Today, I’ve decided to start a new series of articles for hypothetical offseasons for NBA teams. Now, as just stated, these are all hypothetical, so whether any of this is even possible this offseason is up in the air for now. In these articles I will cover:
Playoff Results: The NBA season isn’t over, so a lot could still happen in the remainder of the season and the playoffs. Let’s say for instance the Celtics win the championship, a lot could change in terms of their offseason. They may be more hesitant to deal Al Horford or try to land a big name like Bradley Beal. Or say the Lakers lose in the play-in and decide to break the team-up. LeBron maybe decides he wants to go play in New York or something. What I’m trying to say is that the playoffs can affect the offseason in countless ways, and I have to know what the results of it are to make this a realistic hypothetical. To do this, I will use FiveThirtyEight’s 2021-2022 NBA Predictions and a random number generator to simulate the rest of the season and the playoffs, this will help to make these effective hypotheticals.
Trades: I will use ESPN’s Trade Machine to make sure salary cap rules are followed and will be unbiased in terms of making sure they are win-win trades. Basically, I won’t trade Russell Westbrook for a thousand picks just to look good; I will make sure both teams would accept the deal.
Free Agency: This was a toughie, as it’s very hard to accurately predict how interested players will be in a given team. I decided to use a mix of common sense and luck in this and decided that if my team has the cap I can make an offer to a player, however, another team can offer a higher contract (by use of a random number generator) and I will have to outbid that. It’s not a great method, but it’s the best I can do. For reference, I used Spotrac’s 2022 Free Agents Tracker for a list of the players.
Draft: One of the biggest parts of this hypothetical offseason for half of the teams in the league, this was fairly easy to simulate. I used Tankathon’s NBA Draft Lottery Simulator and Fanspo’s NBA Mock Draft Simulator, which of course will be AI selections for the other teams, and I will pick for the one given team.
So, after all of those rules, it’s finally time for me to start the hypothetical offseason. The team I will be managing in today’s hypothetical is the Brooklyn Nets. Let’s get into it.
2022 Season Results
42-40 Record, 8th seed in the play-in
Play-in: Beat 7th seed Hawks for 7th seed in playoffs
Playoffs: Beat 2nd seed 76ers in the first round, Lost to 3rd seed Heat in the second round
Thoughts: Wow, so the Nets came into this as the underdogs, barely staying above .500 in the regular season, and ended up upsetting the 76ers in the first round (sorry James Harden). Even though they lost in the second round to the Heat, this team still ended up having a pretty good season, despite falling short of their title aspirations.
No need to simulate the lottery, the Nets aren’t anywhere close to it. In fact, they don’t pick until the 23rd.
23: Mark Williams, Duke
Thoughts: I like Mark Williams to the Nets. With Andre Drummond not necessarily on the team next year, Williams could have minutes in his rookie season for a team lacking quality “bigmen”. Williams could also become a starter for this team in the future, that’s how much potential he’s got. This is all the Nets have in the draft, Williams is a good enough haul in my opinion.
Signed: Kyrie Irving/Player Option, Patty Mills/Player Option, Nic Claxton/Qualifying Offer, LaMarcus Aldridge/1 year, 8.2 M, James Johnson/1 year, 2.5 M, Montrezl Harrell/1 year, 10.4 M, Austin Rivers/1 year, 4.6 M
Lost: Bruce Brown, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond
Thoughts: The Nets lose Bruce Brown, which is hard but necessary for this team. They more than makeup for it by getting the ultimate hustler in Montrezl Harrell, who will fill in for Drummond. Rivers is also added and will have to work to get a bigger role, but he has a chance to slot in as the backup shooting guard if he plays well.
Nets receive: Troy Brown Jr., Tony Bradley
Bulls receive: Joe Harris
Thoughts: That’s the only trade I can really come up with for this team. While Day’Ron Sharpe could be traded, I don’t think the Nets simply trade him for a second-round pick. Joe Harris, meanwhile, could definitely be traded. Here, he is traded to the Bulls for Troy Brown Jr., a great hustler, and defender who will give a jolt to this team, as well as Tony Bradley, a young center who could compete with Mark Williams for the backup center spot. The Nets also save 1.1 million dollars from this deal, which always helps.
PG Seth Curry
SG Kyrie Irving
SF Ben Simmons
PF Kevin Durant
C LaMarcus Aldridge
PG Patty Mills
SG Cam Thomas
SF Troy Brown Jr.
PF Montrezl Harrell
C Nic Claxton
Thoughts: The starting lineup is fairly similar to the current one, except for the inclusion of Ben Simmons, who should be back for the start of the next season barring anything unexpected. This team is very deep, with far more centers than I expected to acquire at the beginning of the offseason. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; any one of them can be shipped at the deadline for a pick or so, just to clear some cap. Overall, this is definitely a contender.