Nets' Mikal Bridges trade mismanagement is great entertainment for Knicks fans

Did the Nets really turn this offer down?!

New York Knicks, Jalen Brunson, Brooklyn Nets, Mikal Bridges
New York Knicks, Jalen Brunson, Brooklyn Nets, Mikal Bridges / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

This time last year, Nets fans thought they had struck gold with Mikal Bridges. Brooklyn acquired Bridges in the trade with Phoenix centered around Kevin Durant. Within a matter of days, Kyrie Irving and Durant left New York. Since then, it's been all about the New York Knicks.

The Knicks have won five straight games over the Nets, with the most recent victory coming last Saturday. New York handed Brooklyn its sixth straight loss. The 27-45 Nets hold the No. 11 seed in the East but are too far back from the 31-40 Hawks for a spot in the Play-In Tournament.

The Nets aren't in a position to improve the roster, either. Brooklyn still owes Houston from the James Harden trade with a 2026 unprotected first-round pick and pick swaps in 2025 and 2027, but can still cash in on the first-round picks from the Durant and Irving trades. However, it'll be a while (as in 2029) before the Nets have those unprotected picks. For now, the front office is stuck.

Brooklyn had a chance to add to its draft assets but turned the opportunity down. Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer was the first to report it, and on Monday, Shams Charania confirmed that the Rockets and Nets discussed a trade involving Bridges, Jalen Green, and multiple first-round picks before the deadline.

It's unclear how serious those talks were, nor what picks Houston offered. Brooklyn had the chance to get something in return for Bridges but decided to hold onto him. Since the deadline, Bridges has averaged 16.8 points per game. The Nets have gone 7-15 during that span.

Nets reportedly turned down Mikal Bridges trade from Rockets

After Bridges averaged 26.1 points on 47.5% shooting from the field and 37.6% from three last season with Brooklyn, there was hope he would be an All-Star. He's come back down to Earth this season, averaging 20.5 points per game on 43.9% shooting from the field and 36.8% from deep.

The 27-year-old is signed through the 2025-26 season. While the Nets could trade Bridges this summer, it won't be for multiple first-rounders. That's an offer Brooklyn should've cashed in. It would've put the team in a better position to go after a star like Donovan Mitchell.

The Knicks were rightfully criticized for so long because of their front-office mismanagement. The tables have turned. People praised the Nets for signing Durant and Irving in 2019, but in retrospect, those signings, plus the Harden trade, set Brooklyn back even further.

Who knows how long Bridges will stay with the Nets? As much as Knicks fans want to see the former Wildcat at MSG, there's a slim chance Brooklyn would ever trade him to its crosstown rival. Bridges would do much better on a Knicks team where he could be a great role player instead of the top option, but we'll never know what that'd look like.

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