Nets Rumors

Vince Carter: Nets’ Third Star Can Be DeAndre Jordan

The Nets will enter the 2020/21 season with increased expectations as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are expected to return healthy, led by new head coach Steve Nash.

There has been plenty of speculation about the possibility of the Nets bolstering their already formidable (when healthy) lineup with another All-Star caliber player. After a strong showing in the Orlando campus, Caris LeVert made his case to take on the role of consistent third scoring option.

Former Nets All-Star Vince Carter sees things differently, suggesting that Brooklyn’s other high-profile free agent signing from the summer of 2019 can be that third impact player, Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News writes.

“You’ve gotta be careful. It’s a slippery slope when you’re putting guys together,” Carter said. “I feel like you could have a third star in somebody like DeAndre Jordan who can shine. He’s not somebody who’s gonna get a lot of touches, but what does he do? He puts a lot of pressure on the defense going to the rim.”

Brooklyn inked Jordan to a four-year, $40MM pact, but the former All-Star only started six games as promising youngster Jarrett Allen got the nod. Jordan has historically been a rebounding machine and an intimidating presence under the rim as a defender. However, at 32 years old, it’s fair to wonder if he can play up to the same level as his days with the Clippers.

Carter feels that Jordan’s mere presence opens up looks for the Nets’ best non-Durant options and that not having a third ball-dominant scorer would work better for Brooklyn.

“I just feel like you have to find the right pieces if you’re gonna go get a third scorer,” Carter said. “If you’re gonna go get three guys who really demand the ball, that gets tough after a while. One if not two guys of your big three tend to become unhappy sometimes. If they buy into that, then it’s a possibility. If they don’t, then a big three doesn’t work.

“I feel like a guy like DeAndre Jordan, somebody like that putting pressure on the rim,” Carter continued. “It’s not enough basketballs out there if you put three big names out there on the floor, so it takes a lot to think about.”

Should Nets Focus On Adding Defender Rather Than Third Star?

  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post questions whether the Nets really need to make a trade for a third star, suggesting that the missing piece for the roster may instead be a tough wing defender who could be signed using the mid-level exception. Lewis points to veteran forward Andre Roberson as one possibility, assuming he’s fully healthy.

Atlantic Notes: Powell, Knicks, Harris, Brown

Raptors shooting guard Norman Powell had his best year ever in 2019/20 at age 26, prompting Eric Koreen of The Athletic to wonder whether or not this offseason may be the perfect time to trade Powell. He is set to earn $10.9MM in 2020/21, and has an $11.6MM player option for 2021/22.

Koreen posits that Powell may be able to command more money on the open market were he to opt out of the final year of his deal. If the Raptors re-sign guard Fred VanVleet, who figures to be one of the premiere free agents in 2020, Koreen opines that flipping Powell’s contract ahead of a free agent-heavy 2021 offseason may make the most sense for Toronto’s future team-building.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Following a two-day hotel quarantine, the Knicks started their first in-market group workouts under new head coach Tom Thibodeau today at their Westchester Country training facility, according to Steve Popper of Newsday. Popper reports that nearly all Knicks players, including everyone on a team option for next season, participated in individual workouts last week.
  • Unrestricted Nets free agent wing Joe Harris, one of the best three-point shooters in the league, will not be wanting for suitors during the offseason, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reports. Teams with cap space Lewis anticipates having interest include the Knicks, Hawks, Hornets and Timberwolves, though Harris might also be targeted as part of a sign-and-trade deal for an over-the-cap club, such as the Warriors or Sixers. Both Golden State and Philadelphia project to be taxpayers, which would complicate any sign-and-trade deal.
  • Celtics small forward Jaylen Brown has quietly ascended during the NBA’s Disney World restart to become one of the key leaders for Boston, Marcus Thompson of The Athletic writes in an extensive profile.

Durant "Hooping" With Teammates In L.A.

  • Kevin Durant has been working out and playing full court with Nets teammates in Los Angeles, Net Income of NetsDaily relays. Durant, who sat out this season rehabbing his ruptured Achilles, says he feels “like myself” but still has a long way to go to reach his previous level. “I’m in a stage now where we’re just hooping every day,” Durant said on Joe Budden’s podcast. “I feel good waiting for next season to get back.”

Atlantic Notes: Durant, Sixers, VanVleet, Anunoby

New Nets coach Steve Nash envisions a versatile role for Kevin Durant that would have him see time at all five positions, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Nash discussed Durant during an appearance this week on J.J. Redick‘s podcast, saying Durant has the skills to succeed anywhere on the court.

“Kevin, with his length, is a matchup problem for everyone,” Nash said. “(Kyrie Irving’s) excellent off the ball. Kevin can play all five positions, and I plan to use him in all five positions. I get excited to use some of the guys on the roster: Caris (LeVert), (DeAndre Jordan), Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris.”

Scouts and other league personnel who spoke to Lewis believe Brooklyn could have some devastating lineups with Durant at center, especially in a conference where the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Raptors’ Pascal Siakam have succeeded in that role.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers are considering a front office shakeup that would include the addition of a president of basketball operations, sources tell Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. One source indicated that Trail Blazers executive Neil Olshey may be interested, but only if he has complete control over basketball decisions as both president and general manager. Rumors have surrounded former Hawks executive Danny Ferry, but the Sixers are denying that he’s a potential candidate. A source says the team plans to ask about Rockets GM Daryl Morey and Pacers president Kevin Pritchard, but the source doesn’t expect either to wind up in Philadelphia.
  • Fred VanVleet will be the Raptors‘ priority in free agency and they’ll find it expensive to keep him, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Smith estimates that Toronto could could give VanVleet a new deal starting at around $20MM per season while still retaining a maximum salary slot for the summer of 2021. He adds that the team may have to sacrifice Norman Powell or convince him to rework his contract to make that happen.
  • Raptors small forward OG Anunoby has signed with Klutch Sports Group, the agency announced on Twitter.

Nash Discusses His Nets Hiring

  • New Nets head coach Steve Nash acknowledges that he was brought on board with the franchise because of his interpersonal relationships and culture-building skills, rather than his knowledge of X’s and O’s. “I think they understand that my acumen for the game is strong and I can catch up on any of the tactical aspects,” Nash told Pelicans guard J.J. Redick in a recent edition of Redick’s The Old Man and the Three podcast (per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News). “I think they hired me because of my experience, the personality to work with these guys and help them grow and reach their potential and bring it all together.”

Cannady Opens Up About Working Out With Durant, Irving

  • Long Island Nets guard Devin Cannady spoke with Alex Schiffer of The Athletic about working out with Nets superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Los Angeles. The NBA G League guard recalled a game of 2-on-2 where he had trouble defending Irving. Durant stopped the game and instead gave tips Cannady to help him. “If I got the confidence from KD,” Cannady said to Schiffer. “Then I don’t need to hold back anymore at all.” The former Princeton standout also said that Durant looks good and healthy in the workouts.

Front Office Wants Vaughn To Stay

  • The Nets are hopeful that Jacques Vaughn will remain on Steve Nash’s staff even though they passed on making him the permanent head coach, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Vaughn has been identified is a candidate for the Pacers coaching job. The Rockets are also reportedly interested, though the Nets would have to grant those teams permission to interview him.

Durant: LeVert Can Be Nets' Third Star

  • Nets forward Kevin Durant isn’t convinced the club needs to trade for a third star this offseason, expressing a belief that Caris LeVert is capable of being that star. “I think Caris is that perfect guy for us — any given night he can lead us in scoring or lead us in assists or he can control the offense or we can go to him in the post in a matchup,” Durant said during an appearance on the Old Man & The Three podcast (hat tip to Ian Begley of SNY.tv). “I feel like he has the tools to do everything on the basketball court. On our team, we play unselfishly, and we’ve got guys that can play off the basketball so on any given night anybody can be the star.”

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, Nash, Raptors, Tatum, Sixers

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is confident that Steve Nash will succeed as the new head coach of the franchise, he told Shlomo Sprung of Forbes.com.

Dinwiddie discussed a variety of subjects in the interview, including Nash, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and more. Brooklyn announced the hiring of Nash last week with no prior media coverage of the possibility, surprising observers around the league.

“It was definitely out of left field,” Dinwiddie said. “I think overall, it makes sense from the relationship perspective.”

Nash shares a close relationship with Durant, having worked for the Warriors as a player development consultant during his run with the team. Brooklyn consulted Durant, Irving and others before hiring Nash, a decision that received positive reviews from those in the franchise.

“Obviously white privilege is a thing, 1000%,” Dinwiddie said. “But in this situation, he’s only one of the most qualified basketball players of all time and is friends with the stars of our team and the GM of the team [former teammate Sean Marks]. It kind of makes sense beyond the fact that he doesn’t have coaching experience.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic examines six takeaways from the Raptors‘ seven-game series loss to the Celtics. Toronto was 0.5 seconds away from going down 3-0 before OG Anunoby‘s buzzer-beating shot in Game 3, climbing back to force the hard-fought series to seven games. The Raptors have several key players set to reach free agency this offseason, including Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.
  • Celtics forward Jayson Tatum passed his latest test to superstardom in leading the team over Toronto, Jared Weiss of The Athletic writes. Tatum has steadily improved on both ends since entering the league, recording 29 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in the team’s Game 7 victory. “He’s a superstar. He showed it tonight,” teammate Kemba Walker said after that game. “Anyone have any question or doubt on that? He showed it.”
  • Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue remains the best option for the Sixers as they search for a new head coach, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. Lue and the Sixers both share a mutual interest for the position, according to Pompey, which was vacated when the team fired Brett Brown after a disappointing 2019/20 season.