The Brooklyn Nets have been rocked with trade requests from superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Durant has recently been rumored to be of interest to the Boston Celtics, whereas the Los Angeles Lakers have been rumored to be interested in Irving. The Nets, either way, should be able to bring in great assets for these players.
But what if the players retract their trade requests?
Brooklyn, outside of the obvious trade requests, have built a solid team this offseason. Keeping Durant and Irving, even with past playoff failures in mind, makes the Nets a major championship contender.
What if Durant and Irving Retract Their Brooklyn Nets Trade Requests?
The Star Criteria
Although Durant is getting older and has suffered major injuries in recent years, he remains one of the league’s top players. He averaged about 30 points, seven rebounds, and six assists per game last season. Those are insane numbers, and Durant managed to play 55 games. Sure, that’s just two-thirds of the season, but that isn’t awful considering his past health history.
Then there’s Irving. He only played 29 games last season for a variety of reasons, but his talent when he’s on the court cannot be denied. He averaged about 27 points, six assists, and four rebounds per game last season. Outside factors shouldn’t affect Irving this coming season, for now, meaning he’ll play a lot more too.
It’s also important to remember that James Harden was on this team for much of the season, which meant more sharing of the ball this past year.
Finally, there’s Ben Simmons. His recent history is quite murky, but he is a former All-Star and just 26 years old. When he last played in 2020-21 for the Philadelphia 76ers, Simmons averaged about 14 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists per game. Simmons is also one of the league’s most elite defenders.
That’s three All-Stars for the Nets.
Royce O’Neale arrived in a trade from the Utah Jazz, a team in disarray with Rudy Gobert gone and possibly Donovan Mitchell being traded. O’Neale isn’t a star by any means, but he was a consistent starter for a playoff team. He brings great defense as well as the ability to knock down threes at a very accurate rate.
The Nets also signed TJ Warren. His last truly healthy season came in 2019-20. In that year, Warren averaged about 20 points and four rebounds per game. Of course, he exploded in the NBA Bubble as well. It’s unlikely Warren brings that same talent to Brooklyn after years of injuries, but he remains a great scorer and shooter.
Edmond Sumner was also brought in. He last played in 2020-21 but averaged about 8 points per game that season. Sumner could translate into a solid depth piece.
The Remaining Brooklyn Nets Pre-Trade Roster
The rest of the crop is very good too.
Brooklyn has two outstanding shooters in Joe Harris and Seth Curry. Harris was injured last season, but it cannot be forgotten that he has a history of averaging 15+ points per game. He’s one of the best shooters in the entire league when healthy. Curry is also a fantastic shooter who can handle the ball as well. The Nets are blessed with top-tier shooting.
Nic Claxton is a very solid center who has breakout potential this coming season. The starting spot is finally his. Last season he averaged about nine points and six rebounds per game, and those will surely go up this next season.
Hypothetically, the Nets can run a starting five of Irving, Harris, Durant, O’Neale, and Claxton. Curry, Mills, and Warren will be great scorers off the bench. It also wouldn’t come as a surprise to see Brooklyn try to bring in another big man should the scenario of Durant and Irving retracting their trade requests occur. Options include former Nets LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin, as well as others such as DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Hassan Whiteside, and more.