The Brooklyn Nets’ frontcourt makeover continued on Friday, as they traded away former All-Star center DeAndre Jordan and several draft picks to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Jahlil Okafor and Sekou Doumbouya.
It’s clear that the Nets are trying to stack their rotation with bargain veterans to build out roster depth around the superstar Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, and as Wojnarowski also reported, LaMarcus Aldridge is exactly that type of acquisition:
Although not much comes out of the Jordan deal for Detroit, its recent track record in the draft is much better than most — and that’s entirely dismissing the no-brainer pick of Cade Cunningham at No. 1 overall this year. The Pistons at least got something for a couple players that weren’t in their plans for what looks like a bright future.
Jordan is likely to find another championship contender to join once he finishes his buyout in Detroit. The 33-year-old isn’t the same player he once was, but Jordan is still an athletic rebounder, solid interior defender and proficient paint scorer.
To circle back to Brooklyn’s side of the trade, Okafor was the third overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft out of Duke. He was part of the Philadelphia 76ers’ early stage of The Process, which they blew by drafting too many big men as basketball moved toward a heavier emphasis on perimeter scoring a 3-point shooting.
Presuming the Nets ultimately hang onto Okafor, this would actually mark his second stint with the team. During the 2017-18 campaign, though, he played in only 26 games and averaged just 12.6 minutes per contest. Two seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans thereafter preceded Okafor’s latest 27-game stint in Detroit, where he had a minimal role.
Doumbouya is a largely unproven player who probably won’t figure much into the Nets’ hopeful run for an NBA title in 2021-22. As Wojnarowski stated in his report, this was more of a cost-cutting move by Brooklyn to free up salary cap space, much of which is occupied by KD, Harden and Irving.
Paul Millsap just signed with the Nets to bolster their frontcourt, and after being medically cleared from a heart condition to return to basketball, Aldridge is in line for a return to Brooklyn, too.