Are they done?
When you've filled 15 spots and set a date for a press conference to introduce your new players, you're done. Done done? Well, you're never done done until Opening Night. There is always the possibility of a trade -- particularly when you have $20 million in cap space.
For the record, the Nets will hold their introductory press conference on Wednesday afternoon at HSS Training Center (a/k/a "The View") to be followed later that evening by a season ticket holder reception at Barclays Center. We will be at both, the former as bloggers extraordinaire, the latter as season ticket-holders with an attitude. Joining us at the reception will be a long-time Nets fan we've sat with for more than a decade name of Lin. If you don't think we're going to dine out on that coincidence...
Matt Moore with a surprising take on Nets
Matt Moore of CBS Sports and Hardwood Paroxysm provided a little shock on Twitter Saturday when he put the Nets above the Sixers in his (incomplete) Eastern Conference rankings. After all, Moore had been steadfastly negative about the Nets (and their old regime) throughout last season. And suggesting that the Nets could be anything other than the worst team in Christendom was evidence of heresy among the holy order of pundits (no caps ... not worthy)
Philly fans were not pleased. After their great off-season, adding Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid, the 76ers looked --at least to the denizens of South Philly-- like a championship team-in-waiting. Boston fans who can't seem to compose a tweet without the words "Nets picks" were suddenly struck by fear. Could their dream of a 1--for-30 pick swap be dashed.
We have curated (love that word, makes us feel important) the tweets and leave them here for your perusal.
Good God. Trying to figure out tiers in the East. 1. Cavs 2. Toronto-Boston 3. (TEN TEAMS) 14. Brooklyn 15. Sixers— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 16, 2016
The Nets are going to be sneaky fun next year. Bad, but sneaky fun. People are kind of asleep on them. https://t.co/Nm5RWI9XZ8— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 16, 2016
They can both be fun. Fun is not a binary proposition between the Sixers and Nets. https://t.co/lXSLYZbEIT— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 16, 2016
The Nets had a good offseason because they didn’t do anything stupid and did some "Hey, not bad!" things.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 16, 2016
I love the potential. Young teams don’t win games. Let me put it this way, I think Philly will be better, win fewer. https://t.co/njiq3vhviq— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 16, 2016
I think McCullough can play.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 16, 2016
I don’t think it’s irrational. They don’t have to be good to hurt the pick, just NOT WORST.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 16, 2016
(They could be worst) https://t.co/KqPX0U8xPh
I never had a thing against the Nets. Honestly, if they’d just gotten Wall in the lottery, everything changes. https://t.co/fD2U9pnYQ9— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 16, 2016
Where the Nets finish this season is likely to be polarizing even among Nets fans. Some superoptimists see them inching up and into the playoffs. Most think it's going to be bad --really bad-- but believe things are going in the right direction.
Moore's discussion is likely to be continued throughout the off-season and into the pre-season. What do we think? We don't have to make a real prediction until October, so we won't but it's nice to see there's the beginnings of a debate.
What might have been
The Nets missed out on Allen Crabbe and Tyler Johnson when Portland matched the Nets $75 million offer to Crabbe and Miami matched the Nets $50 million offer to Johnson. They were Plan A. Both wanted to play for the Nets and both have become very rich thanks to Sean Marks. it would have been interesting.
But they were not the only top free agents the Nets pursued. A review of social media around the NBA helped us put together this list of wudda-cudda-shudda's, players who had at least mild interest in Brooklyn...
--Marvin Williams, who re-signed with Charlotte in a four-year, $54 million deal. The Netswere reportedly in the mix till near the end;
--Dwight Powell, who re-signed with Dallas in a four- year, $37 million deal. The Nets considered offering him four years over $48 million;
--Jamal Crawford, who re-signed with the L.A. Clippers in a three-year, $42 million deal. We always thought Crawford used the Nets as leverage.
--Jared Dudley who signed with Phoenix in three-year, $30 million deal. The Nets reportedly offered him $18 million over two years, but he wanted the extra year, three years and $20 million. Not long after, the Nets signed Trevor Booker the same deal. He accepted.
--Sergio Rodriguez, who signed with Philadelphia in a one-year $8 million, deal. This one was confusing. One narrative had him accepting the Nets two-year offer, then after learning they were going with Lin, changed his mind.
Did the Nets dodge a bullet by not overpaying and wait till next year (as Brooklyn Dodger fans used to say)? Should we be satisfied with Plan B, combining veterans with youngsters and preserve all that cap space for next summer for some real free agents? Offering so much money for players like Johnson or Crabbe (or Powell and Bazemore) said as much as the team's strategy as it did as about filling roster space this season. There's an understanding of "the hand we were dealt" as Marks said, post-match. So let's go for it. Micky Arison doesn't like that we tried to "poach" Tyler Johnson? That's his problem. Paul Allen made his roster look like a Monopoly board? He's got the cash.
The players listed above, at least according to social media reports, had interest in the Nets, even if they were using it as leverage. There were others who would have liked the Nets to be interested, guys like Christian Wood and Lance Stephenson. The Nets did not reciprocate, however. Character is not just a buzzword for Markinson et al. It's a priority.
The generic alternatives
With the loss of Johnson and Crabbe, both 24, the Nets filled out the roster with three veterans (two South Americansand a Newark native) in 29-year-old Greivis Vasquez, 36-year-old Luis Scola, and 32-year-old Randy Foye, all on one-year deals. As long as Vasquez's ankle is healthy (Dr. Martin O'Malley did his surgery), and Scola doesn't suffer one of those mid-30's power forward collapses (see Najera, Eduardo; Murphy, Troy, et al), and Foye has something left, they're fine. We would have liked the Nets to use that 15th spot on a center, but Randy Foye is another good guy.
But we're more interested in the other signings made over the last few days. We've written ad infinitum about Anthony Bennett, but not that much about Joe Harris and Caris LeVert. Aged 23, 24 and 21, they are all cheap but like Vasquez, Foye and Scola, could be around for a while. Both Bennett and Harris have contracts that contain second years. Bennett's deal is a guaranteed vets minimum in the first year, $1.02 million, and a non-guaranteed $1.1 million in the second. Figuring out Harris deal is a bit trickier. Details haven't been released, but Eric Pincus thinks he's getting $980,000 this season and a non-guaranteed $1.5 million in the second. (A local TV reporter in Charlottesville, VA, where Harris played college ball, said this week that years are guaranteed.). LeVert, of course, is on a rookie contract with the first two years guaranteed.
It may be sour grapes after the matches, but there is a level of excitement. The Nets would like to think that just as Johnson (undrafted) and Crabbe (second round) developed in Miami and Portland, with their solid player development programs, the Nets can try to get more out of Bennett, Harris and LeVert. These guys are all bargains if they work out. None of their salaries will be greater than one and half percent of the salary cap over the next two years.
Harris hasn't gotten much attention, but the Nets front office likes him. He played mostly last year in Canton with the Cavs D-League affiliate. Trajan Langdon, who worked in the Cavs front office, and Mike Batiste, who was an assistant with the Charge, must have given their okay. Some in Cleveland will tell you that other than his foot injury, Harris development was handicapped by the Cavs desire to win now. Brooklyn will be his first opportunity to compete for a rotation spot. He may not be Kyle Korver of Doug McDermott, but he has the quick release and some nifty handles. Here's a highlight video from his rookie year when he got a chance to play in a blowout win...
LeVert, like Bennett, is someone we've devoted a lot of space to. Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks both love him. And he too will be cheap. If the Nets hold on to him for his full four-year rookie deal, they'll only have to pay him $7.5 million ... total.
If you have no draft picks, this is the way you have to go: trade for a pick here, find a discarded lottery player there; hope that your development program is a better fit for a third. Maybe one or two of them work out, you know like draft picks. (Yeah, we know we've said a lot of this before, but we ARE optimistic about the player development program ...and may be trying to convince ourselves.)
With three Nets in the Olympics -- Bojan Bogdanovic for Croatia, Luis Scola for Argentina and Greivis Vasquez for Venezuela -- there will be a lot of friendly games and then the real thing in Rio. It will fill our pages
Here's some country-by-country notes...
Argentina: Juan Pablo Vaulet will NOT be part of the Argentine national team. On Saturday, he was the last cut, but he will continue to train with the team in Las Vegas and hopefully see some action next weekend against Team USA. He has a minor back issue that could limit him in games against Nigeria Monday and Wednesday. It's not known if he will participate in Argentina's final match-ups in Technopolis, Argentina, vs. Lithuania on the 26th and Australia on the 27th or the Super Box in Cordoba on August 29th, 30th and August 1 vs. Croatia!
Luis Scola will carry the Argentine flag in the Parade of Nations on Opening Night.
Venezuela: Greivis Vasquez returned to Team Venezuela who's continuing a "friendly" tour of Europe. They're in Bilbao, Spain, this weekend and will play Spain July 23 and 25 in the cities of Madrid and Valladolid, respectively. No word yet on whether Vasquez will play in either game.
Croatia: The team is practicing starting Wednesday after a break following the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Italy. Bogdanovic had his break in Turkey cut short by the military coup in that country. The team flies to Argentina for its games vs. Scola & Co. a week from Tuesday.
Good Luck and stay safe.
We're grateful to all our viewers who have followed Nets news on NetsDaily. We've averaged better than 100,000 page views since June 30, the day before the start of free agency. In the previous 12 years. we've had three days of 100,000+ page views. Our biggest day was July 1, with 183,000 page views. We expect a dropoff now, but with all the introductions and the Olympic coverage, there will be plenty to discuss.