Every September, when Kevin Durant’s birthday rolls around, Russell Westbrook probably has to fight the urge to send him a cupcake in the mail. He’s had to have thought about what kind of cupcake it would be: Plain vanilla, or maybe a more scandalous red velvet. Topped with buttercream frosting and passive-aggressive sprinkles.
It’s the boy-leaves-teammates-to-chase-a-ring story scratched out of Oklahoma history books. KD up and left to Golden State and never looked back. Back then, the Warriors were something of a superteam themselves, and that title’s since been passed onto Brooklyn.
“Now you, too, can play with the Nets’ Big Three” sounds like something out of a sleazy infomercial, but it’s true. The sheer amount of talent in the Big Apple has already attracted LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin, players past their prime who know all too well about teams with “potential.” Well, the Nets have the real thing in KD, Harden, and Irving, and Brooklyn could be the next beachside retiring community for frustrated vets who have yet to win a championship.
Some names you just can’t touch: Chris Paul (who still has a chance!), AD, Dame (though there is trouble brewing in Portland…).
Other slightly less talented, hobbled, and glory-ravenous veterans who come knocking on Sean Marks’ door need to know victory comes at a cost – a cut out of their salary, that is. The Nets only have veteran’s minimum exceptions and the $6 million tax-payer exception to offer free agents this summer, and with their tight salary cap situation, don’t expect them to make any pocket-emptying trades.
Here are 3 veterans who would take the cut and risk it all to win a ring next year with the Nets.
3. JJ Redick
We’ve been here before.
JJ Redick reportedly requested a move to New York when he was on the Pelicans but ended up being traded to Dallas instead. He’s set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and if he still wants to be in the city that badly, Brooklyn has no reason not to take him.
Prior to his move to Dallas, the Nets weren’t willing to spend that much or trade for him, and sensibly so. Now that’s he’s up for grabs on the market, Redick could be a natural fit for the uber-talented Brooklyn side.
Okay, look, don’t analyze his current numbers too much. Last season, he shot a career-low 35 percent from the field for Dallas and averaged just 4.4 points per game. But the guy just needs a confidence boost.
Redick once was a lethal marksman with the range and skill of Robin Hood splitting an arrow on a tree trunk. From the 2013-14 season to the 2019-20 season, he averaged at least 15 points per game each year, and he currently boasts a 41.4 career three-point percentage that ranks sixth among active players.
Now, at 37, Redick’s the kind of player who struggles to find his own shot, which explains some of his misfires in New Orleans and Dallas. In Brooklyn, he could show glimpses of his shooting form of old with the open-court advantage of opponents guarding his star teammates. Just look at Blake Griffin, whose numbers on the Pistons were similarly abysmal (37 percent from the field), but who proceeded to shoot almost 50 percent and get ridiculously easy buckets with the Nets.
Redick is no stranger to egos, either. He played for a Philadelphia side with Ben Simmons (back when he was, well, decent), Joel Embiid, and Jimmy Butler, and was one Leonard-buzzer beater away from making a Finals run. On that championship-caliber team, Redick was averaging about eight three-pointers per game. It’s his steady hand that could help Brooklyn in late stages of playoff games, and as much as Redick wants to move to the city, Brooklyn should want him too.