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Now, that the trade deadline is past, let's take a look at what the Nets will take into the off-season.
First thing to keep in mind is that the Nets' assets aren't limited to what failed to get them Josh Smith: the now-proverbial HBAP or "Hump, Brooks and a pick." They still have seven first round picks and three second rounders, plus three rookies, two of whom --Tyshawn Taylor and Tornike Shengelia-- were heavily scouted when they blew away opponents in and scouts in their two tours in the D-League. They still have those two Croatian-speaking gunners, Mirza Teletovic and Bojan Bogdanovic, and the tatooed Turk, Ilkan Karaman. All of them have more value among GM's than among fans. With the exception of Teletovic, they probably have more value than they did at the start of the season
They still have $3 million in cash to spend on draft picks, which in a weak draft might get them a first rounder.
They also held on to two trade exceptions that can be used through March 15 to pick up players off waivers which could become valuable as they look to fill their playoff roster. They can be used to grab players (two) off waivers ... and an open roster spot they they can be dropped.
Bottom line: the Nets have development assets. What they do with them is their issue. Will P.J. Carlesimo play the rookies a bit more now? How about MarShon Brooks? And what will they do with the final roster spot? Use it on a veteran who can give them minutes off the bench in the playoffs or a younger player who they'd want to integrate into their system now in hopes of getting them to training camp next season? More likely the latter, but they have options.
They have none and are unlikely to have any for another three years. They went from $40+ million under the cap to $11.6 million over the luxury tax threshold in a matter of days back in July. After Andray Blatche contract became fully guaranteed in January, the Nets are at $83.1 million, meaning they will have to pay $12.9 million in taxes this season. It's the first time since 2003-04 that the Nets will have paid any luxury tax.
The Nets owe their current roster a grand total of $340.3 million over the next five years, counting 2012-13 which is the highest total in the NBA. And that doesn't count the $12 million still owed Travis Outlaw.
The big problem being so capped out for so long goes beyond the luxury taxes the Nets will have to pay, which Russian ownership seems to see as the cost of doing business, an investment. The Nets, for example, won't be able to accept any players sign-and-trade deals this summer, barring some extraordinary salary cutting...which is extremely unlikely. (The Nets can sign and trade their own free agents or accept players who are not .)
The big expiring contract this summer of course will be Kris Humphries, who will be paid $12 million but whose trade value could be as high as $15.1 million (salary x 125 percent + $100,000). There are others. Jerry Stackhouse's contract is up on June 30. Is it likely he'll be renewed for his 19th year in the league? Keith Bogans might be another story. He could get another offer. Andray Blatche is a bit different. He will be an unrestricted free agent but he has the cushion of another $16 million in amnesty payments. More on that later.
Tyshawn Taylor and plus veterans have two-year guarantees. So they'll be expiring next season. C.J. Watson has a two-year deal with a player option for next season.The rest of the roster is on a variety of other deals. Counting this year, Deron Williams has a five-year, $98.8 million contract with an early termination option in the fifth year; Brook Lopez has a four-year, $60.8 million deal with a player option in the fourth year; Gerald Wallace has a four-year, fully guaranteed $40 million deal; Mirza Teletovic has a three-year, fully guaranteed $9.8 million deal; Reggie Evans has a three-year, fully guaranteed $5.1 million dollar deal and MarShon Brooks remains on his rookie contract, getting $1.16 million this season and assuming the team picks up his option, $4.5 million over the next three years. Williams and Lopez have 15% trade kickers.
Blatche's situation is unique because of his amnesty situation. Blatche is making more than reported on salary websites, the result of a complicated NBA formula that somewhat penalizes teams that amnesty players while at the same time providing more money to the players themselves.The formula, provided here.Daily by a league source, also would seem to give an advantage to a team offering Blatche the mini-MLE or more this summer, when Blatche becomes an unrestricted free agent. All this becomes increasingly important as Blatche continues to play well and increases his value. For more, read
Bogdanovic, a 6'8" Croatian swingman, could arrive in the NBA for 2013-14, when he will be 24. His agent reportedly wants him in the NBA earlier rather than later. Bogdanovic's arrival depends on him taking care of a big buyout. Before the 2011 draft, he signed a three-year deal with Fenerbahce Ulker of Istanbul, because he felt loyal to the team's Croatian coach (who was then fired after his first year.) The contract has an "NBA out" in July 2013. It's very expensive. The buyout is 1.5 million euros or two million dollars, of which the Nets can pay only $570,000. The Nets had hoped they could work a deal with the Turkish club and get him here quicker, but it didn't work out.
As a second round pick, Bogdanovic can negotiate a contract outside the rookie minimums. Considering that he was the first pick of the second round (and would have certainly gone higher except for his deal with Fener), he's likely to want an initial contract with a first year salary of several million dollars to pay back his buyout as well as competitive salary. The Nets are likely to have only the mini-MLE of $3.1 million to pay him and other free agents ... including Blatche, if that's what he wants. He could be more valuable as a trade asset. Another team with more cap flexibility might have an easier time signing him, as we discussed here.
Karaman, a 6'10" Turkish power forward, has an uncertain arrival date. He's 22. The Nets have not publicly talked about his buyout situation although it's been reported that he, too, has 2013 buyout. Considering he was drafted at #57, he is not likely to get much of a contract. Jeff Schwartz, who represents Williams, Teletovic, Stackhouse and Taylor, also has Karaman as a U.S. client. Although the Nets surprised draftniks by taking him, Karaman has improved this year, making the pick look smart. He too would have to be paid out of the mini-MLE or accept the rookie minimum of a little less than $500,000 which is considerably less than what he's making in Turkey. What that means is he is unlikely to show up for a while.
The Nets have all their first round picks going forward, from 2013 through 2019, but none from other teams. On the other hand, they have no second round picks until 2018. Here are the details:
--In 2013, the Nets have their own first round pick but sent their second round pick to Minnesota along with a reported $1.5 million in cash for Bogdanovic on Draft Night in 2011.
--In 2014, the Nets have their own first round pick but sent their second round pick and their 2010 first round pick (Jujaun Johnson) to Boston for MarShon Brooks, also on Draft Night in 2011. The Hawks have the right to swap first round picks with the Nets, as part of the Joe Johnson deal. That reduces its value.
--In 2015, the Nets have their own first round pick, but sent their second round pick to Utah for Mehmet Okur. The Hawks have the right to swap first round picks with the Nets, as part of the Joe Johnson deal which reduces its value.
--In 2016, the Nets have their own first round pick, but agreed to swap second round picks with the Clippers in return for Reggie Evans. If the Clippers pick is between #31 and #55, they can swap it with the Nets pick. The pick can be traded if the other team is willing to assume the risk.
--In 2017, the Nets have their own first round pick, but sent their second round pick to Atlanta in the package for Joe Johnson.
--In 2018, the Nets have their own first and second round picks.
--In 2019, the Nets have their own first and second round picks.
Prior to the Deron Williams' trade, the Nets had not traded any of their own first round picks since 1999, preferring to keep their picks and trade those acquired from other teams. Under Billy King, they traded their own first rounders in 2011 and 2012 to acquire Williams and Gerald Wallace.
The Nets received two trade exceptions from the Gerald Wallace trade, a $3 million exception and a $1.3 million exception. Part of the larger TE --$1.62 million-- was used to sign Reggie Evans. That leaves $1.38 million from the first TE and the full $1.3 million on the second.
Both expire March 15, not at the deadline. That's where they could still come in handy. If a player is waived after March 1, he is ineligible to be included in the playoff roster of any team that signs him for the remainder of that season. If he is waived before or on March 1, the so-called "buyout deadline," they're eligible for a playoff roster. What often happens is that players on lottery team rosters ask to be waived so they can latch onto a playoff roster. The TE's have a small additional cushion of $100,000 if needed to grab a waived player. So if a player making less than $1.48 million is waived, the Nets can use a TE to claim him. The TE's can also be used as a development tool. If the Nets like someone cheap who's been waived, they claim him using a TE.
Mid-level and Low-level exceptions:
The Nets had a mini-MLE this year and used it to pay Teletovic. Next year the Nets are unlikely to have anything more. By going way over $74 million in salaries, the Nets can only use up to $3.09 million out of the MLE, thus the "mini-MLE." Also, teams over that figure cannot take advantage of the Bi-Annual Exception, which starts at $1.96 million. Nor can they accept players in sign-and-trades. They can send them out, but not take them in.
Although the Nets have the richest owner in the NBA, new restrictions on cash considerations limit how much Mikhail Prokhorov can spend in deals. Under the new CBA teams are limited to sending --or receiving-- $3 million in cash during the fiscal year, July 1 through June 30. Since the Nets hadn't paid out any cash since June 27,2011, they were able to buy second round picks in the 2012 draft, paying Portland $2 million for the rights to the #41 pick, Tyshawn Taylor, and paying Philadelphia $750,000 for the rights to the #57 pick, Toko Shengelia. They now have until June 30 of this year to spend another $3 million. Such cash considerations can be used to sweeten a trade or purchase a player's rights but the Nets would prefer to hold on to the money and use it on Draft Night.
Since he bought the team, Prokhorov has spent about $11.75 million in cash: $3 million in the Yi Jianlian salary dump; $3 million to facilitate the Deron Williams trade; $1.5 million to buy the rights to Bojan Bogdanovic and the $2.75 millionto buy the rights to Taylor and Shengelia. During that period, no owner paid out more. James Dolan of the Knicks is second.