The NBA trade deadline is approaching, and the Nets look to be a key player in trade talks. After all, the James Harden trade may have been the biggest trade in NBA history. The Nets will look to continue their aggression and pursue more championship-level players. We’ve seen in the past just how important role players are to a championship team. For example, guys like Andre Iguodala, Danny Green, and Javale McGee all played key roles in championships. However, it was primarily the defensive effort and leadership that these players provided that helped their team win it all. Therefore, the Nets will look into acquiring some veteran defensive players at the trade deadline.
Trade Deadline Target #1- Andre Drummond: Cleveland Cavaliers
Andre Drummond is a name that has been circulating around the Nets all season long. The Cleveland Cavaliers began the season playing very well, even beating the Nets twice. Since the hot start, the Cavs have been awful. With Jarrett Allen as their center for the future and Drummond on a 1-year contract, all signs point to Drummond being traded at the NBA trade deadline. Drummond would be the perfect center for the Nets. His style of play is very similar to DeAndre Jordan, except Drummond is much younger and better. He can dominate a game inside with his improved post-game and shot-blocking ability. He has even developed some playmaking skills in order to get teammates open.
Offensively, Drummond creates space for shooters like Joe Harris on the perimeter, while also being able to catch bundles of lobs from Harden and Irving. Defensively, he would be the anchor in the middle that the Nets have been missing. He is the best rebounder in the NBA, so it will be difficult for teams to get second-chance opportunities against the Nets. Because Cleveland is reportedly shopping Drummond, the asking price at the trade deadline may not be too high. In fact, there’s a chance that Drummond even gets bought out by Cleveland. If the Nets were to make a trade, they would likely have to give up fan-favorite Bruce Brown and probably a second-round draft pick. Adding Drummond will make the Nets the clear favorite to get out of the East.
Mason Plumlee: Detroit Pistons
How funny would it be if the Nets and Mason Plumlee reunited in 2021? Plumlee, the former Duke Blue Devil began his career in Brooklyn, when the Nets first moved to Brooklyn. He would even start games over Brook Lopez in the early stages of his career due to his energy and defense. Now, Plumlee is an experienced veteran who has played in many high-stake games. Just last season he played in the Western Conference Finals for the Nuggets. He is not on the level of Andre Drummond, but when given the opportunity to play significant minutes, he can provide outstanding production.
Just the other day, Plumlee recorded a triple-double. He has been passing the ball extremely well for Detroit and is a solid rim protector inside. He would provide the Nets with everything that Drummond would provide, and the asking price would probably be lower. When the NBA trade deadline approaches, Detroit might move on from Plumlee since he doesn’t fit the timeline of the team. Additionally, Detroit’s backup center Isaiah Stewart is only 19 years old and looks very promising. The Pistons will likely move on from Plumlee in order to develop Stewart. Plumlee is on a decent three-year contract, so the Nets may be more interested in Plumlee than Drummond because Drummond will expect a large payday this offseason and will likely leave Brooklyn.
Hassan Whiteside: Sacramento Kings
Hassan Whiteside is the model example for a player who declines as soon as they sign a large contract. With the Heat, Whiteside was putting up all-star numbers, but never seemed motivated on the court. He would constantly put himself above the team, caring about his touches and his blocked shots a little too much. However, the man is still one of the only players in NBA history to lead the NBA in both blocks and rebounds in consecutive seasons. His attitude isn’t always there, but Whiteside is still talented enough to make an impact on a team that desperately needs a player like him. He would definitely welcome a trade to Brooklyn at the trade deadline. Especially since the Nets can provide Whiteside with decent playing time and the best chance to win a championship.
Out of all the players on this list, Whiteside may be the best shot blocker. He struggles to guard the perimeter, but in the paint, it is nearly impossible to score against him. Whiteside may also be the easiest to acquire. He is the oldest of the three and currently plays the least significant role for their team. The Kings hardly use Whiteside, but recently he played significant minutes due to an injury to starting center Richaun Holmes, and Whiteside dominated. We know the talent is there, we just need to see him in a better situation where he can get his mind right. Regardless of who the Nets pursue, they must acquire a center worthy of splitting minutes with De’Andre Jordan, or else the Nets will continue to struggle defensively. The NBA trade deadline is approaching, and the Nets must go in with the mindset that defense wins championships.