The Kevin Durant deal that shook up the NBA on the eve of the trade deadline never would have happened if the Suns hadn’t included Mikal Bridges, Nets general manager Sean Marks tells Nick Friedell of ESPN.
Marks had come to the realization that it was time to end the super-team experiment in Brooklyn that brought together Durant, Kyrie Irving and eventually James Harden. Durant was the last of the trio to be moved, and Marks wanted to create the foundation of a young team that could remain competitive while building for the future. The centerpiece of that was Bridges, who has become a star in Brooklyn, averaging 26.1 PPG in 27 games since the trade.
“We knew the end of an era was upon us,” Marks said. “When Kyrie had already moved, the discussions with Phoenix heated up and it became real, like, ‘All right, well, there’s a shift happening here, right? Are we resetting, retooling, rebuilding?’ We were able to come to terms with that knowing that the package we were getting back in return was something that has a clear pathway.
“We’ve never sort of had a group of young guys before that were under contract, proven, healthy and you can see a pathway of, ‘Hey, I can see what this may look like in two, three years from now.’ … Not just Mikal, but all of them, where do they all take their games to? Who’s the next person that takes that leap?”
There’s more from Brooklyn:
- Veteran guard Goran Dragic is the latest player to indicate that there was significant behind-the-scenes turmoil with the Nets, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Dragic, who finished last season in Brooklyn, said he had an offer to stay but he chose to sign with the Bulls to get away from the drama. “I could have re-signed with Brooklyn, but I didn’t want to be in that situation, because it was a little bit crazy,” Dragic said. “I just tried to find a team that’s calmer and to be more stable. I thought that would be with Chicago.”
- Facing Joel Embiid is a difficult matchup for Nic Claxton, so coach Jacque Vaughn wants him to use his speed to his advantage, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Claxton needs to find a way to get some easy baskets after being held scoreless Monday.
- Vaughn wouldn’t commit to playing Cam Thomas in Game 3, Lewis tweets. The second-year guard wasn’t used at all in Game 2 after seeing four minutes in the series opener. “It’s always at the disposal of someone not getting minutes, and so who is that?” Vaughn asked. “Is that Spencer (Dinwiddie)? Is that Cam Johnson? Is that Mikal Bridges? Everyone is available to play it and in the wheelhouse to be prepared if their number is called.”