1. Rockets swap Jalen Green for Nets' Mikal Bridges
With all due respect to Mikal Bridges and the Brooklyn Nets, it is completely absurd to refuse a trade package that includes Jalen Green and several first-round picks. Bridges is miscast as the Nets' No. 1 option and Brooklyn currently has no discernible direction as a franchise. At 20-29, it's clear the Nets cannot contend as is. But, without ownership of their own draft picks due to the James Harden trade, there's no material value in tanking.
That is why this is such a huge win for Brooklyn. The Nets get their own picks back, empowering the front office to truly hit the reset button. Bridges is a tremendous talent, but he's at best the second or third-best player on a title contender. Rather than vainly hoping for a No. 1 to come along and join Bridges in the borough, Brooklyn can bottom out with designs on drafting a No. 1 and expanding their timeline. Bridges is a free agent in 2026. It's hard to say the Nets should be confident in their ability to build a contender before Bridges has the option to leave for a greener pastures.
Maybe Green can develop into Brooklyn's next foundational piece. Maybe not. Either way, he's a great starting point for the rebuild. The fit with Cam Thomas is a bit wonky, but man would the shot-making displays be beautiful. It's important to have a coach that can shape talent and encourage buy-in — Jacque Vaughn has not inspired much confidence in 2024 — but this is the ideal package for the Nets to start their next chapter with.
The Rockets, meanwhile, get Ime Udoka's dream target and immediately level up in the postseason race. Bridges would look much better next to an elite setup man, a la VanVleet, or a playmaking hub in the frontcourt, a la Sengun. Bridges has turned into a potent isolation scorer in Brooklyn, but he's at his best spotting up from 3-point range, selectively picking his spots as a driver, and focusing the bulk of his efforts on defense. The Rockets aren't short on high-level perimeter defense, but Bridges would take them to the next echelon.