Nets are 3-2 since the Harden trade. We’ll allow some time for the superstar trio of Harden, Durant, and Kyrie Irving to find chemistry. But, Brooklyn has been dominated inside the paint, especially with rebounding.
According to NBA.com stats, through the last five games, Brooklyn ranks dead last in the NBA in points allowed at 126.8 points per game. The Nets also rank 29th in defensive rating (119.2) and points allowed in the paint (54.8). The rebounding numbers aren’t quite as horrific, partly because of Durant and Green’s length and ability to rebound as fours. Still, Brooklyn ranks 17th in defensive rebounding percentage.
The Nets do have some internal help on the way. Reggie Perry, a 6-foot-10 rookie, has already earned additional minutes in the rotation. Norvel Pelle should clear protocols shortly, after signing as a free agent, and Nicolas Claxton continues to rehab his injuries. The incoming help is very much unproven. If Brooklyn’s super-trio truly hopes to contend for a championship this season, the interior depth needs immediate addressing.
Cleveland: Primary Target to help
The Cavaliers went from an aging trio of forwards/centers to a plethora of depth at this position following the trade. Cleveland landed both Allen and Prince, aged 22 and 26 respectively, in this deal. Allen and Price have already average more than 25 minutes per game in Cleveland and it appears the two teams aren’t done negotiating deals.
Sam Amico, founder/writer for FortyEightMinutes.com, has reported two separate meetings between Brooklyn and Cleveland regarding a deal surrounding McGee. In his first year with the Cavaliers, McGee averages 16.8 minutes per night with 8.2 points, 1.1 blocks, and 6.2 rebounds. Interestingly enough, McGee did not see action in either of Cleveland’s back-to-back wins over the Nets.
Nets and Cavs meeting for second time tonight, and sources tell @FortyEightMins to expect Nets to make a run at acquiring Cavs backup center JaVale McGee soon. Brooklyn has 2 available roster spots and looking for another veteran presence in the middle.
— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) January 23, 2021
Today, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor added another Cleveland big to these potential rumors. During his appearance on Andrew Yang’s podcast, O’Connor reported rumors that Brooklyn is waiting for Cleveland to buy out Drummond’s salary. Cleveland owes Drummon more than $28 million this year while the 27-year-old has also seen a slash of minutes since Allen’s arrival.
.@KevinOConnorNBA talking with @AndrewYang "People around the league say the Nets are hoping that Andre Drummond, the Cavs center, gets bought out. That's what people say they're hoping for but that's unlikely because Cleveland is still in (playoff hunt)" https://t.co/hQWtZw6Sli
— NetsDaily (@NetsDaily) January 25, 2021
Allen is clearly Cleveland’s long-term option at center. The 22-year-old showed flashes of brilliance with Brooklyn this season and during the NBA Bubble. His youth pairs perfectly with the young budding stars Darius Garland and Collin Sexton.
Kevin Love: The Desperate Option
Love, another aging forward on Cleveland’s roster, has also entered these discussions. According to Jason Dumas, a reporter for KRON 4 News in San Francisco, the Nets are interested in Love if neither a McGee nor Drummond deal works out. This seems like more of a last-resort option.
Love has missed considerable time with a calf injury this season. He’s also 32-years-old and in the middle of a four-year, $120 million deal with Cleveland. Brooklyn possesses major obstacles because of its lack of draft stock and salary-cap space. The Nets lost nearly all of their draft capital in the Harden trade, which points to any trades requiring a loss of role players the team already lacks depth on.
Brooklyn desperately needs to add depth to its interior. Still, any potential deals will require some clever maneuvering from the front office.
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