The Knicks and Nets both told players they're trying to buy a late 1st / early 2nd round pick.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 13, 2016
Sounds good, but is it really possible that the Nets (or the Knicks) could buy their way into the first round? Not likely and here's why: the rookie salary scale hasn't caught up to the TV rights-infused salary cap, making those four year rookie deals this season true bargains. For example, if a player taken at No. 29 or No. 30 is any good, he's perfect for a rebuilding effort. Neither would cost a team more than $6 million in salary over four years.
And in fact, teams have seen little value in selling first round picks for a while. No team has sold a first rounder since 2009 when the Knicks paid $3 million to the 76ers so they could take Toney Douglas.
Jonathan Givony offered his analysis of the economics on The Vertical, arguing that even second round picks are jumping in value ... citing the Nets and Knicks as teams that might have to shell out big bucks.
Second-round picks could once be had for pennies on the dollar, but those days are long gone, multiple NBA executives in Chicago told The Vertical. Second-round picks are now at such a premium that it's likely we'll see some sold on draft night for the maximum amount allowed, $3.4 million dollars. It's a creative way for big-market teams such as New York and Brooklyn to find their way into the draft..
Specifically, an NBA team cannot spend anymore than $3.4 million in cash between July 1 and June 30. In the past the Nets have combined cash with second round picks to get what they wanted, for example sending Minnesota $1.3 million and a 2014 second rounder in 2011 for the rights to Bojan Bogdanovic. who taken with the first pick of the second round. And last year, they sent two second rounders to Charlotte, along with $880,000, for the rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet. But other than the No. 55 pick this year, the Nets don't have any second round picks to trade until 2021.
In theory, who might want to dump a late first rounder this year? The 76ers have two late first rounders, at Nos. 24 and 26. The Raptors (No. 27) and Suns (No. 28) have extra picks late as well.
Bottom line, the Nets appear to be doing everything right in Chicago and Berlin (even scouting the Adidas Next Generation Tournament, also in Berlin this weekend.) But they remain hamstrung because of a lack of assets. Sean Marks and staff are going to have to be very creative.