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Rumors of Brooklyn Nets pursuing Damian Lillard this summer heat up

In an attempt to quickly return to title contention sooner than later, the Brooklyn Nets could target a specific seven-time All-Star this summer.

The 2022-2023 campaign for the Brooklyn Nets was a tale of several different seasons all in one. The first month was a mess that included a scandal involving star guard Kyrie Irving and Hall-of-Famer Steve Nash being fired as the team’s head coach.

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That was followed by a resurgence under interim head coach Jacque Vaughn and the Brooklyn Nets reaching near the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Then the NBA trade deadline came and it all changed again.

Before the deadline in February, Irving asked for a trade after not getting the contract extension offer he was looking for, and Kevin Durant followed suit when he knew the team would no longer be a title contender this season. In moving their top two players, the Nets landed some talented young players and added to the plethora of first-round draft picks they will have for the rest of the decade.

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Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets record (’22-’23): 45-37

One of the key assets they received in those trades was Phoenix Suns talent Mikal Bridges. In Brooklyn, the defensive ace with offensive upside looked like a player that could become a perennial All-Star for the team. And he could be a major factor in the Nets possibly landing a superstar player in the offseason that Bridges can be a sidekick to next season.

On Sunday, New York Post Brooklyn Nets insider Brian Lewis reported that “league executives believe the Nets could pursue” Damian Lillard this summer. They have the draft assets to make a deal possible and after another losing season, the Portland Trail Blazers and the future Hall-of-Famer could be closer to finally ending their 11-year relationship.

  • Damian Lillard stats (’22-’23): 32.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 7.3 APG, 37% 3PT

However, what makes the move even more likely is the relationship between Lillard and Bridges. The NBA stars are reportedly close friends, Lillard was at the Barclays Center for Game 3 of the Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers, and the duo allegedly left together after the game. This will certainly be a story to watch in the coming months.

Lillard had a fantastic season in 2022-2023 after bouncing back from an abdominal injury that limited him to 29 games last season.