The Killer B's' Weapons Cache

The details remain uncertain and may for a while. The resolution on big systems issues, which will most impact team's assets, have yet to be revealed. There are, as always, "B-list" issues, that have to be worked out as well. 

Still, using what we know (and what we've heard), we've thrown together a compendium of the Nets assets Billy King and Bobby Marks will have to work withl when free agency begins in earnest (and that includes trades) on December 9.  We're not guaranteeing it's complete, just that it's a reasonable guide.

Cap Space:

The Nets finished the season about $870,000 over the cap after trading for Deron Williams and signing Gaines but more than $10 million under the luxury tax threshold. With the cap still set at $58 million and the luxury tax threshold at $70 million, and an amnesty for Travis Outlaw, the Nets should be $22.5 to $23 million under the cap.  That number includes cap holds of nearly $500,000 for each roster spot under 12, as required under the old CBA. It does not include the $6.4 million cap hold for Kris Humphries would need to be renounced before the Nets would get all that space to use.

The amount of cap space should put the Nets in the first rank of NBA teams, with only the Pacers, Kings and Nuggets with less, before decisions are made on amnesty.  The Wizards will drop below all of them should they, as expected, waive Rashard Lewis under the amnesty clause.

The players still under contract as of the CBA deal are Deron Williams, $16.9 million; Travis Outlaw, $$7.0 million; Anthony Morrow, $4.0 million; Jordan Farmar, $4.0 million; Johan Petro, $3.25 million; Brook Lopez, $3.1 million; Damion James, $1.2 million; MarShon Brooks, $954,000 -- rookie scale remains the same; Sundiata Gaines, $884,000 and Jordan Williams, $473,000.  Plus you need to still factor in Stephen Graham who is currently on the roster at $1.1 million.

Graham's contract situation deserves special mention. The Nets have a team option to re-sign Graham for 2011-12. It expires the day before the season opens, presumably Christmas Eve. This makes his contract, while small, an attractive piece in a larger trade concluded before the season begins. Its value can be added to a trade but the receiving team can simply waive him and save his salary. The contract originally required the Nets to make the decision on the option by July 5, but was recently extended.

Brandan Wright, in the last year of his rookie contract, is a restricted free agent until the Nets renounce his cap hold. Sasha Vujacic, who signed with Efes Anadolu, and Mario West, who signed with Tezenis Verona, do not have NBA "outs" in their European contracts.

Most mentioned free agent targets: Tyson Chandler, Nene Hilario, Tayshaun Prince, Andrei Kirilenko, Caron Butler and Jamal Crawford.

Expiring contracts:

Williams of course can opt out at the end of 2011-02 and become a free agent, sign an extension, or play out his contract through 2012-13. Farmar also has a player option at the end of the season. The only true expiring contract is Gaines and assuming he gets only a one-year deal, Jordan Williams.

Again, the way the new CBA is structured, Williams will be able to make more money with the Nets, about $25 million, than he will anywhere else.

Draft rights:

The Nets hold the rights to Bojan Bogdanovic, selected in the 2011 draft. He is not expected to join the team until 2012-13, at the earliest..  As a second round pick, he can negotiate a contract beyond the rookie minimum. It's uncertain whether new CBA will permit teams to provide more than the current $500,000 to buyout packages for overseas players.

Draft picks:

The Nets have five picks over the next three years, three of their own two acquired in trades, including the Rockets' 2012 first rounder obtained in the Terrence Williams/Sasha Vujacic deal. The Rockets' 2012 pick is lottery-protected pick.Only two other teams have two first round picks in 2012 and in each case, their picks are protected as well.

Here are the details:

In 2012, the Nets have their own first round pick; the Rockets' first round pick (lottery-protected), acquired in the Terrence Williams trade; and the Heat's second round pick (unprotected), acquired along with Chris Quinn. Only two other teams have two first round picks in the 2012 draft which is viewed as one of the strongest in years.

In 2013 (and beyond), the Nets have their own first round pick.

In 2015 (and beyond) the Nets have their own second round picks, having sent their 2012 second rounder to the Warriors in the Brandan Wright trade; their 2013 second rounder (plus cash) to the Timberwolves in the Bojan Bogdanovic trade and their 2014 second rounder to the Celtics in the MarShon Brooks trade.

Regarding protections:

--The Rockets' 2012 first rounder. The pick is lottery protected (1-14) through 2016. If the Rockets pick falls in the lottery in 2012, the pick rolls over each year, again through 2016.  In 2017, it would become a second round pick.

Until the Deron Williams' trade, the Nets had not traded one of their own first round picks since 1999, preferring to keep their picks and trade those acquired from other teams. (The last two first round picks the Nets traded turned into Matt Harpring and Wally Szczerbiak.)

Trade exception:

--an estimated $1.3 million exception acquired in the Deron Williams trade...if such exceptions exist in the new CBA.  It expires at the trade deadline in 2012.  There are (were) restrictions on its use ...it 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 if he makes less than the value of the TE plus $100,000.  The status of TE's after the new CBA remains murky.

Mid-level and Low-level exceptions:

Assuming the Nets go over the cap and assuming reports on the mid-level and low-level excaptions are accurate, they will have an MLE of $5 million over four years. The two year LLE remains a mystery.

Bottom line?

Nets are the only NBA team that has a superstar, $20 million in cap space and two first round picks in the 2012 Draft, which is expected to be among the best in a long time.

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