Brooklyn Nets: 3 future-defining questions that must be answered before offseason

The Brooklyn Nets have some big questions to answer before the start of the NBA offseason.

Brooklyn Nets v Memphis Grizzlies
Brooklyn Nets v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages
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Is Mikal Bridges at the center of the Brooklyn Nets' future plans?

Rumors were swirling just before the NBA's Trade Deadline a few weeks ago concerning Mikal Bridges after many predicted he would be dealt for future draft picks. After finishing strong last season while exceeding expectations, he led the Nets to a playoff appearance and had several breakout games including notching a 45-point career high in points in just his third game with the team.

The Nets had a solid plan in place to build around Bridges but it's imperative that this team has to establish an identity first and foremost and make a decision whether to go forward with Bridges. He hasn't developed into the superstar he was projected to become and the time is approaching when the front office will have to decide whether it's better for them to keep him or trade him.

The only bad thing about the Nets' inactivity at the deadline was the fact they had an early opportunity to start the rebuild by pulling the trigger on a trade and securing the necessary draft capital but decided to fire the head coach to see if they could salvage what they already have. The Rockets were high on Bridges and it was rumored that they were willing to unload multiple draft picks in order to acquire him.

Trading away Bridges for those picks would have given the Nets plenty of flexibility going forward. The Nets could also have traded Cam Johnson and Dorian Finney Smith and swapped them out for 1st round picks as well. They are 2 players any contending team would love to have as they have proven to be excellent within their roles. Finney Smith was with the Nets during their 1st round exit last season and also has prior playoff experience when he was a member of the Dallas Mavericks.

He not only can defend 1 through 5 but he averages at least 10 points per game, five rebounds per game, and one steal per game throughout his playoff career. Johnson on the other hand has already been to the NBA Finals when the Phoenix Suns won the West in a few years ago. He put up an impressive 8.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in a limited role and scored in double figures in three of the six games.

Many would agree that the Nets should have been more active at the deadline but there are many different strategies to use when rebuilding a team and Marks has proven he can do it. Whoever the general manager may be moving forward, they should focus on maintaining a good supporting cast with the hopes of luring another star player in free agency. Simmons' contract comes off the books after next season and it clears a slot for a max player to add to what would be a good core.

The good news for the Nets is that even though they are among the lower teams in the Eastern Conference, they are not in a worse situation similar to what the Pistons, Hornets, and Wizards are in. Those teams will take a lot of time to find chemistry and develop the Nets appear to be one player away from contending again. The Nets play in a great market and they've got a ton of solid role players they could trade who would surely gain valuable assets in return.

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The Nets will definitely be a team to watch during the offseason as drastic changes to the roster may be forthcoming. Or will the Nets decide to stick with the original plan and build around Bridges?