Threat No. 1: The Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets are in a very different place right now than they were a season ago. Kevin Durant is helping to lead the Phoenix Suns deep in the playoffs, while Kyrie Irving is sitting at home with the rest of the lottery-bound Dallas Mavericks. In their place, the Brooklyn Nets just competed in the playoffs with a newly-built team, going out in four hard-fought games to the Philadelphia 76ers.
What the Nets have is a team ready-built for a star. Mikal Bridges has blossomed into a two-way future All-Star, but he was miscast as the lead guy in the playoffs. Spencer Dinwiddie has resurrected his career, Nic Claxton is becoming an all-league defender, and the roster is stocked the league’s most valuable commodities: wings. Dorian Finney-Smith, Cam Johnson, Royce O’Neale and Joe Harris.
Trae Young could be the star they pursue to fit into that roster. The Nets won’t give up Bridges, not for anything short of a top-10 player, but they could push some of their other assets in to make a swing at Trae Young. They have a bevy of picks from Dallas, Philadelphia and Phoenix to send out.
Would the Hawks be intrigued by a package built around young gunner Cam Thomas, stretch-4 Cam Johnson (in a sign-and-trade), Dinwiddie and a bunch of picks? Would they rather have a couple of veteran wings instead of Dinwiddie? The Nets can’t put together the best package without putting in Bridges, but they can put forward a compelling one.