The Brooklyn Nets were swept by the Philadelphia 76ers in the First Round of the 2023 NBA Finals, mercifully ending a grueling season filled with twists and turns that organizations usually don’t find themselves having to navigate.
Now with a chance to sit back, take a breath and assess the roster, the Nets can look forward to their upcoming offseason and the chance to build on the culture they’re creating with head coach Jacque Vaughn at the helm.
Tough, gritty and competitive, the Nets have the makings of a no-nonsense squad that can compete with any team, if they add enough talent. Unfortunately, they’ve prevented themselves from making splashes due a couple of diminished returns on their assets but fortunately, not all hope is lost.
3 early NBA free agency targets for Nets in 2023 offseason
As a franchise that appears to not place much trust in Cam Thomas and thus has an overreliance on Spencer Dinwiddie, adding a backcourt player might be all but necessary this offseason.
If that’s the case, Los Angeles Lakers combo guard and impending restricted free agent Austin Reaves could be their top option.
Due to his defensive upside, playmaking potential, 3-point shooting and intangibles, Reaves has become one of the leagues most beloved players in just the matter of two seasons. Averaging 13.0 points and 3.4 assists per game in the 2022-23 regular season, the Arkansas native has only stepped up his game in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, averaging 17. 8 points and 4.0 assists per game in the postseason.
He’s also been dotting his opponents eyes from 3-point range, shooting 39.8 percent from 3 in the regular season and 41.2 percent from 3 in the postseason.
Signing Reaves might require all or most of their $12.2 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception, but it would be worth it.
Maybe the theory of Cam Reddish really is better than the reality but, in reality, Reddish is still a very talented player.
Perhaps he’s overconfident, or too impatient, leading to brash decisions.
However, not only would Reddish have every opportunity to shine offensively with the Brooklyn Nets — and that spotlight opportunity appears to be what he truly wants. But Reddish would also have a coach in Jacaque Vaughn who would be able to bring the best out of him, if he accepted accountability and accepted the challenge.
That said, heading into the fifth season of his career and potentially landing on his fourth team in that span, something has to give with Reddish.
We’ve seen the tantalizing shot-creation abilities, his athleticism, playmaking, and defensive potential. But Reddish needs to demonstrate that he has the maturity to be the player that he has the potential of becoming.
Because he frankly should be at or near the level of Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards given his abilities. If you don’t believe that, then you would have to hear how Edwards himself talks about Reddish in an infamous pre-draft clip.
TJ Warren might just be another way to spell ‘buckets’ because if given the chance, that’s what he’s going to give you.
His performance in the NBA bubble aside, Warren has always known how to get the ball in the basket, averaging 14.6 points in 27.4 minutes per game for his career and on 50.6 percent shooting at that.
As a team that averaged 92.5 points per game in the playoffs, if there’s one thing that the Brooklyn Nets truly need in the playoffs, it’s somebody who can put the ball in the basket.
That said, if the Nets do re-sign restricted free agent Cam Johnson and are willing to play Mikal Bridges at shooting guard, having Warren in a lineup with them and Spencer Dinwiddie gives Brooklyn a solid quartet of scorers.
If they don’t manage to re-sign Johnson, then Warren could be seen as an inexpensive replacement that they could sign with their $4.5 million bi-annual exception.
Though Warren is no 3-and-D player like Johnson is, he’s an above-average defender. He’s also a reasonable 3-point threat that’s converted 35.4 percent of his 3-point attempts over his career although his game takes place inside the arc more than anything.
And, yes, the Nets did trade Warren away as part of the trade to the Phoenix Suns but that was in order to make the Kevin Durant deal happen. That said, people probably shouldn’t read too much into that.
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