Despite losing five of their last six, the overachieving Brooklyn Nets approach the All-Star break with their eyes on earning a postseason berth.
That fact, paired with several young talents and plenty of upcoming salary cap space, could lead to Brooklyn landing a high-caliber free agent over the summer. Count Hall of Famer and "NBA on TNT" analyst Reggie Miller among those who agree.
“Why not? Absolutely. Why not?" Miller said during a conference call Tuesday to promote Sunday’s All-Star Game. "And I’m still surprised that the Nets aren’t getting more national love just for the simple fact of what they’ve done. Obviously, they’ve had injuries. [Caris] LeVert just came back, but [Spencer] Dinwiddie went down. The first-time All-Star D’Angelo Russell, Jarrett [Allen] in the middle, this team plays hard. They play together, they play for one another. And we talk about young teams, sometimes jealousy [comes into play], and whose team is it can kind of divide young teams. I don’t get a sense of that with the Brooklyn Nets.”
Miller, a five-time All-Star and notorious New York Knicks rival during his 18-year career with the Indiana Pacers, doesn’t see the Nets (29-29) as an easy out in the postseason.
“I still believe they’re going to make the playoffs, and they can make some noise if healthy because they have closers. They have finishers,” Miller said. “I really do enjoy watching this team.”
The Knicks (10-46), on the other hand, have little to look forward to the rest of the season, having just lost their franchise-record 17th consecutive game Monday and with only one win since Dec. 16. With the recent Kristaps Porzingis trade to the Dallas Mavericks, the Knicks are positioned to not only land a top pick in t draft in June but also to sign two top-tier free agents.
Miller’s fellow Turner Sports analyst Chris Webber, an All-Star in five of his 15 NBA seasons, said on the conference call that the Knicks can make that happen.
"Since [Knicks general manager] Scott Perry has come in there and things have quieted down from the drama side, I think it has allowed some free agents to consider New York,” Webber said. “I think they’re in a better position. It seems that [the Knicks are] on the path to consistency, that there is positive talk in the locker room, and they have cleared cap space so that they can go after some pretty big free agents. I would not be surprised if New York lands a big free agent this summer. I would not be surprised at all."