The Brooklyn Nets are struggling. They have lost nine of their last 11 games and face several difficult decisions before the Feb. 8 trade deadline. The Nets hoped Mikal Bridges would become an All-Star, and the roster around him would take a step forward. After going 15-19 to begin the season, they have to decide what to do.
Brooklyn does not control their draft picks, so they have little reason to tank. Could the Nets add a star before the deadline? They have been rumored to be interested in Zach LaVine, but he is not the best target for the franchise. The Nets have plenty of reasons to shake up their roster, even if they are chasing a playoff berth in 2024.
If Brooklyn decides to make a trade, they will have to send at least one player packing. These Nets appear the most likely to be moved before Feb. 8.
5. Royce O’Neale
O’Neale has been in trade rumors since the 2023 deadline. They popped back up in the offseason, but Brooklyn has held firm in waiting for a first-round pick in return for the 6’4 wing. Brooklyn gave up a first-round draft choice to land him from Utah in the 2022 offseason, but they are not recouping that value.
O’Neale is on a $9.5 million expiring contract and is playing his fewest minutes since 2019. No team is giving up a first-round draft pick for a 30-year-old having a down season. He is averaging 7.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 25.8 minutes per game. His playmaking has improved in Brooklyn, and O’Neale continues to be a strong 3-and-D wing. The Nets have a ton of wing depth and just cannot find any more playing time for the veteran.
Royce O’Neale is unlikely to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets in the offseason, so the franchise should look to trade him before the deadline to get something in return.