The Brooklyn Nets changed the course of their franchise once the NBA trade deadline reared its head. Before February came along, Brooklyn was 31-19 as it was trying to keep its head afloat until Kevin Durant came back from his sprained right MCL. However, after a 139-96 loss to the Boston Celtics on Feb. 1, everything changed.
On Feb. 3, Kyrie Irving’s trade request became public and led everyone to speculate what the organization was going to do about it. Irving requested his trade because he and the team were unable to come to terms on a contract extension that satisfied both parties. On Feb. 5, multiple insiders reported that Irving was traded to the Dallas Mavericks.
Once Irving, everyone including the Nets were wondering if Durant would stay now that his close friend was traded. Four days later on Feb. 9, the NBA world received the answer when news broke out in the thick of the night that Durant was traded to the Phoenix Suns. Many wondered if Brooklyn had been destined for mediocrity now that they forced three superstars to want out while the Houston Rockets controlled its immediate draft future in the meantime. Bleacher Report did their updated grades on the trades that the Nets made at the deadline and it looks like Brooklyn made it better than people thought at the time:
Kyrie Irving trade
Kyrie Irving was traded to the Dallas Mavericks along with veteran forward Markieff Morris for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2027 second-round pick, a 2029 first-round pick (unprotected), and a 2029 second-round pick. At the time, those around the league thought that the Nets got rid of a problem while Dallas was taking a big risk on a controversial superstar. Here’s what B/R had to say about the trade:
“It is tempting to dole out an A for the Nets. This deal certainly felt like that type of move at the moment. Brooklyn turned a player it didn’t want—who requested a trade with mere months remaining on his deal—into two rotation players, distant seconds and the mother of all assets: an unprotected first-round pick that conveys far enough into the future, post-dating Luka Dončić’s contract by at least two seasons, that the Mavericks could unravel.”
Kevin Durant trade
Kevin Durant and TJ Warren were traded to the Phoenix Suns for Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Juan Pablo Vaulet, a 2023 first-round pick (unprotected), a 2025 first-round pick (unprotected), a 2027 first-round pick (unprotected ), a 2028 first-round swap (unprotected), a 2028 second-round pick, a 2029 first-round pick (unprotected), and a 2029 second-round pick. This was looked at as the trade that doomed the Nets given how great Durant still is. Here’s what B/R had to say about the trade now that the dust has settled:
“Although he won’t continue to shoot the rock like he’s Stephen Curry on a heater, Bridges has done enough in his short time with the Nets to graduate from being perhaps the league’s best role-playing wing. Now, he looks more like a first-option star…who happens to play some of the best perimeter defense on the planet. The Nets can work with that.
The emergence of Bridges, combined with that slew of highly valuable draft picks, means Brooklyn made the absolute best of a bad situation. Nobody wants to trade a superstar, but Durant wanted out, and the package the Nets got back looks even better a month after the deal went down.”
Jae Crowder trade
Jae Crowder did not have time for a cup of coffee with the Brooklyn Nets as he waited all season to be moved to the Milwaukee Bucks. He was traded for two second-round picks. Even if Brooklyn wanted to change his mind, Crowder could possibly fall out of the rotation given all of the youth and depth. Here’s what B/R had to say:
“You’ve got to hand it to the Nets on this one. They quickly flipped Crowder to a team that needed him for two second-rounders. Having added Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson to a roster that also got Dorian Finney-Smith from the Dallas Mavericks, the Nets had virtually no use for Crowder and could not have intended to re-sign him this offseason.
It isn’t an oversimplification to call this a nothing-for-something win for Brooklyn.”
Story originally appeared on Nets Wire