After this past regular season ended, the Nets owned two first-round draft picks. They ended up trading away both.
Brooklyn reportedly sent the 27th overall pick in the draft to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick and a second-round pick Thursday — 56th overall.
The Nets had acquired what turned out to be the 27th pick from the Denver Nuggets last July when they agreed to take on forwards Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur and their $21 million in salary.
The Nets officially drafted Florida State center Mfiondu Kabengele with the pick Thursday, but he will become a Clipper when the trade is finalized by the league.
Earlier this month, the Nets gave up their own first-round pick — 17th overall — in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks. In that deal, Brooklyn moved forward Allen Crabbe, who is due $18.5 million next season, freeing up enough salary-cap space to sign two max-level free agents this summer. The Nets are believed to be the front-runners for the Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, according to multiple reports.
Thursday night’s trade moves the Nets from about $4 million short of the cap space needed to sign both Irving and Golden State’s Kevin Durant to $2 million short. Durant has a higher max cap figure due to his longer service time in the league.
In addition to the 56th overall pick, the Nets also owned the first pick of the second round — 31st overall. With that pick, they selected Georgia center Nicolas Claxton. The 6-foot-11 Claxton averaged 13.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game as a sophomore last season for the Bulldogs.
“A lot of people think I’m a project, which is fine, but I just want to show people that I can go out there and play and contribute in a major way,” Claxton told ESPN after being picked.
At No. 56, Brooklyn selected UCLA’s Jaylen Hands. The 6-foot-3 point guard averaged 14.2 points and 3.7 rebounds last season and led the Pac-12 with 6.1 assists per game.