It just wouldn’t be an NBA season if the Brooklyn Nets weren’t involved in some trade rumors. According to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com, the Nets have opened up the trade market after a 4-13 start, gauging league interest in backup guard Bojan Bogdanovic.
Sources tell ESPN that the Nets have been gauging trade interest in Bojan Bogdanovic. https://t.co/QBooYvl4xF
— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) December 1, 2015
One report disputed that, however.
League source responding to report that Nets "gauging interest" in @44Bojan says "NO truth at all"
— NetsDaily.com (@NetsDaily) December 1, 2015
The news comes as a bit of a surprise, as Bogdanovic’s value is at an all-time low right now. The second-year guard ended last season on a shooting tear, hitting over 50% of his shots and 43.5% of his three-point attempts after the All-Star Break. Following the season, he told the media that he did not want to be traded, and said in August in a message to fans on Facebook that he expected a bigger role in the offense.
But after a steady start to the season, Bogdanovic’s production has cratered in the last eight games, averaging 3.5 points in 21 minutes per game while shooting 25% from the field and 15% from three-point range. This comes after a nine-game stretch to open the season when Bogdanovic was, if unspectacular, at least steady: he was within one made basket of shooting 50% in every single game, including a season-high 22-point performance in the team’s first win of the season.
Also a factor is the emergence of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who has a stronghold on a spot in the starting lineup with a surprisingly productive first month. The Nets are 8.4 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents with Hollis-Jefferson in the starting lineup; switch Hollis-Jefferson with Bogdanovic and that number drops to about 11 points per 100 possessions worse. That’s not insignificant, and reflects how the two have fit into the on-court product.
This isn’t the first time the Nets have dangled Bogdanovic. According to reports around the NBA Draft, the Nets were looking to trade Bogdanovic for a point guard to replace Deron Williams down the road. (Williams was still technically on the Nets at that time, but you can safely assume both sides were working on moving on by that point.)
Speaking of point guards, the timing of the announcement coincides with a second team looking to trade off an underperforming player: the Houston Rockets are reportedly shopping embattled point guard Ty Lawson, who they acquired in the offseason for three players on non-guaranteed contracts and a protected first-round pick. The last year of Lawson’s contract is fully non-guaranteed, which could be an appealing asset for a Nets team looking to preserve its precious cap space in the 2016 offseason. The Nets’ need for a point guard is well-documented, even if the team’s had some surprisingly good production at that spot this year. Lawson makes $12 million this year, meaning the Nets would have to add significant salary to Bogdanovic’s team-friendly deal of about $3.5 million this year and next.
But Lawson comes with baggage. The once-promising Nuggets point guard has dealt with numerous off-court issues, including four DUI arrests in his seven-year NBA career. On the floor, he’s averaged career-lows in points per game, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage, and he’s been replaced in the starting lineup by 38-year-old Jason Terry, who struggled off the bench for the Nets two full seasons ago. The Nets talked at length in the offseason about their commitment to high-character guys, which could put a damper on their desire to acquire him.
Another date to remember is December 15th. That’s the date that players who signed contracts in the offseason become eligible for trade. That opens up numerous possibilities across the league. If the Nets do test the trade market, there’s a good chance it’ll be then. Maybe by that time, Bogdanovic will have figured out some of his shooting struggles. Only time will tell.