Nets just made it impossible for the Rockets to make a deal with them

Houston Rockets v Brooklyn Nets
Houston Rockets v Brooklyn Nets / Al Bello/GettyImages

The Brooklyn Nets find themselves in an interesting situation. They need to blow it up and orchestrate a full-scale rebuild but the Houston Rockets own their draft capital, meaning a tank job wouldn't even benefit them, as it would help the Rockets instead.

They do, however, own the several of the Phoenix Suns' picks (2025, 2027, 2029 first-round picks) and they own the Dallas Mavericks' first and second round picks in 2029, in addition to the Philadelphia 76ers' first-round pick in 2027. Those picks aren't nearly as enticing, as those are contending teams with legitimate star players.

In an ideal scenario for Brooklyn, they'd have their 2024 first-round pick, which seems like a lock for a lottery pick. However, that pick is going to Houston, as a result of the James Harden trade in 2021.

The Nets don't even have a pick in 2024 altogether. They could change that by trading away their high-level players, such as Mikal Bridges, Nic Claxton, and Dorian Finney-Smith, as any contending team would gladly welcome any of those players.

Hell, Rockets fans have been enamored with Bridges for quite some time now. But the latest rumors out of Brooklyn suggest that the Nets' asking price for Bridges is quite lofty, at least according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

"Bridges is the most prized asset and new face of the franchise. He’s considered all-but untouchable, at best a foundation piece; at worst a weight-bearing wall.

Sources told The Post that Brooklyn rejected four first-round picks for Bridges last season — since revealed to be from the Memphis Grizzlies, per Hoopshype — and their regard for the 27-year-old wing has only grown since. Even if the Houston Rockets were willing to return the remainder of the draft assets the Nets gave up for James Harden, the answer would be another no."

Nets have perplexing stance on re-acquiring original picks from Rockets.

Let's first acknowledge that four first-round picks is an insane price to pay for Bridges. It's even more insane that Brooklyn would turn that down because they want even more.

Lewis also reports that Brooklyn turned down two first-round picks for Finney-Smith also, so maybe they just have a high valuation of their players. 

But let's peel this back a bit. 

The Rockets own the following picks from the Nets:

  • 2025 first-round pick (although the OKC Thunder have a right to swap the pick)
  • 2024 first and second-round picks
  • 2026 first-round pick 
  • 2027 first-round pick 

Those are going to be good picks, as the Nets are currently 18-27 and are likely headed to an eventual roster teardown. Bridges isn't helping them all that much, so it's rather strange to take this position on making him untouchable. 

And it's not like the Nets are one move away from being the best in the Eastern Conference either. If they do decide to move him at some point down the line, he'll be even closer to 30, so his value won't be as high. 

In other words, they won't receive four first-round picks for Bridges down the road. And they'd surely wish they had their original picks back, as they'd likely get picks from a contending team, much like the ones they currently have, which will be in the high 20s.