NBA Trades: Grading the jaw-dropping Knicks-Nets blockbuster trade

New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets
New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages
3 of 3

Brooklyn Nets: A+

The Brooklyn Nets knocked this trade out of the park. Numerous teams have expressed interest in Mikal Bridges since he arrived in Brooklyn from the Phoenix Suns in the infamous Kevin Durant trade, and the Nets have rebuffed every suitor at every turn. General manager Sean Mark’s insistence that he intended to build a team around Bridges rather than trade him surely played a part in the overpay. 

Initially, the Nets may have genuinely believed they could build around Bridges. In the 27 games following him being traded to the Nets, Bridges averaged 26.1 points per game, leading many to believe he could be the first or second option on a playoff team. But in his first full season as the number one option in Brooklyn, Bridges’ numbers regressed toward the mean averaging 19.6 points per game while experiencing his least efficient season since his rookie year.

Still, his two-way abilities and his versatility on defense make him a hot commodity around the league. With Bridges only under contract for two more seasons and close to being extension-eligible, the Nets knew they were going to have to pay him big money or move him sooner rather than later. The Nets were able to take advantage of the Knicks’ eagerness to build off of next year acquiring nearly as much draft capital for Bridges as they did from the Suns for Kevin Durant. 

In the wake of the trade, Ian Belgey of SNY reported that Bridges made it clear to the Nets that he wanted to join the Knicks but the Brooklyn didn’t have to move him given his contract situation. Ultimately New York made an offer the Nets couldn’t refuse and Bridges will join his former college teammates in Manhattan.