Jerome Miron (USA Today)
The Brooklyn Nets and Detroit Pistons have decided to swap some pieces prior to the start of the 2021-22 NBA season. The Nets are trading veteran center DeAndre Jordan, four future-second round picks and $5.78 million to Detroit in exchange for Jahlil Okafor and Sekou Doumbouya, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Nets will send the Pistons their own 2022 and 2027 second-round picks, a 2024 second-round pick via the Washington Wizards and a 2025 second rounder via the Golden State Warriors. The move is largely a financial one for Brooklyn, which will save $47 million in salary and tax on the deal.
Jordan’s time with the Pistons will be brief, as he and the Pistons have agreed to a buyout that could actually be profitable to Jordan. He will give up $4 million out of the $20 million remaining on his contract in order to secure his free agency, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and James Edwards. As a veteran with more than 10 years of experience, Jordan’s minimum salary is $2.6 million, so if he signs minimum deals for the next two years, he will more than make up what he is giving up.
The Los Angeles Lakers will be a serious contender to sign Jordan, per Wojnarowski. The Lakers have gone all-in on veterans for the upcoming campaign, and Jordan would be the latest such addition. In L.A., he would join a frontline that already includes veteran centers Dwight Howard and Marc Gasol, but there have been rumblings suggesting that Gasol may not return to Los Angeles, so Jordan could provide insurance.
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With Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge and Nic Claxton all already on the roster, the Nets didn’t necessarily need Jordan, and getting off of his contract will provide the team with some added financial flexibility moving forward. Given how well-established they are in the frontcourt, it seems unlikely that either Okafor or Doumbouya will see major minutes during the 2021-22 season. Neither player represents a long-term commitment for Brooklyn, as Okafor will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason, and Doumbouya’s contract features a team option for the ’22-23 campaign.