Don't expect the Nets to spend anywhere near what they spent last off-season, a near NBA record $345 million, including contract commitments, buyouts, luxury taxes, etc. But do expect a lot of activity once the dust clears.
First thing to keep in mind is that the Nets' assets aren't limited to what failed to get them a player at the deadline: the now-proverbial HBAP or "Hump, Brooks and a pick." They have what might be called development assets.
They still have all seven first round picks going forward, one of only seven NBA teams who do. They have three second rounders, plus three young players --Kris Joseph, Tyshawn Taylor and Tornike Shengelia-- who were heavily scouted when they played, and played well, in the D-League. They still have those two Croatian-speaking gunners, Mirza Teletovic and Bojan Bogdanovic, and the tatooed Turk, Ilkan Karaman. Moreover, they still have $3 million in cash to spend on draft picks, which in a weak draft might get them a first rounder.
Bottom line: the Nets have development assets. What they do with them is their issue.They do have options.
Here's some detail:
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 the 2012-13 season. That's 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). Expect trade rumors on Hump to start up again within weeks. But what if the Nets don't like prospective offers? They could, in theory, use the stretch exception on him to reduce cap space. Under terms of the exception, Hump's $12 million could be stretched out ovr three years, dropping his 2013 cap hit to $4 million and getting them within range of getting under the "apron." If they were somehow able to do that, it would give them more options in terms of exceptions and sign-and-trade deals. It would not be easy.
There are expirings. 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 and since he was out of the rotation in the playoffs, the chances of him returning appear slim. Andray Blatche is unique. He will be an unrestricted free agent but he has the cushion of another $16 million in amnesty payments from the Wizards. More on that later. Kris Joseph has a non-guaranteed deal so he can be cut at any time until the first week of January.
Tyshawn Taylor and Toko Shengelia have two-year guarantees. So they'll be expiring next season. C.J. Watson has a two-year deal with a player option of $1.1 million 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 NetsDaily 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 here.
The Nets hold the rights to Bojan Bogdanovic, selected in the 2011 draft, and Ilkan Karaman, selected in the 2012 draft.
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.
Still, the Nets are "stressing" over the possibility of waiting another year for him, as one league official said. They know what they have in him and are willing to wait, just as the Spurs waited three years for Tiago Splitter.
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.
They had two that expired on March 15.
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 $3.18 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 $2.02 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.