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Brooklyn Nets want to return to ‘contention sooner than later’: 6 ideal big-name summer targets

The Brooklyn Nets reportedly are not interested in a rebuild after their blockbuster trades this month and are expected to aim to improve their roster if possible this summer.

Brooklyn made the biggest splashes ahead of this year’s NBA trade deadline. The organization was part of not one, but two blockbuster deals that shipped off superstar talents to rival teams. After forging what was expected to be a serious title contender several years ago, the team must now start from square one with All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant no longer members of the Nets roster.

However, in looking for trades for their top two players this month, and in the summer, the Brooklyn Nets reportedly did not want to take major steps back and endure another rebuilding process. That is why the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks were optimal trade partners for them.

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6 players the Brooklyn Nets could target this summer in pursuit of return to contender status

In their deals for Irving and Durant, the team received talented players in Spencer Dinwiddie, Cameron Johnson, Mikal Bridges, and Dorian Finney-Smith. All of them are legitimate starting-level players in the NBA, and could also be worthwhile trade chips in packages with the five first-round picks they also got in the two moves.

Furthermore, the Nets also cleared up a lot of cap space they could use on star talents in NBA free agency. Those facts were the basis of a report from Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer on Tuesday, as he revealed the team fully intends to try and make the playoffs this season, and be in title “contention sooner than anything else.”

It all means it could be a busy summer for the Brooklyn Nets again as they look for upgrades to the roster. With that in mind, here are six players they could target in trades or in NBA free agency.

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Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Draymond Green

Draymond Green is looking for a pay raise and guaranteed for several more seasons, which is why he is expected to opt out of his contract after the season. With the Golden State Warriors well over the salary tax threshold, they could allow him to walk and the Brooklyn Nets could swoop in to grab the greatest intangibles and grit player of his generation.

Green does not offer superstar stats, but for a team looking to build a different sort of winning culture, he could be the perfect fit.

Bradley Beal

Despite a solid starting five, the Washington Wizards are still suffering through another losing season. While there are no indications they are ready to finally trade superstar Bradley Beal, that could certainly change in the offseason, and an offer of four or more first-round picks and a talented young player from Brooklyn could be an offer they can’t refuse.

Zach LaVine

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Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

It has been well-documented that Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls are on the outs. With his teammates reportedly siding with head coach Billy Donovan in the ongoing drama, a trade this summer seems extremely likely. The Brooklyn Nets could be in a battle with the Knicks for his services, but he would still be a major addition to their short and long-term contention hopes.

Jerami Grant

After acquiring Jerami Grant in a blockbuster move this summer, the Portland Trail Blazers are outside the current playoff picture. His addition did not bring the change they hoped for and re-signing him this summer is far from guaranteed. While he is not a household name, he is a fantastic young talent that would be a nice core piece alongside Mikal Bridges.

Khris Middleton

Following wrist surgery, Milwaukee Bucks star Khris Middleton has struggled this season. However, the team has still competed at a high level in spite of that fact, which means they may not try to retain him if he opts out of his deal this summer. That could open the door for the Nets to add a very talented scorer that could soon return to elite form.

Jakob Poeltl

Jakob Poeltl actually drew a great deal of interest at the NBA trade deadline despite the league moving away from relying on big men. The Toronto Raptors brought him back for a second tenure before the deadline, but he is sure to test his value in free agency. If the Brooklyn Nets want a more established talent manning the middle in 2023-2024, the 27-year-old would certainly bring that and more.