With the Kyrie Irving trade not yet complete, NBA insiders are suggesting the Nets want to expand the deal to possibly involve Raptors guard Fred VanVleet.
The Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks made the Kyrie Irving trade official on Monday. While they were never going to wait until the NBA Trade Deadline on Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. ET to do so, they did look to make some alterations to the trade.
On Monday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Nets were looking to possibly expand the Irving trade to include a third team, mentioning the Toronto Raptors as a team that had been widely discussed.
NBA insider Marc Stein furthered that reporting, saying that if the trade were to include the Raptors, one possibility would’ve been Toronto giving up Fred VanVleet with Spencer Dinwiddie and picks (which picks is undetermined) going back to the Raptors in such a trade.
Additionally, the Nets have also expressed interest in Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, also per Stein’s reporting, but Toronto has been “reluctant” to part with him.
Nets Trade Rumors: Brooklyn tried to include Fred VanVleet in Kyrie Irving trade
With the trade now official, the Irving trade won’t be expanded. However, it does make sense as to why the Nets wanted to look to add another wrinkle to the deal.
Landing VanVleet gives the Nets a clear second All-NBA player to pair with Kevin Durant — assuming he remains in Brooklyn — but it would give Brooklyn more offensive scoring after Irving’s departure.
The Nets don’t have a lot of chances to make a lot of moves with draft picks, as they can’t trade their own first-round pick until 2027. However, they do have the Sixers’ first-round pick in 2027 and the Mavs in 2029 by way of the Irving trade. That draft capital does allow the Nets to attempt to make one last big swing to get more talent around Kevin Durant.
While one might propose waiting until the summer when more first-round pick become available for trade for Brooklyn, it might make sense to make a move for an All-Star guard like VanVleet now if the price is right.
The Nets’ pursuit of Siakam in exploratory talks does make a great deal of sense. The Raptors forward is an All-NBA-caliber player on any given night and has been spectacular this season.
As for VanVleet, he is a bit inefficient and perhaps lacks the size to be the second-best player on a title-contending team. With that said, while a team like the Lakers going all-in on VanVleet would be terrific as he’d be LA’s third-best player, making him the second-best player in Brooklyn is a bit less enticing.
Perhaps this pursuit is all about the Nets showing Kevin Durant that they are still aggressive in order to try and keep him in Brooklyn. And while it did not happen, there’s a chance that the Nets are not yet done moving ahead of the Thursday deadline.