HomeBasketball TodayNets' Deadline Dilemma: Mikal Bridges' Hottest Trade Havens

Nets’ Deadline Dilemma: Mikal Bridges’ Hottest Trade Havens

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Here are some ideal landing spots for Mikal Bridges if the Nets do decide to face the music and pull the trigger on a trade.

The Brooklyn Nets are fading fast. Even in a meh Eastern Conference play-in tournament picture, the Nets have fallen out, as they currently sit a game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the 10th spot after a lackluster past few months. With the trade deadline fast approaching, will this affect their stance on keeping Mikal Bridges, the best asset the team has on their roster.

At the moment, the Nets are hellbent on keeping Bridges even as they plummet down the Eastern Conference. In fact, Brooklyn reportedly continues to reject trade overtures from teams looking to compensate them with a treasure chest of draft picks, including receiving back the assets they traded to the Houston Rockets for James Harden.

At this point, it’s becoming clear that the Nets aren’t going anywhere far with Mikal Bridges as the team’s best player. The reality is that, as great of a player as Bridges is, he profiles as more of a secondary/tertiary option on a contending team (which he was with the Phoenix Suns) instead of taking on the burden of becoming the team’s primary shot-creator.

With that said, here are a few teams that stand out as ideal trade destinations for Bridges if the Nets were to cash in on him before the deadline passes.

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The Indiana Pacers may be done making blockbuster trades after completing their move for Pascal Siakam a few weeks ago. Acquiring Mikal Bridges from the Nets will clearly take a godfather offer, and the Pacers may be too risk-averse to keep swinging for the fences. But what an incredible fit Bridges would be on the Pacers to give the team the 3-and-D player that would give them a much better two-way balance.

As presently constructed, the Pacers do not have an elite point of attack defender in the mold of Bridges. Aaron Nesmith does his best in competing against the best scorers on opposing teams, but at 6’5, Nesmith can face a size disadvantage against the likes of Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant. Bridges has much better size and he has more experience in guarding elite scorers than Nesmith, and stacking up strong perimeter defenders should make the Pacers that much more dangerous a team.

Mikal Bridges could then slot in more seamlessly in an off-ball role, coming off screens and putting up more efficient scoring numbers in the process as he plays off of Tyrese Haliburton and Pascal Siakam. He could perhaps bump up his field-goal percentage closer to the 50s like his time with the Suns, and this certainly maximizes his skillset more instead of him being miscast as a number one option in Brooklyn.

Houston Rockets

Rumor: Rockets 'kicking tires' on Bridges, Johnson after KD trade

The Rockets are building a defense-first identity, a hallmark of Ime Udoka’s coaching. Signing Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks in free agency gave Houston two strong point of attack defenders, so why not make it three with the addition of Mikal Bridges?

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Houston has shown a reported willingness to part ways with a few draft picks just to secure Bridges’ services from the Nets, and with the Rockets shifting into more of a win-now situation, adding another fringe All-Star two-way player could help them make the jump to contending status as their youngsters continue to develop.

It’s unclear what the Rockets’ plan for Jalen Green and Dillon Brooks would be if they get Bridges, but having too many wings that warrant minutes is rarely a bad problem for any team in the NBA.

The Pelicans are in a precarious position of having plenty of talent on the roster and not having enough minutes to allocate. To that end, the Pelicans have reportedly explored the idea of trading away Herb Jones and Trey Murphy III. Jones is on a very team-friendly contract, and he’s one of the best defenders in the NBA, so if there’s anyone the Pelicans would want to trade him for, it’s Bridges — a comparable defender who is far and away the better offensive player.

When the going gets rough for the Pelicans, it’s hard for them to rely on Jones due to his lack of contribution on the offensive end. They will run into no such problems with Bridges, as the Villanova product should help make them even more matchup-proof come postseason time.

Knicks should go all-in on Mikal Bridges trade given Jalen Brunson, Josh  Hart friendships

It would take a major change of heart for the Nets not just to deal away Mikal Bridges, but to trade him to the Knicks of all teams. The Knicks are collecting all the high-level Villanova products (such as Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo) like infinity stones, and Bridges would only complete that. Moreover, a one-two punch of Bridges and OG Anunoby on the wing would make opposing teams quake in their boots.

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If the Nets can put the in-state rivalry aside, then the Knicks could also give them a plethora of future first-round picks to help Brooklyn in their rebuilding process should they decide to embrace it fully.

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