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Marks: We will use our cap space as a tool

New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

In discussing how the Nets will move forward now that they have been thwarted (again) in their pursuit of a restricted free agent, in this case Donatas Motiejunas, Sean Marks told reporters that the team’s cache of cap space, currently second biggest in the NBA, as a “tool.”

The Nets will have their first opportunity to use that cap space —about $18.6 million, just short of the Nuggets league-leading cache— in 10 days when trade season opens. Teams can trade prior to December 15, but with 175 of this summer’s free agents finally joining the mix, opportunities for deals increase dramatically.

“The teams with potential cap space shrink and shrink and shrink,” said Marks. “So, it’s not like last year when there were a couple dozen teams that could offer big salaries. It’s shrinking as it goes. There’s no secret out there now. Every team knows we’ve got plenty of cash to spend and maneuver around. We’ll just be strategic in how we do it.

The Nets of course could also wait till the summer to make use of the space.

“Just like the rest of the league, we’re planning ahead, whether it’s for this year or for two years down the road.”

While “spend” is easy enough to understand, “maneuver” may need some explanation. What it usually means is taking on big contracts in lopsided deals ... acquire draft picks as well. As has been noted many times, the Nets don’t control their own first round pick until 2019, their own second rounder until 2021.

it’s the model Sam Hinkie, the now deposed 76ers GM used to build up his draft pick cupboard, taking on big contracts in return for picks or young players.

Marks also said the organization’s failure to sign three restricted free agents will not deter the team from pursuing RFA’s —who are usually younger players.

“It’s definitely a tool that we have in our toolbox here,’’ Marks said. “The fact that we have cap space, and the cards have fallen the way they have, we’ll obviously continue to try and be as aggressive and creative as we can in building this team; and if that means going through restricted free agency, that’ll be the path we go through.”

In addition to Motiejunas, the Nets tendered offer sheets this summer to Tyler Johnson of the Heat ($50 million) and Allen Crabbe of the Blazers ($70 million.). In both cases, the players’ teams matched.