Latest Nets report should put Knicks-Mikal Bridges trade rumors to bed

Brooklyn fired Jacque Vaughn on Monday.
New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Mikal Bridges
New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Mikal Bridges / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, the Nets fired Jacque Vaughn, making it the second consecutive year that the organization got rid of a head coach midseason. Vaughn’s last game in Brooklyn was a 136-86 loss to Boston before the All-Star break, which was the final straw for Joe Tsai and Sean Marks. 

The Nets have been on a downward spiral, while the New York Knicks have risen. Some New York fans have been hoping that Brooklyn’s misfortune might mean the Knicks could complete the Villanova puzzle with Mikal Bridges. 

Ever since the forward was traded to the Nets before the 2022 deadline, he hasn’t been able to escape the Knicks rumors. Part of the reason for that is Josh Hart, who seizes every opportunity to recruit his former teammate. The most recent example came on the ‘Roommates Show’ when Hart not-so-subtly tried to lure Bridges across the river. 

Bridges caught flak for not “taking up” for the Nets organization on the podcast, with some Brooklyn fans even declaring that they were done with him. 

Those fans must not be happy with the Nets’ outlook after firing Vaughn. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Brooklyn wants to build around Bridges.

"The Nets are rebuilding the roster around forward Mikal Bridges. They hold significant salary cap space and draft capital to build around him this summer and beyond."

Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN

Nets plan to build around Mikal Bridges after firing Jacque Vaughn

As always, things can change but don’t bank on a Bridges-Knicks trade happening. ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who spent 20 years with the Nets and worked his way up to assistant general manager, has already proven a trade won’t happen. He stated that while he worked for the Nets, there were no trade discussions with the Knicks. 

If (more like when) a star becomes available in the offseason, expect Brooklyn to be in the mix, especially if it’s Donovan Mitchell. Or maybe it’ll happen before the 2024 deadline, as the Nets are in no rush to get rid of Bridges. After 2023-24, he’ll still have two full seasons left on his current contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2026. 

Even if Bridges were to request a trade, there’s no guarantee that the Knicks would be able to pursue him. New York’s been stockpiling its assets to go after a superstar, which could happen as soon as the summer. Bridges isn’t, nor should he be, one of the Knicks’ top priorities. 

That’s for the best, as the Nets would likely rather move back to New York than send their best player to the team they despise the most.