Should the Brooklyn Nets explore the possibility of trading Cam Thomas ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline?
As the NBA Trade Deadline quickly approaches, it remains to be seen whether the Nets will be buyers or sellers. As of right now, the Nets own a 17-25 record and are currently in 11th place in the East. Tough decisions will have to be made within the coming weeks about who they should trade and who they should try to build around.
Spencer Dinwiddie, Dennis Smith Jr., and Lonnie Walker IV are all playing on expiring contracts and so are Nicolas Claxton and Royce O'Neale. We can also expect Ben Simmons's name to come up in trade rumors but there may not be many teams interested in acquiring his services.
However, the biggest decision for Nets general manager Sean Marks could revolve around Cam Thomas. Already proving that he is capable of being an elite-level scorer, Thomas has mostly been relegated to the bench despite putting up big scoring totals. He has already become the youngest player in NBA history to score 40 points in three consecutive games and has two 40-point performances this season.
Thomas has been criticized for his lack of defense but he is undersized for his position. In due time his defense may improve if he puts in the work but his ability to score is what allows him to stand out. Thomas can make the difficult shots and is a streaky volume shooter whenever he gets it going.
Should Cam Thomas be considered a foundational piece of the Brooklyn Nets' future?
An argument could be made that Thomas deserves to be a starter instead of coming off the bench because he would be more effective playing with the other starters. If he starts, he has an opportunity to earn more playing time and will have more chances to get into the flow of the game.
But if he is relegated to a bench role, he could still enter a game and demolish the opposing team's second units. Either way, the Nets have a logjam at the guard position, and in order for him to reach his true potential, someone has to be traded or the Nets could explore a trade for Thomas just to see what teams would be willing to offer for him. It would be hard to imagine the Nets parting ways with such a young and dynamic scorer but we have seen many shocking and unexpected moves at the trade deadline over the years.
It probably would be easier for the Nets to move Dinwiddie due to his expiring contract and the fact that Thomas could be inserted as a starter makes Dinwiddie expendable. Contenders will be in the market for players of Dinwiddie's caliber and the Nets could garner a nice return whether it's draft compensation or other young players. The Nets will either implode, continue to lose, and have major question marks heading into next season or they will turn their season around while Thomas continues to improve and emerges as one of the leaders of this team.
The Nets coaching staff should reevaluate how Thomas performs and give him more than the 28.6 minutes he is currently averaging. Allow him to develop chemistry and mesh with Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson and hopefully, they can become one of the best trios in the league. Thomas is obviously Brooklyn's most gifted and dynamic scoring threat and he has proven himself and deserves to start for the remainder of the season.
If the Nets decide to keep Thomas coming off the bench, the organization should consider trading him. Not only would they be cutting his growth and potential short by giving him a role off the bench but they would be denying this team the potential to be a better version of themselves. It would make sense for the Nets to trade him while his value is high and while he is healthy, especially if they plan on keeping him under wraps in a limited role.
The Nets also have zero draft picks in this year's draft and they could decide to use Thomas as leverage to see if they could acquire a first-round pick. Regardless of whether they trade Thomas or not, he appears to have a bright future in the NBA if given the right opportunity to prove his worth.