The Brooklyn Nets are chasing a third star to join Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. A trade is their only option with such a poor free agency class coming up.

Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen could all be included in a trade, and at least one would be required to land any of the three players we have selected here. In some cases, all three would have to be dealt, leaving Brooklyn with their big three and DeAndre Jordan and little else around them.

Collecting stars saw the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors become dynasties. The new era of the NBA features big twos rather than threes, but it seems like the Nets are going to favour star power over depth. Each of these three would fit the bill…

Jrue Holiday

The New Orleans Pelicans have a collection of young talent. Jrue Holiday was rumoured on the trade market at the deadline, but they opted to keep the roster together. As the two-way guard heads towards free agency, however, the trade rumours are likely to reappear.

New Orleans isn’t going to compete for a title in 2020/21 (or whenever the season happens). While they could ascend into the playoff spots, there’s good reason to move Holiday as they look to construct a legitimate contender around the Zion-Ingram-Lonzo core. Any of Dinwiddie, LeVert or Allen could be useful. LeVert might be the best fit to play as a third scorer, though concerns remain about his offensive efficiency.

       

Holiday will be cheaper than the second player on this list, and as a top-end defender, he could take the tougher perimeter assignments and allow Irving to play a lesser role. His shooting from deep is patchy, though, which isn’t ideal for the third option. At 35% for his career and in 2019/20, Holiday looks solid, but he was under 34% in each of the last two seasons.

Bradley Beal

Of the players who might be traded in the next 12 months, few – if any – would be as desirable as Bradley Beal. Beal signed a huge contract at the start of the season, ruling him out of a trade before the deadline. He could be moved in the offseason, and there have been murmurs of discontent from the Washington Wizards guard in recent months.

A lot can be read into Beal’s frustrations. Sure, the Wizards are bad, but he shouldn’t have expected anything different when he signed last year. It isn’t a guarantee he will ask for a trade, but it’s fair to suggest a trade request is more likely. Washington are currently under no pressure to deal him despite the constant speculation.

With team control through 2021/22 and a player option for the following year, Beal is the most expensive option for Brooklyn. Despite a leap in usage rate to almost 34% this season, he has spent much of his career as the second option to John Wall. Wall and Irving are far from identical, and Durant changes things too, but Beal has shown his effectiveness as an off-ball player. He shot 37.5% or better from three in each of his first six NBA campaigns.

Gordon Hayward

The league’s suspension, and probable drop in salary cap, makes it much more likely Gordon Hayward picks up his player option with the Boston Celtics. At well over $30 million, he’s an expensive trade target, but one that could fit into the offence alongside Irving and Durant. It does, of course, require the Nets to give up assets to the Celtics, which doesn’t have good history.

Some will question whether Hayward is a star anymore. Others might doubt his fit as a facilitator alongside two iso scorers. Hayward’s a good spot-up shooter, though, and cuts well off the ball to take advantage of the help defenders both Durant and Irving attract.

This one is the most outlandish of the trio. Should Hayward pick up his option, it would take a haul for the Celtics to deal him. Allen would have to be involved, and probably another catalogue of picks for Danny Ainge to hoard.

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