Whether they make a play for Carmelo Anthony or not, the Nets have accumulated a number of trade assets over the past two years, along with players. The team is heavy in draft picks, expiring contracts, cap space and, of course, with the richest (or second richest) owner, cash. Here’s a list of what the Nets have available:
The Nets have three players on expiring contracts totaling $16.3 million, with no team options, player options or guarantee for next season. The "true" expiring contracts, in descending order of size, are: Troy Murphy $11.96 million; Kris Humphries, $3.2 million; and Quinton Ross, $1.14 million. Because of NBA restrictions, Murphy cannot be traded for 60 days, unless it's in a one-for-one deal. Since he was traded from the Pacers to the Nets on August 11, he cannot be traded until October 11.
(There are similar restrictions on other players. The three free agents signed outright--Jordan Farmar ($3.75 million), Johan Petro ($3.25 million) and Travis Outlaw ($7.0 million)--cannot be traded until December 15. Anthony Morrow ($4 million), acquired in a sign and trade, cannot be traded until September 12, 60 days after the sign and trade with the Warriors. Ross can't traded until August 28, 60 days after he came to New Jersey from Washington.
The remainder of the team is either on rookie contracts--Brook Lopez ($2.41 million), Terrence Williams $2.213 million); Derrick Favors ($4.13 million) and Damion James ($1.16 million); multiple year deals--Devin Harris ($8.98 million); or non-guaranteed "make good" contracts--Zoubek, Uzoh (both $473,000) and May ($854,000).
The Nets have 10 picks over the next three years, six of their own and four acquired in trades. That’s more than any NBA team. Only one of the picks has protection, the Warriors’ 2012 first rounder and that protection is moderately light: 1 through 7 in 2012 and 2013 and 1 through 6 in 2014.
In 2011, the Nets have their own first round pick plus their own second round pick and the Warriors second round pick (unprotected) acquired in the revised Marcus Williams trade.
In 2012, the Nets have their own first round pick, the Warriors’ first round pick (protected 1 through 7), again acquired in the Marcus Williams trade; plus their own second round pick, the Heat's second round pick (unprotected), acquired along with Chris Quinn; and the Bulls' second round pick (unprotected) acquired from the Bucks in Chris Douglas-Roberts trade. Considering the improvements made by the Heat and Bulls this off-season, those two picks are likely to be among the least valuable.
In 2013 (and beyond), the Nets have their own first round pick and their own second round pick.
Regarding the Warriors' first rounder, should the Warriors get a top 7 pick in 2012, the Nets would have to wait until 2013 to exercise the pick, again with protections 1 through 7. Should the Warriors again get a top seven pick in 2013, the Nets would wait again, until 2014, when the pick would be protected 1 through 6. In the highly unlikely event that the Warriors pick is in the top six in 2014, the Nets would be given two unprotected second round picks in 2014 and 2016. (Why highly unlikely? In the past 15 years, since the draft was last reconfigured, only one team has had three consecutive years picking in the top seven: the Nets in 1999-2000, when their picks were #6, #1, and #7. It is entirely possible and ironic that the Nets could wind up with a better pick from the Marcus Williams deal than from the Kidd trade.)
The Nets have not traded one of their own first round picks since 1999, preferring to keep their picks and trade those acquired from other teams.
Trade exceptions only come into play when a team goes over the cap and that is unlikely for the Nets this season. Still, they picked up a potential TE worth $2.9 million in the Yi for Ross trade. It expires June 30. There are restrictions on their use...they can't be traded with a player for example...but they can be valuable. If the Nets wanted to trade a draft pick to--or swap picks with--a team in return for a player, they can use a trade exception to do so. Trade exceptions can also be used to grab a player off the waiver wire.
The Nets have thus far retained their Bird Rights to Jarvis Hayes, the only one of the seven free agents whose rights they did not renounce. The rights are small enough, at $2.4 million, they don't affect the Nets' salary cap situation and can be renounced at any time. They will expire whenever Hayes signs with an NBA team.
The Nets retain the rights to Christian Drejer taken in the second round in 2004. Don’t laugh. Draft rights have value. The Thunder traded the rights to an international player who was a second round pick in 2002, to the Jazz for Eric Maynor and Matt Harpring. Because the Thunder was significantly under the cap, it was able to take on Maynor and Harpring’s contracts for the draft rights of Peter Fehse, a 6’11" German player.
Teams can include up to $3 million per transaction to sweeten deals. Mikhail Prokhorov has already shown he's ready to do that. He okayed sending $3 million to Washington to complete the Yi-for-Ross deal.