The Brooklyn Nets and Sixers made the biggest trade of the season hours before the 2022 deadline on Feb. 10. James Harden and Paul Millsap ended up being the only two players that Brooklyn traded once everything was said and done, although Nic Claxton was close to joining a new team as well.
Because the Harden-Ben Simmons trade took place an hour and a half before 3 p.m., it was thought that Sean Marks was going to make another trade. The Nets were armed with two first-round picks (2022 and 2027) from the Sixers.
There were already rumors that had been floating around about Claxton’s possible departure from Brooklyn. If Marks would’ve made another trade, it likely would’ve involved Claxton because Andre Drummond was part of the Harden deal.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Nets were “very close” to trading the 22-year-old center to the Raptors ahead of the deadline.
The Brooklyn Nets almost traded Nic Claxton to the Toronto Raptors.
Lowe revealed the news on his infamous Lowe Post podcast.
"“I think one thing that happened at the trade deadline that I heard was that they were very close to a deal with Toronto that would have sent Claxton to Toronto for a first round pick and some protections on it,” said Zach Lowe on his podcast. “I think their intention was to sort of refit the roster by maybe flipping that pick for another wing, another shooter. Robert Covington’s name was mentioned. And sort of balance it out. That trade fell apart and Toronto went in another direction.”"
It would’ve been nice for Brooklyn to flip a first-round pick for a wing. Seth Curry has made an immediate impact with the Nets but the team hasn’t been transparent about the status of Joe Harris’ ankle.
As we know now, Robert Covington was traded from the Trail Blazers to the Clippers on Feb. 4. That means that Marks was trying to complete a Claxton deal well before the deadline.
Brooklyn’s left with Claxton, Drummond, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, and rookie Day’Ron Sharpe. If the Nets had to debut a starting lineup made up of centers, they’d be set.
Claxton’s played in a total of 25 games for Brooklyn this year. He missed 17 games at the beginning of the season with a non-COVID illness and most recently sat out with hamstring tightness. He’s averaging 9.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game.
On Feb. 4, he played in five minutes against the Jazz. After being out for four games due to his hamstring, Claxton was listed as active ahead of the Nets’ game against the Kings on Feb. 14. However, he hasn’t played in Brooklyn’s previous three games.
Claxton is in the final year of his three-year, $4.2 million contract and is set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason. The Nets seem to be all in on Drummond, so Claxton will likely be with a new team next year.
In the meantime, it’d be nice to see Claxton on the court more.