Nets shift focus, target Paul Millsap
The Brooklyn Nets are reportedly no longer interested in Charlotte Bobcats guard Ben Gordon and are growing increasingly pessimistic about landing Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith. According to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, the team has decided to shift its focus and will now look at acquiring Paul Millsap of the Utah Jazz.
Nets General Manager Billy King is in the final year of his contract, so there’s reason to believe that he’s feeling pressure from owner Mikhail Prokhorov to get a deal done before the Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline. The Nets are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference and Deron Williams is out with an ankle injury until after the All-Star break this weekend.
The Jazz are loaded with front-court depth, so it’s not clear what the possible pieces would involve from the Nets’ side should a deal happen. Kris Humphries has turned out a disappointing season this year and is due to make $12 million next season. Marshon Brooks has some upside as a young swingman but the Nets don’t have much else in terms of intriguing young talent and would likely not part with All-Star Brook Lopez. Millsap is averaging 14.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and one block in 30 minutes per game this season despite being featured in a loaded frontcourt that includes Al Jefferson and young talent in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter
The Jazz are currently seventh in the Western Conference but pulled off an impressive win at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder this week and could look to upgrade its roster to make a push for the playoffs. With all of their depth among big men, it makes sense in some ways that the Jazz would be exploring trades to unload one of their forward-centers, but whether or not the Nets have the pieces to acquire that talent will be seen in the next week and a half as the league approaches its trade deadline.