There are exactly three weeks left until the NBA’s Feb. 10 trade deadline and the Brooklyn Nets may have a surprise move up their sleeve. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the organization has supposedly gauged Nic Claxton’s trade value.
Claxton hasn’t played in a game for Brooklyn since Jan. 10 due to left hamstring tightness.
He missed 17 games earlier in the season with a non-COVID illness and therefore has only played in a total of 20 games. Claxton’s averaging a career-high 9.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game.
Claxton was drafted by the Nets in the second round of the 2019 draft and has developed into a reliable role player over the past three years, but there’s a chance that his time in Brooklyn could be nearing an end.
Could the Brooklyn Nets trade Nic Claxton ahead of the Feb. 10 deadline?
The 22-year-old is in the final year of his three-year, $4.2 million contract with the Nets, which means that he’ll become a restricted free agent during the offseason.
On the topic of Brooklyn’s trade deadline plans, Windhorst said:
"“There’s been some chatter through a couple of teams that I talked to that the Nets have dipped their toe into the trade market for Nic Claxton,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported at the 12:16 mark in the most recent episode of his Hoop Collective podcast. “In other words, maybe thinking about trading him.”"
While most fans that read that may be against the Nets trading Claxton, it makes sense when you look at the organization’s finances.
Brooklyn’s main priority is signing James Harden and Kyrie Irving to contract extensions during the offseason (both have player options for 2022-23). And if that happens, the Nets won’t have much to offer Claxton.
Bleacher Report’s Joseph Zucker wrote, “And with Claxton, the true cost will likely exceed whatever the terms of his contract would be.”
Therefore, instead of letting the center walk away in free agency, Brooklyn could get something of value in exchange for him now to give the team a better shot at a championship run.
Although, that’d still be a difficult move to make, considering how valuable Claxton has been to the Nets.
His six-foot-eleven height, coupled with his seven-foot-two wingspan has benefitted the team. Claxton’s versatility allows for him to finish at the rim, defend both the perimeter and the low post, and operate off the dribble.
Claxton’s confidence has sprouted over the past month and he’s shaping up to be a player that could help Brooklyn make a deep playoff run if he makes it to that point.
If the Nets were to trade Claxton, the team’s four trade exceptions could help Brooklyn get a veteran two months before the start of the playoffs.
As the days go by, the Nets’ front office is going to make a decision on if the team should keep Claxton or not.
Even with Brooklyn’s financial situation in mind, would a Claxton trade be detrimental to the Nets?