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Brooklyn Nets to be active ahead of NBA trade deadline: A look at 3 options

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Cleveland Cavaliers
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Despite boasting the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets find themselves in a tricky situation with two weeks to go to before the NBA trade deadline.

Star forward Kevin Durant is sidelined for at least the next two weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee. His projected return date is near the Feb. 9 deadline. How Durant’s rehab goes could dictate whether general manager Sean Marks and Co. are active.

With that said, a recent report from Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer indicates that Brooklyn is expected to be active on the trade block over the next couple weeks. In particular, the team is looking for frontcourt help.

There’s some complications here. The NBA’s decision to continue with the Play-in Tournament means more teams believe they’re in playoff contention at this point in the season. In fact, an argument could be made that only four teams (Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets) are not even in play-in contention right now.

The closer we get to the Feb. 9 deadline, the more likely that other teams will come back to reality and understand postseason basketball is not in the cards this year. With the 29-17 Nets fully expecting to contend for a title, they’re going to pounce. Below, we look at three potential options for Brooklyn to add to its frontcourt.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NBA trade rumors

Brooklyn Nets add Mason Plumlee to the mix

brooklyn nets trade for mason plumlee
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Nic Claxton has played an exceptional level for Brooklyn at the five. The 23-year-old big is averaging 12.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and an NBA-high 2.7 blocks. He also leads the Association with a 73% mark from the field.

However, depth is an issue for the Nets. Fellow young big man Day’Ron Sharpe is averaging less tha nine minutes per game. Why not offer up Sharpe, a cap filler and draft compensation to pick up this veteran from the struggling Hornets? The 32-year-old center has played well this season (12.1 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 3.6 APG). He’d be a tremendous option off the bench.

Related: Brooklyn Nets standing in Sportsnaut’s NBA power rankings

Utah Jazz send Kelly Olynyk to the Big Apple

brooklyn nets trade for kelly olynyk
Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Utah’s surprising start to the season has given in to reality here over the past several weeks. After starting the campaign with a 12-6 record, the Jazz have lost 19 of their past 32. They’re currently the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

It was always going to be a season of transition for first-year head coach Will Hardy after Utah dealt away franchise stalwarts Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert during the summer. Why not attempt to flip this veteran big man for more assets down the road?

In this scenario, Brooklyn offers up young guard Cam Thomas, a cap filler such as Patty Mills and a future first-round pick to the Jazz. In turn, the Nets add a versatile big in Olynyk. He’s shooting a solid 41% from three-point range on the season, can play multiple frontcourt positions and would be able to provide scoring on the second unit.

Brooklyn Nets pull off larger trade with the San Antonio Spurs

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

While Claxton has earned a role in the starting five, it never hurts to look for another option to fill out that role. The idea would be for him to anchor the Nets’ defense on the second unit and in crunch time. Enter into the equation a center in Jakob Poeltl who has been a consistently good player during his time in San Antonio. The big man is averaging 12.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists on the season.

Bringing in Poeltl as well as a three-and-D wing Josh Richardson would be an absolute coup for the Brooklyn Nets, giving them more depth from a roster standpoint and better defense.

In this trade, the Nets move off Joe Harris’ contract and find a better all-around player in that of Richardson. As for San Antonio, it could request someone like the aforementioned Thomas as well as multiple draft picks to help the team continue its lengthy rebuild.