The Brooklyn Nets got swept in the first-round of the NBA Playoffs by the Boston Celtics, and the Milwaukee Bucks lost in Game 7 of the second-round to the Celtics.
Both teams underachieved this season, and I think that they could help each other out by making a blockbuster trade.
I think that the Nets and Bucks should make a trade that would swap Kyrie Irving and Khris Middleton (picks and contract fillers can be figured out, but the deal should center around those two players).
(Middleton missed the entire second-round of the playoffs).
Why Irving For Middleton Works:
Irving is one of the greatest players ever, but he has not been available much during his tenure in Brooklyn.
He has been with Brooklyn for the last three seasons, and never played more than 54 regular season games (he played less 30 in the other two).
He’s also played in 13 playoff games for the Nets over the last two seasons (he didn’t play in the playoffs in 2020).
This past season, he averaged 27.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 29 games.
The Nets had a terrible ending to their season, and they appeared to lack chemistry all season long.
This offseason, Irving opted into the final year of his deal that will pay him over $36 million next season.
He will be a free agent next summer.
On June 30, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Nets.
Woj on June 30: “Kevin Durant made the trade request directly to Nets owner Joe Tsai today, sources tell ESPN.”
Therefore, there appears to be a lot of turmoil in Brooklyn, New York.
Khris Middleton is the second best offensive player for the Bucks, and he averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game last season.
He is not the superstar that Irving is, but he is a consistent second or third best player on a title team.
In 2021, he was one of the biggest reasons the Bucks made the NBA Finals (and ultimately won the NBA Championship).
He will also have a player-option next summer.
The Bucks could get a player that is an absolute superstar in Irving, and pair him with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
As for the Nets, they could add stability to a roster that already has Durant and three-time NBA All-Star Ben Simmons.
Simmons is a point guard, so they do not need Irving to run the offense, and they need a shooting guard.
Middleton is one of the best shooters in the league (39.2% shooting from the three-point range over his 10-year career), and could help them space the floor in a big way.
This is a deal that could help both teams, and something they should consider.
In addition, there are limited contract obligations; Irving will be a free agent next summer and Middleton will either be a free agent in the summer of 2023 or 2024.