So far, so good.
The Nets have gotten generally high marks for what they've done so far in free agency, with what pundits are calling the "biggest value signing" in Jeremy Lin and a big under-the-radar signing in Justin Hamilton. They did strike out on Kent Bazemore and Jared Dudley Friday night, but they still have around $40 million in cap space, which is probably the biggest cache in the league as free agency enters Day 2.
Now, it's likely the Nets will move on to a different strategy, that is overspending to snare a young player they think will be a big value at the end of his contract ... and the prime target may be Allen Crabbe, the 6'6" swingman who's a restricted free agent with the Blazers.
Marc Stein tweeted this on Friday night...
The Nets, league sources say, have weighed all day whether to sign Blazers restricted FA Allen Crabbe to an offer sheet. They're big fans— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 2, 2016
How much? Early estimates put the starting salary needed to acquire Crabbe at between $15 and $17 million. Portland can match, but will they? As our Anthony Parisi wrote, the Blazers willingness to match is questionable after they committed $75 million over four years to another swingman, Boston's Evan Turner. If the Nets tendered a four-year, $64 million offer sheet to Portland, would they match -- and commit $139 million to two swingmen? Not to mention Portland's interest in Pau Gasol. Three other teams, the Mavericks, 76ers and Crabbe's hometown Lakers might also offer Crabbe a big deal.
Still, rumors abound that the Blazers would match...
#NBA source: Even with Turner signing, don't be surprised if Blazers match offer for Crabbe. Luxury tax won't stop owner Paul Allen.— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers) July 2, 2016
Crabbe certainly fills a need. The Nets could use an athletic, hot shooting swingman who's just turned 24. He also can play some defense. As Ohm Youngmisuk tweeted in response to Stein...
Crabbe is the perfect type of player for Nets to try to rebuild with: young potential waiting for bigger opportunity https://t.co/PViDAguqak— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) July 2, 2016
Crabbe lives in California and from what we can tell, the Nets front office was in California on Thursday night at least, meeting with Lin in Palo Alto, his hometown. They were supposed to be working out Brandon Jennings on Friday in L.A. but we don't know whether that came off after the team signed their top point guard choice.
There are other things still hanging on Saturday morning. WIll the Nets, as rumored, also go after Tyler Johnson of the Heat, who's also a restricted free agent. His situation is complicated by the lack of clarity on Dywane Wayne's contract talks.
As we reported Friday night, the Nets have also been linked to Kris Humphries who played with them in both Brooklyn and New Jersey and a few others, including Jamal Crawford, Anthony Bennett and Jordan Hill. The Nets are in relatively good shape as the cap gets depleted around the league. With all that space, the Nets can facilitate trades for other teams by taking on contracts those teams need to dump to acquire bigger free agents, the kind of deal that brought them Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev two years ago.
Right now, the Nets have eight players under contract. In order of salary, that's Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin, Bojan Bogdanovic, Justin Hamilton, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert, Chris McCullough, Sean Kilpatrick and Isaiah Whitehead. They have tendered a qualifying offer to Markel Brown as well and given at least two of their summer league invites --Yogi Ferrell and Egidjius Mockevicius-- small guarantees.
There's a lot of room to maneuver ... and a lot of space to fill.