The 2022 NBA trade deadline is a mere 10 days away. The Brooklyn Nets have floated a couple of key names around on the trade market but other than that, there’s been no strong indication as to what the organization is going to do by 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 10.
What we do know is that Portland is a team that Brooklyn’s front office needs to keep tabs on over the next week and a half.
Damian Lillard had only played in 29 games for the Trail Blazers before he underwent abdominal surgery on Jan. 13 and was given a return timeline of six weeks. Lillard has been with the team since he was drafted in 2012-13 and is reportedly wanting to sign an extension with Portland during the offseason.
The Trail Blazers won their last championship in 1977 and while former General Manager Neil Olshey wasn’t willing to break up Lillard and C.J. McCollum, interim General Manager Joe Cronin could decide to do so.
With that being said, there’s a possibility there are a few players that could be spending their last days in Portland.
If the Trail Blazers are listening to offers, should the Nets make a move for Nurkic or Robert Covington?
The Brooklyn Nets could trade for these 2 Portland Trail Blazers.
2: Jusuf Nurkic
Nurkic’s career started in 2014-15 in Denver. He spent two and a half years with the Nuggets before he was traded to Portland in the middle of the 2016-17 season.
The center found his footing with the Trail Blazers and has grown into one of the best post players in the league. He’s played in 47 games for Portland this year and is averaging 14.6 points, a career-high 10.7 rebounds per game and is shooting 54.4% from the field, which is another career-best.
The 27-year-old signed a four-year, $48 million contract in July of 2018. The contract included a partial guarantee for 2021-22 and because he was still on the roster beyond Aug. 3 of last year, he’s fully guaranteed $12 million this season.
To land Nurkic, Brooklyn will have to be willing to give up a combination of players, which could possibly be Nic Claxton, Day’Ron Sharpe, Bruce Brown, Paul Millsap, or Jevon Carter. The likelihood of the last three players being traded is high, although Brown will have the power to veto any trade that involves him until he becomes a free agent over the summer.
Regardless, Nurkic would be a huge get for the Nets. He’d help to ease the team’s rebounding woes and would be a reliable presence down low. Brooklyn also struggles to finish at the rim and from shots that Nurkic’s taken that are less than five feet away from the rim, he’s made 71.1% of them.
Is there a possibility that Nurkic will be the Nets’ big man of the future?
1: Robert Covington
Robert Covington is a player that Nets fans have been keeping tabs on. He’s been with the Trail Blazers since 2020-21 and in the 46 games that he’s played in this year, he’s averaging 7.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks.
The forward signed a four-year, $62 million extension with the Sixers ahead of the 2017-18 season but has since played for the Timberwolves, Rockets, and is now in Portland. Covington is owed $12.9 million this year and will become an unrestricted free agent during the offseason.
Like Nurkic’s situation, Brooklyn will have to be willing to get rid of a number of players to make a trade happen. However, Covington would be a valuable addition to the Nets because he’s one of the better defenders in the NBA.
He tallied a league-high 255 total deflections last year with the Trail Blazers. Brooklyn needs a pesky defender, especially in the playoffs (and if Brown is traded). Rookie Kessler Edwards has proven to be a solid defender for the Nets but the team could use Covington’s veteran experience and ability to knock down open shots.
Also, if Covington were to be traded to Brooklyn, it’d mean that he’d get to reunite with his former Houston teammate James Harden. The two played together on two separate occasions with the Rockets (2013-2014, 2019-20).
The Nets still have time to shake things up and better their roster for a playoff run and adding Nurkic or Covington would do just that.