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NetsDaily Off-Season Report No. 13

Brooklyn Nets

This one will be short and sweet.  After waiting up Saturday night for a decision that never came, we're a bit tired and even more cranky.  So what happened last night?  It appears that since both offer sheets were signed Thursday, one just after midnight, one just before, they will both come due three full days later, at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. That's not how some pundits and experts thought it worked.  But that's how it does work. So see you on Twitter at midnight.

Sean Marks plays hard ball

If you want a sense of how Sean Marks operates, just take a look at the way he and his staff structured the Allen Crabbe offer sheet.  Albert Nahmad, self-professed NBA cap "enthusiast laid it out in a series of tweets Sunday morning.

And Nahman doesn't even mention that some of the money would be front-loaded, that the deal is structured so that on signing, Crabbe will get a big chunk of cash.

This is not how teams normally operate. There is a gentleman's agreement on how far to go. The "poison pill" offer the Nets gave Tyler Johnson is the first since 2011 when Daryl Morey successfully acquired Amer Osik and Jeremy Lin. In fact, those are the ONLY times it's been done. Morey was not popular with his counterparts, but he got the guys he wanted.

Similarly, teams offer unbalanced deals to restricted free agents in hopes of getting the player's current team to surrender, but the Crabbe offer is a master stroke of the genre. Pile it on. It surely reminds Nets fans of a certain age how Kiki Vandeweghe, then Denver's GM, front-loaded the Nuggets offer to Kenyon Martin in 2004.  If the Nets had matched, they would have had to transfer more than $20 million in cash to KMart's bank account upon signing.  Now, Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen is not Bruce Ratner, who at that point was not cash-rich. Allen could, if he wanted to, afford it.  But in recent years, Allen has been conservative in his stewardship of Portland's finances.

It shows that Marks, like his mentors in San Antonio, is willing to play hard ball to get the Nets out of their rut.  Let's hope it's as successful.

How we know the Nets like Isaiah Whitehead

Under the CBA, second round picks are at the mercy of the team that drafts them. They can be signed to a non-guaranteed deal, a partially guaranteed deal, a fully guaranteed deal. And if they are international and already have a contract overseas, all a team has to do is decide every September 10 whether to retain their rights.

But the Nets feel they got a bargain on the Seton Hall product. On their internal draft, they had him mid-first round. They were happy to trade their 55th pick to the Jazz so they could move up to No. 42 and take him there.

So, they've decided to treat him like a first rounder, tweets Zach Braziller of the Post, who's covered Whitehead since he played for Lincoln High School in Coney Island.

Braziller doesn't say what "late first round money" means, but late first rounders normally get about a million dollars in their rookie year.  If that's the case, then the Nets have less than the estimated $6.5 million left in cap space, assuming Allen Crabbe and Tyler Johnson become full-fledged Nets Sunday night. Second rounders normally get about $500,000, the rookie minimum.

By comparison, Markel Brown, taken at No. 44 (but No. 22 on the Nets internal mock draft) got a two-year deal with escalating guarantees in 2014.  Tyshawn Taylor, taken at No. 42, signed a two-year contract worth the rookie minimum after the Nets bought his rights in the 2012 NBA Draft. The Nets bought the 41st overall pick for $2 million which was nearly double the amount they’ve actually guaranteed him, the rookie minimum over two years.

Once he got over a case of the nerves in the first half Saturday, the 6'4" Whitehead played confidently afer the break.  He had only one assist, but ran the team well and finished the game with 10 points to go along with three steals, three blocks and a timely three-pointer.  He did have seven turnovers.

Is he a point guard?  Kenny Atkinson says he is, likes his ability to distribute. Sean Marks says he's a combo guard and Whitehead told the media on Wednesday that he's been working out at both backcourt positions, saying he's only played one year at point in his career, that he was a shooting guard at Lincoln and his first year at Seton Hall.

Who else is out there?

We have to stop every couple of minutes while writing this to make sure that events haven't overtaken what we think is reality.  The Nets have that $6 million in cap space sitting there, around $21 million if the Blazers match on Crabbe, $23 million if the Heat match on Johnson and $33 million if both match.

Roster math will also start to play a role after tonight. If Crabbe and Johnson become Nets at the stroke of midnight, then the Nets will have 12 guaranteed contracts.  It's reasonable to assume the last spots will go to bigs.  There are a few out there. Jared Sullinger is a free agent, unrestricted, after the Celtics house cleaning yesterday. Jordan Hill is also still available.

We would expect that sometime after midnight tonight, after they learn how much money and how many roster spots they have, that they will make some final offers.

Congratulations to Big Shot Bojan

The Olympics open in Rio de Janiero in a little less than a month and when the Parade of Nations makes its way around the Olympic Stadium opening night, at least one Net will be walking proudly behind his country's flag.  Bojan Bogdanovic shot Croatia into the Olympics Saturday at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Turin, Italy. He hit the three-point dagger with 1:14 left, then calmly made four free throws (to go 12 out of 13) to seal it.

Dario Saric, who announced post-game that he will be playing in Philly next season, was the tournament's MVP, playing his normal, great all-around game. But it was Bogdanovic who supplied the points, a lot of them.  Bogdanovic averaged 24.2 points over four games. That's a nice number, but when taken in the context of his team's output, it's even more extraordinary. Croatia only averaged 70.5 points per game, meaning Bogdanovic supplied a little more than a third of his country's points.

Afterwards, there was wild celebrating in Turin, where the game was played, and in Zagreb, the Croatian capital. Bogdnanovic was not reticent about taking part, posting this.

" Ova ekipa blesava luda ova ekipa ima Muda" #sretnanovagodina #elbabo #cacaseruga #idemouriolagano

A video posted by Bojan Bogdanovic (@44bojan) on

The win has to be particularly sweet for the 27-year-old. Last summer, playing in the FIBA European Championships, Bogdanovic disappointed, slowed by both a sprained ankle and a concussion. The team finished sixth, meaning no automatic bid to the Olympics. A lot of the Croatian basketball community blamed him and said he was time for him to step aside and let Saric and Mario Hezonja of the Magic take his place.

But Croatia was invited the the qualifying tournament, where 12 teams competed for three spots. Croatia got placed in the Turin draw and few thought they had a chance against the home team, Italy, and Greece.  In fact, Croatia lost to Italy in the first game, meaning the remaining three games were all win-or-go-home.  And they did, giving Croatia and Bogdanovic redemption.

The only other Net connection to the Olympics is tenuous. Juan Pablo Vaulet, the 20-year-old Nets stash, is training with the Argentine national team and it's looking like he could make the final cut.  He's being mentored by Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola.  Vaulet flies to Las Vegas on Tuesday and will likely get some minutes in the three "friendly" games Argentina has scheduled against Nigeria on July 18 and 20 and vs. Team USA on July 22.

Of course, the Nets could sign an international player whose team is already in the Olympics.  Have to wait and see.

Jeremy Lin, social media and fun

In an Instagram post Saturday, Jeremy Lin put up an image of him and his friend, Ryan Higa, sitting courtside.

No, Ryan Higa doesn't have a real job with the Nets, but he and Lin have worked together on social media, particularly YouTube. As anyone who follows Lin knows, he is prolific on social media ... ALL social media ... but it's his YouTube efforts that caught our attention this week as we try to get caught up on all aspects of LinSanity. That's where Higa fits in, a good example of how Lin has made himself ubiquitous on the web.

Higa is one of the most popular and viewed YouTube stars, showing deft a comic touch and an Asian-American sensibility. His videos regularly get millions of views. Lin has noted Higa helped him set up his YouTube presence "a longggg time ago." Here's one the two did way back in 2011, pre-LinSanity,


Higa's YouTube experience no doubt informed some of Lin's own YouTube efforts like this one, "Undercover Trainers." he did with adidas last year.

And this one about fitting into the NBA, which has a cameo by another well-known YouTube star.

Like we said when he signed, Jeremy Lin is fun. It also shows a smart business sense, combining his talents (and visibility) with others' expertise. Should translate to the court, too.

The Nets say they don't know who Higa is, and we assume that since there was an "LOL" in the message, it's, well, just fun. Maybe next week, we do Twitter or Instagram or MySpace. We know he has an account.

Final Note

Stock up on Red Bull.  The Nets are not done.