The Brooklyn Nets made an earth-shattering move, adding James Harden to a roster that already had superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Note that the Nets still have three roster spots available for additional moves, so they might not be done making acquisitions quite yet. ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported that Brooklyn can offer the taxpayer midlevel exception ($5.7 million) and the minimum exception.
He also speculated that they could receive a disabled player exception ($5.7 million) for the injury suffered by Spencer Dinwiddie, who is out for the remainder of the season with a partially torn ACL.
Here is how the roster looks, as it stands right now, to get a better idea of what holes must be filled.
Brooklyn is currently without Kyrie Irving, due to undisclosed personal reasons, and there isn’t exactly a timeline for his return. Harden, however, is more than capable of serving as a primary ball-handler for an offense. He will likely take over as the de facto point guard once he is assimilated with the team and until Irving returns.
Meanwhile, there is plenty of depth in the backcourt as several other players on the squad (Tyler Johnson, Chris Chiozza, Bruce Brown and Landry Shamet) are all more than serviceable playing on-ball as well. Next season, when Spencer Dinwiddie returns, he will likely be the floor general off the bench.
Spencer Dinwiddie (injured)
The Nets landed the biggest trade piece on the market and it is not often that a player like Harden becomes available. Brooklyn was already outscoring their opponents by 17.5 points per 100 possessions when Irving has been on the floor with Kevin Durant. That number can obviously get even higher when adding a player with as many offensive skills as Harden. Shamet has struggled since joining the Nets but Brown has filled in as a solid role player in their rotation.
When a team has offensive threats like Durant and Irving, there are going to be plenty of opportunities for open shooters waiting on the perimeter. Joe Harris has made the most of those looks so far, shooting an absurd 51.5 percent from beyond the arc in 2020-21.
While the organization lost some depth in Taurean Prince, expect them to use one of their available roster spots on a small forward. There are some recent Brooklyn forwards who are available as free agents, including Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Allen Crabbe, Joe Johnson, Wilson Chandler, Iman Shumpert and DeMarre Carroll.
Since returning from injury, Kevin Durant is averaging an absurd clip of 29.9 points and 7.8 rebounds with 5.8 assists per game while also shooting 44.7 percent from three-point range. Those would truly be incredibly impressive numbers for anyone, especially someone coming back from an Achilles tear.
Nic Claxton (injured)
Brooklyn moved on from Jarrett Allen, one of their only first-round picks in recent memory, to acquire Harden. This means they handed the keys of their starting center position to DeAndre Jordan, a 32-year-old who is averaging the fewest minutes of his career in over a decade. He may be past his prime, but with a low usage rate, he can yield to his superstar teammates.
NBA veteran Jeff Green has made five starts for Brooklyn and is averaging 19.8 minutes per game. This is another position where the front office will likely target some help in free agency.
Reggie Perry, who was a second-round pick in the 2020 NBA draft, may not be ready for a ton of time on the floor to back Jordan up as a rookie. But until 21-year-old Nic Claxton returns from his knee injury to make his debut this year, Perry may be called upon more often.