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What Do The Brooklyn Nets Need Headed Into the Offseason

Brooklyn 2022-23 Season Was Pure Chaos

Everything has been chaotic over the last few seasons after the Brooklyn Nets signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in 2019. It all ended this season, with Durant and Irving breaking NBA news by requesting trades and getting their wish. Not to even mention a coaching change seven games into the season.

Before two All-Stars requested a trade, Brooklyn had looked like one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. NBA picks still favored the Nets in most games. Even when Durant was injured, their NBA Finals odds did not drop much. They remained a top-four seed in the East.

What Do The Brooklyn Nets Need Headed Into the Offseason
Spencer Dinwiddie #26, Nic Claxton #33, and Cameron Johnson #2 of the Brooklyn Nets | Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

Then everything changed. Durant and Irving were traded for role players, and the Nets went from a high-powered isolation offense to a team focused on ball movement with a switchable defense. This style of play was able to keep Brooklyn’s NBA playoff odds alive, finishing as the sixth seed because of the offensive transformation of Mikal Bridges. However, they would get swept in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers.

For NBA predictions, this team is in a very odd situation, seemingly able to do anything. Most sportsbooks seem to believe that the Nets will try to go into a full rebuild, but given how Bridges played over the final months, they could do something different.

2022-23 Season Record

Status of Coach: Jacque Vaughn. He has been the interim head coach for the Nets twice now, and when Steve Nash was fired after seven games, Vaughn was promoted again. The interim status was removed during the season, and Vaughn was given an extension.

Positions Of Need For the Nets

  • All-Star Caliber Player
  • Extend Key Players
  • Floor Spacing
  • Backup Big

Possible Free Agency Plan

A lot can happen with this being the first offseason of the Nets rebuild. However, given how this is not a typical rebuild, it is unclear what Brooklyn might do. Theoretically, this team has the depth in which a star player could come and immediately make the playoffs again.

Players like Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale, solid 3-and-D types, are already signed for 2023-24. On top of that, Bridges has proven he can be a legit offensive threat and can be paired up with another elite player. While Spencer Dinwiddie is currently the starting point guard, he lacks the All-Star upside compared to someone like Fred VanVleet, a likely free agent.

VanVleet will opt out of the final year of his contract and would be a perfect fit with the Nets. He is a great playmaker and consistent shooter. Furthermore, the Nets roster already has the size to support him on defense. The only issue would be that the Nets may have a cap space issue.

Cameron Johnson and Nic Claxton each deserve sizable extensions soon. Johnson came over in the Durant deal and will be a restricted free agent this offseason. Given that Johnson was a massive part of that deal, the Nets will likely do whatever they must to keep him. Claxton technically has another year on his contract, but after a season in which he could have been an All-Defensive player, it might be smart to extend him sooner than later.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 28, 2023

On top of those two likely extensions to happen this offseason, the Ben Simmons question is still a thing. He takes up nearly 19% of the Nets current cap space while rarely seeing the court. Even when Simmons plays, he does not live up to his $38 million price tag. Signing VanVleet would likely mean either Johnson or Claxton did not receive an extension or Simmons was traded.

First-Round Lottery Odds

While the Nets do not have a pick within the lottery, they have two first-round draft picks, likely 21 and 22. One is their own, and the other they have from the Phoenix Suns in the Durant trade.

Possible Draft Plan

Headed into the draft, the Nets don’t have many holes to fill. Most of the roster is made up of role players with upside. The team needs an All-Star-level player, which Brooklyn won’t find in the latter half of the draft.

Trading these picks and some role players for an All-Star could be a likely plan. The Nets have the assets to acquire the next disgruntled All-Star and a team ready for one. If Brooklyn does not do that, it might trade away role players for more assets and open up minutes for the drafted rookies.

If the Nets keep their picks, the two main targets in the draft could be a point guard to eventually replace Dinwiddie as the primary ball handler and size. This draft does have a lot of guard talent, which could lead to some falling. Jalen Hood-Schifino is a player who has been compared to Dinwiddie, so if available, he could be an interesting pick. However, there are other options like Colby Jones, who offers less playmaking, but has a lot more scoring upside.

Two players that could offer size in the draft are Donovan Clingan and Noah Clowney. Both have clear questions and might be reaches when the Nets select, but if the draft lacks a lot of quilty bigs, these might be the best options. Clingan has a solid interior presence on both ends of the court but lacks versatility. Clowney has more overall versatility but a body type similar to Claxton, long and skinny.

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