NBA rumors: Rockets dream target, Claxton available, Clippers trade chips

  • Clippers testing market for P.J. Tucker and Bones Hyland
  • Nets expected to consider trades for Nic Claxton
  • Rockets badly want Mikal Bridges

Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets
Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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NBA rumors: Nets make Nic Claxton 'more available' at trade deadline

The Brooklyn Nets are expected to shop several key role players at the trade deadline. Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Royce O'Neale are all on the chopping block. That said, Brooklyn's core is generally off the table. Or so we thought.

According to the latest deadline news dump from Marc Stein, Brooklyn is expected to consider offers for big man Nic Claxton. That comes as a shock. The 24-year-old was a bonafide DPOY candidate last season. He is essentially the Nets' second-best player, and a logical foundation should Brooklyn eventually decide to part ways with Mikal Bridges.

Here's what Stein said about Claxton's outlook over the next week.

"I've heard more than once this week not to discount the idea that Brooklyn big man Nic Claxton could be more available over the next seven days than previously advertised. There are mixed signals in circulation about the Nets' plans with Claxton as unrestricted free agency looms this summer."

Claxton's upcoming free agency is the major sticking point here. It's rare for 24-year-olds of his caliber to enter the open market. He won't be restricted. The Nets can't match an offer sheet. If Claxton wants to leave, he can leave of his own volition.

That said, the Nets should make every effort to keep Claxton around. He's an excellent rim protector, blessed with the mobility and coordination to switch on the perimeter and effectively guard in space. Claxton's elite athleticism shows up on lobs, but it also translates to an imposing presence on the glass — including 3.0 offensive boards per game. For the season, he's averaging 12.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 2.1 blocks on .632/.333/.556 splits.

Should the Nets make Claxton available, expect several teams in need of center upgrades to come knocking. New York, OKC, New Orleans, and Washington come to mind.