The Nets started the day with no first-round pick and a long, long wait until they could make their selection in Thursday’s NBA draft. But by mid-afternoon, the scope of their entire evening — and maybe their future — had changed.
Brooklyn traded power forward Thaddeus Young to the Indiana Pacers for the 20th pick in the draft and a future second-rounder, league sources told The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Nets could not confirm the trade.
Young’s wife, Shekinah, appeared to confirm the trade on Twitter and Instagram with a picture of her husband in a Pacers uniform.
Young has three years left on a four-year deal that had an average annual salary of $13.5 million. Young is due to make slightly more than $12 million next season.
Young, who said in May that he had been given assurances that he would not be traded in the offseason, was one of the few attractive trade chips the Nets had to offer other than center Brook Lopez. Young averaged 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds in 73 games of the Nets’ forgettable 21-61 season. GM Sean Marks said in May that he made no promises, but it was certainly possible that Young and Lopez could return.
The Nets had previously traded away this year’s first-round pick to the Celtics — they pick third Thursday — in the blockbuster deal that brought Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn. They did not have control over their own first-round draft pick until 2019, and are slated to choose 55th overall tonight.
Marks believes they can come away with a quality player in the second round.
“We took eight guys to Chicago,” Marks said in May, referring to the draft combine. “We scouted Chicago like we were taking one, two and three in the draft. I know that’s far-fetched, but the only way for us to get a good feel for all these players, whether it’s this year or a year or two, was to get in front of them … Who knows how we’ll approach this draft, but we do have the option, if there’s interest there, we could certainly get into it.”
The Nets need a point guard. Deron Williams’ departure in 2015 left a void the team was unable to fill, and when backup-turned-starter Jarrett Jack tore his ACL in November, things deteriorated. New coach Kenny Atkinson, a former point guard, made it clear that the position was the Nets’ foremost priority. Free agency, with an eye also toward Europe, could fill that need, but so could trading for a higher draft pick.
“I think the point guard is like the NFL quarterback,” Atkinson said at his introductory news conference. “That’s how important the position is … Obviously we can’t talk about specific names, but there’s some exciting names out there.”
Visit Newsday at www.newsday.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.