Before it was known that Kyrie Irving was going to return to the Brooklyn Nets, there was plenty of talk about what the team should do at the trade deadline. Last season, Irving averaged 26.9 points per game, and Brooklyn was struggling without him.
Well, not struggling in the sense that the Nets were consistently losing games, because they had established themselves as one of the best teams in the East, but they weren’t exactly consistent. Brooklyn needed to be able to match up with playoff-level teams, and now the team can do that, at least on the road.
Kevin Durant has played out of his mind, but he’s been the team’s lone constant scorer. He’s averaging a league-high 30 points per game, the most for him since the 2009-10 season.
At the time, it felt like the Nets were going to be without Irving for the remainder of the year. There had been no significant news out of his camp, and it was evident that Brooklyn needed to find a way to land a scorer ahead of the Feb. 10 deadline.
However, with Irving’s newfound role as a part-time player, could the Nets’ trade plans be much different now than they were a few weeks ago?
With Kyrie Irving back, the Brooklyn Nets may have a change of plans.
In his season debut, he scored 22 points and shot 9-of-17 from the field. Although he’s only able to play in road games, there’s no longer as dire a need as there once way for the Nets to exhaust their options shop the trade market.
In fact, an opposing scout had this to say following Brooklyn’s 129-121 win over the Pacers on Wednesday night: “Bigger impact than anything you’ll see at the trade deadline.”
Additionally, general manager Sean Marks has proven that he doesn’t really love the action at the trade deadline ever since overseeing the Nets’ front office.
A trade scenario that outshines Irving’s return to the Nets doesn’t seem probable with the deadline a little over a month away, and it also likely takes Irving off the table (he was rumored to be moved prior, especially in a potential deal for Ben Simmons). The point guard’s been a member of the team since 2019, but given the circumstances, his debut with Brooklyn this season proved that his presence provides the spark this team needs and reinvigorates the roster as they had expected.
And if Irving decides to get vaccinated, he’ll be able to play in home games at Barclays Center. The front office is likely keeping that in mind, too, as trade conversations heat up around the league.
There are still needs that Brooklyn can address by Feb. 10, but since’s Irving back on the court for road games, the deadline is no longer as big of a priority, and Marks may have pulled back based on what he’s already saw from Irving.