Brooklyn Nets searching for third star?

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets takes the ball up court.

While the Nets will surely use part of the offseason to hunt for a new head coach, there are rumblings that they’ll also be searching for another big-name player.

During ESPN’s “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast, the panel discussed Brooklyn’s willingness to make an offseason trade.

“I believe they have telegraphed that they intend to try to use some of their young talent to acquire a third star along [with] Kyrie and Durant,” said Brian Windhorst.

“Now, we can enter a healthy debate here about whether Caris LeVert is that third star, and they may make the decision that he is. But my feel [after] reading the tea leaves, paying attention to what Sean Marks has said, and also being aware of some conversations that they had at the trade deadline, which was some sticking the toe in the water of some things, I think that they are going to swing for the fences whenever the offseason comes and they’re going to have to potentially hire a coach that is going to help them do that.”

Those are some pretty lofty remarks, but they’re not overly surprising considering the Nets’ championship aspirations.

These rumblings lead to two questions: who could the Nets pursue, and who could the Nets offer? That’s start with that latter question.

As Windhorst mentioned, LeVert would likely be the headliner in any trade package, and his impending extension will be useful in matching salaries. The front office could also dangle Jarrett Allen, especially considering the presence of DeAndre Jordan.

Perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate Spencer Dinwiddie could also be a trade option, but Sean Marks wondered if Brooklyn would even consider dealing the guard.

“I think the interesting thing is going to be what they do with Spencer Dinwiddie,” said Marks. “He’s got a player option for 21-22, he’s extension-eligible in December…he’s been a very good insurance policy for Kyrie. He’s not one of your younger players like LeVert or Taurean Prince, but is he the kind of your name that you’re looking to move? I think the question is if you have faith in Kyrie staying healthy. “

Even if Dinwiddie wasn’t included in a trade, the Nets have enough ancillary contracts (including Prince’s close to $14M salary) to bring in a pricey player.

In that case, the sky is the limit when it comes to acquiring a third star to pair with Kyrie and Durant. Unfortunately for Brooklyn, there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of star-power available.

Bradley Beal will likely be the biggest name on the rumor circuit, and the Nets might have to empty their cupboard of assets for the guard. Even then, would a package of, say, LeVert/Allen/Dinwiddie/1sts be the best offer? We’re not convinced (especially with John Wall coming back to play Dinwiddie’s position).

What about Jrue Holiday? He’d be an ideal defensive counter to Kyrie, but the Pelicans’ would probably request that aforementioned haul. Would Brooklyn be willing to sacrifice all of that? Or would they prefer to just keep their depth?

There are also some potentially-available pieces that might not require the LeVert/Allen/Dinwiddie/1st package. We could see a world where the Nets trade several of those pieces for any of the following “third stars”:

  • Zach LaVine
  • CJ McCollum
  • Buddy Hield
  • Aaron Gordon
  • Kevin Love
  • Blake Griffin

If the Nets were to acquire any of those four players, they’d probably be able to retain at least one of their crucial depth pieces. If Brooklyn were to roll with a top-six of

  • Kyrie
  • Durant
  • Jordan
  • Trade Acquisition
  • One of LeVert/Dinwiddie/Allen
  • Joe Harris

then they’d definitely be in contention for a championship.

Brooklyn’s championship odds will look a whole lot different next season than they did in 2019-20. However, it’s likely they’ll still be behind the likes of the Bucks/Clippers/Lakers (and, perhaps, the next tier of Raptors/Celtics/Nuggets).

In that case, we’d happily bet on the Nets odds heading into next season, even if they don’t pull off an offseason blockbuster.

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