The Brooklyn Nets are a team currently in need of frontcourt bolstering and, with this, could be a quality landing spot for OKC Thunder big man, Al Horford.
Though the OKC Thunder didn’t end up trading for James Harden, they could still stand to benefit from his move to Brooklyn.
The deal that sent the superstar packing from Houston saw a plethora of outgoing pieces from the once amazingly deep Nets rotation. Perhaps the biggest loss of them all for the franchise was center Jarrett Allen’s inclusion, as he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers who served as one of four teams involved in the blockbuster.
Now, while we see the team boast perhaps the most talented big-3 of all-time in Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving, the surrounding pieces have been greatly diminished, with their center rotation being the most impacted.
With their move to land the All-World guard, it’s evident Brooklyn is in a “championship or bust” mode and, at some point moving forward, will likely look to make more moves to better fill out their rotation.
Should they look to the trading route, perhaps they could find themselves interested in OKC’s veteran big man, Al Horford, to help bolster their most depleted position.
Recently, we proposed the idea of the Nets being a prime time trade partner with the Thunder, citing Horford’s experience and their need for help at the pivot as the main reasons for why they could realistically pursue the center:
A 5x All-Star, Al Horford boasts career averages of 13.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game on 52 percent shooting from the floor and 36 percent shooting from deep. He has seen postseason action in 12 of his 14 years in the league and has seen deep runs in eight of them, including three Conference Finals appearances.
In the comments section of said article, however, fans begged the question: “what would a trade even look like?”
A fair ask, as the Nets find themselves way over the salary cap this season and shipped out the majority of their picks over the next several seasons in the Harden deal already.
However, recently I came up with an ideal scenario in which the money works out and the OKC Thunder gets a solid haul in the process.
The trade: a multi-team extravaganza with Brooklyn and the Boston Celtics.
Why the Brooklyn Nets do it
Like we said earlier, the team is reletively gutted after their blockbuster deal, especially at the pivot.
As we’ve seen in recent history, a championship team needs a strong overall roster and, right now, it’s apparent that the Nets are incredibly top-heavy and quite lean at the bottom, kind of like that guy at the gym that only works out his upper body.
In all likelihood, they’ll spend ample time scouring the buyout market over the next several months to add that much-needed depth to their rotation. However, there will likely be no players available at center that have both the successful past experiences and still productive game that Horford has.
So far into the 2020-21 season, the 14-year-veteran is averaging 11.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, and just shy of a block in 27 minutes a night.
Giving up Joe Harris would be tough, but they still have the sharpshooter in Landry Shamet (shoots just under 40 percent for his career) and can pick up another floor spacing guard off the open market (Kyle Korver for instance) to make up for the lost shots.
If it meant landing Horford for their all-in run for a championship and nabbing a first-round pick to make up for the many they’ve lost, they should strongly consider such a move.
Why the Boston Celtics do it
The Boston Celtics have proven yet again to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, with a second-best record of 8-4. However, even a team consisting of Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown could use for more help.
Joe Harris would be exactly that.
Currently finding themselves ranking 15th in points, 14th in 3-point percentage, 13th in field goal percentage, and 12th in offensive rating, it’s evident that they could still use for some added fire power in the scoring department.
Joe Harris could be exactly that.
Through 14 games played this season, the wing is averaging 14.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and two assists on an impressive 52 percent shooting from the field and 49 percent shooting from deep.
A great floor-spacing compliment who hasn’t shot below 40 percent from deep since the 2016-17 season, Harris would be a great asset to help the Celtics as they embark on their quest for banner No. 18.
Why the OKC Thunder do it
They land a solid amount of assets of both picks and current players to help build for the future.
Of course, the biggest name being brought back to the OKC Thunder is Spencer Dinwiddie who is expected to return to full strength next season after undergoing a successful surgery of a partially torn ACL.
Just last season, the 27-year-old guard emerged as the top scorer for the overachieving Nets, averaging a career-high 20.6 points to go along with 6.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game on 42 percent shooting from the floor.
He could serve as a quality starting one guard to run alongside their franchise player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for years to come or, if not, use him as a trade chip next season to land even more assets for the future.
The brilliance of this is, Oklahoma City lands a quality starting guard without having it impact their chances of potentially landing a high lottery selection by season’s end.
We also see the OKC Thunder bringing on 2019 lottery selected wing Romeo Langford, who we at TI have discussed trading for in the past.
In fact, we’ll just leave things off with how we phrased it in the article linked to above:
As of this moment, a guy like Langford will NOT impact what the Thunder are trying to do in attaining a high selection come the 2021 NBA Draft. That said, he could be viewed as a quality long-term prospect that the franchise can groom to be a starter alongside SGA moving forward.
Despite his lowly rookie season — 2.5 points on 35 percent shooting — he was an absolute stud during his collegiate days, even with an injured thumb on his shooting hand (averaged 16.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game on 45 percent shooting during his one-and-done season at Indiana).
Getting a 21-year-old 2019 lottery pick without giving up any draft assets?