It’s no secret that the Brooklyn Nets underperformed last season after being swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round.
There were many reasons things turned out this way, and a big part of them was the fact that Kyrie Irving was unavailable for much of the season and never got a real chance to fit in with the team.
Swapping James Harden out mid-season didn’t help either, so things went wrong for the Nets. When we go into next season it might get even worse.
Kevin Durant has requested a swap, Ben Simmons is an insecurity after having back surgery shortly after the end of the season, and Irving is always a wildcard himself.
Sports Illustrated’s Ben Stinar suggests that the Nets get rid of the potential headache and give him the Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton. The former NBA champion missed a crucial playoff run that led to the Bucks flying out of the playoffs, so it’s clear he brings a lot to the table.
While a trade for the Bucks wouldn’t make much sense, a player of Irving’s caliber isn’t available every day, and Stinar urges them to make a move.
Would it make sense?
Irving is a free agent next season so he could end up being a mercenary for the money, but the same can be said for Middleton as he has a player option he could turn down.
According to Stinar, this trade would be in the best interest of the Bucks, as it would pair Giannis Antetokounmpo with a real-life superstar, and the Nets would be able to free Ben Simmons to play point guard.
“The Bucks can get a player who is an absolute superstar in Irving, and pair him with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo,” he wrote. “As for the Nets, they could add stability to a roster that already has Durant and three-time NBA All-Star Ben Simmons. Simmons is a point guard, so they don’t need Irving to pull off the attack, and they have a shooting guard needed.”
This would leave the Nets with a lineup that looks something like this, provided no other changes are made:
- PG: Ben Simmons
- SG: Seth Curry
- SF: Khris Middleton
- PF: Kevin Durant
- C: Nic Claxton
On paper, that looks like a team that could compete for a championship, but the same could have been said about the Nets last season. A trade like this could jump-start both the Bucks and Nets, but there doesn’t seem to be much interest from either side right now.
Latest on Durant
Durant’s trade request is approaching the month mark and things haven’t really taken off since he initially asked for the trade.
His two favorite destinations seem to have shifted further, so now the Nets will either try to convince him to stay in Brooklyn, or decide to send him to a place that works best for them.
The Irving-Durant era with the Nets was interesting, but maybe not so if you’re a Brooklyn fan.
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