Brooklyn Nets: Trade season identity crisis could keep them out of talks

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images /

As the league moves into trade season from now until the Feb. 7 deadline, uncertainty of the Brooklyn Nets’ near future could leave them reserved from making any moves.

It’s beginning to look a lot like trade season. From Dec. 15 — which marked the first day newly signed players were eligible for trades — until the deadline, trade rumors, rumblings and talks are expected to be much more present. The league saw the first domino fall on Dec. 15 when the Phoenix Suns shipped Trevor Ariza was out to the Washington Wizards for Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers.

This move was a little early compared to historical norms, which typically see much of the increased player movement occur closer to January or early February. This season, however, could very likely experience a dip in player transactions. With well over two-thirds of the league flirting with a .500 record and believing they have a chance to make a playoff appearance, the league is left with much fewer sellers than buyers on the trade market.

One of these teams is the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets, for many reasons, could find themselves not involved in trade discussions. Currently, Brooklyn owns the longest win streak in the league with seven games. As long as they keep winning, whether on a streak or not, they aren’t likely to rock the boat.

Even if the team’s record experiences a little nosediving, the Nets could still refrain from making roster moves. As a young team building for the future, and likely facing a very important offseason, much of their personnel is immediately off the table when discussing trades.

Young players like Jarrett Allen, the newly extended Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, the injured Caris LeVert, and rookies Rodions Kurucs and Dzanan Musa are all pieces general manager Sean Marks wouldn’t part with. Even soon-to-be restricted free agents D’Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson likely wouldn’t be available in just about any deal shy of star talent return.

This does leave a few role players on the team that could find themselves in the crosshairs of other teams looking to add pieces to a contender. Jared Dudley and Ed Davis have proven themselves useful to this young Nets team and its development, but players like Kenneth Faried, Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, and Shabazz Napier could be expendable to some degree. Despite not being in the long-term plans of the team, the Brooklyn Nets trading them away still isn’t that simple.

For Brooklyn to shop these players or field offers, they would have to find themselves in a position where they are definitely on the outside looking in regarding the postseason. Assuming that, the way any trade would affect their future finances is extremely important.

As everything stands, even if Crabbe picks up his player option, the Nets will still have plenty of room for a max contract and then some. That extra space left over could be used to re-sign Russell or Hollis-Jefferson, or even expanded into a second max slot.

If the Brooklyn front office considers making any trades, they assuredly won’t be for any deals that could compromise the team’s cap flexibility in the immediate offseason. This means they won’t be looking to take on anything other than an expiring deal.

Players like Carroll or Faried have something to offer other teams looking to add to their rosters, but without the ability to dump some salary, probably not at the expense of great or abundant assets. If the Nets can’t flip those players for assets without handicapping their future, then they are likely better off holding onto them and their expiring contracts.

There is absolutely a possibility that the Brooklyn Nets find the perfect trade and are able to swap some names on their roster for the right player or assets to help them either bolster their playoff chances or build down the road. With the right offer from another team, anything is possible.

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However, as they look to continue to position this team to be big players in the offseason and develop some promising young talent, Brooklyn appears to be a team that won’t be present in the majority of trade discussions.