The Brooklyn Nets are now 42 games into the 2018-19 season (I know, the year flies by), so it’s time to realistically look forward at free agents they could target this offseason.
Butler got moved to the Philadelphia 76ers since then and even with recent rumblings about his unhappiness there, it seems more likely that he will re-up his contract with them or find an immediate title contender, rather than come to Brooklyn this offseason.
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Middleton and Harris are both playing on teams at top of their respective conferences and it looks like both franchises are happy in the direction they’re heading. It would ultimately shock me if even of these players signed elsewhere this offseason.
The rest of the big names included in the 2019 list of potential free agents are Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard (player option), Kyrie Irving (player option) and Klay Thompson. All four of these players will likely stay put or will have some better options than Brooklyn, unfortunately.
Kemba Walker is an attractive name for Nets fans to look forward to, but the re-signing of Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell‘s emergence as the on-court leader of this team weaken the attractiveness of this Kemba fit in Brooklyn.
D’Angelo is a restricted free agent this offseason, but it would be surprising if the Nets allowed him to sign anywhere else.
Assuming Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are retained and the Nets can’t find a suitor upon which to dump Allen Crabbe‘s contract, the Nets will have less salary cap flexibility than expected, leaving general manager Sean Marks to get more creative in where he invests for the future.
1. Patrick Beverley
With D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie handling the bulk of the guard scoring the Nets need, Patrick Beverley of the LA Clippers would be the perfect bench option for them.
He would almost never have to be the primary ball handler and could solely focus on the defensive end of the floor, a job he’s great at.
A pest for any opposing point guard, Beverley could be one of the guys that plays at the end of games night in and night out. Closing games has been a problem for Brooklyn all season and adding Beverley would for sure help on the defensive end of the court at the end of games.
2. Danny Green
Danny Green of the Toronto Raptors would be a nice addition to the Nets lineup in 2019 with his defensive ability and shooting prowess.
He’s the type of wing that would fit nicely next to a line up of D’Angelo Russell/Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris. Any three-man combination of that group of guards and wings would cover all facets of the game: defense, scoring, and ball handling.
Green also has a championship pedigree from his time with the San Antonio Spurs and could add to the veteran leadership for a young Nets team.
Factoring him in with the return of Caris LeVert may be a little tricky at first, but coach Kenny Atkinson has been able to fit in more complicated and less versatile players before.
3. Rudy Gay
The possible departures of Hollis-Jefferson and DeMarre Carroll complicate some things at the stretch 4 position for the Nets. Adding Rudy Gay from the San Antonio Spurs could solve these problems immediately.
For a guy that tore his Achilles during the 2016-17 season, Gay has became a more efficient player after his injury. It has taken a full year for Gay to get back to full health and even so, he’s been dealing with a heel issue for most of this season.
While health is a question for him, as he will be 33 years old entering next season, Gay has a 51.1/41.5/84.8 shooting slash line this season. He would be the night-in and night-out reliable stretch 4 the Nets need if he could keep these shooting splits up.