One of the under-the-radar stories of the off-season is how much the Nets realllly like Isaiah Whitehead.
The first Brooklynite to sign with the Nets was was given high praise the night of the draft, with Sean Marks citing Whitehead's "tenacity, his professionalism ... For us he embodies what Brooklyn grit is about."
Then, a few days later, the Nets introduced him at the Nets Store in Coney Island. More praise, this time from Kenny Atkinson. "Isaiah [Whitehead] represents everything we're looking for in a player; high character, great integrity and a great competitor."
But it's not just praise and marketing. The Nets put up a lot of money to get him. How much became known Wednesday when Basketball Insiders revealed what each NBA team shelled out last year in cash considerations. It turnes out the Nets sent $3 million, along with the 55th pick, to the Jazz in return for their pick at No. 42. The Nets had only $3.4 million to spend.
It was the most money the Nets had ever paid for a draft pick, first or second round. The most they had paid previously for a second rounder was $2 million in 2012 when they bought the 41st pick for $2 million so they could take Tyshawn Taylor.
The Nets also gave Whitehead a contract that's the equivalent of a late first rounder -- two years guaranteed at more than $1 million and two team option years after that ... or about $4.5 million over four. As a second rounder, they didn't have to give him anything. Or anything guaranteed.
Why so much? Multiple sources tell us the Nets had the Seton Hall sophomore at No. 18 in their mock draft. They like him. So why not?