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Bobby Marks: Brooklyn Nets stay flexible, likely to be active in trade market

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Bobby Marks takes an extended look at the Nets, both for this year and in future and thinks the Nets are looking at  an active trade season this year and more big free agent risks next summer.

The key, says the former Nets assistant GM, is that after the Nets lost out on Allen Crabbe and Tyler Johnson, they decided not to go for broke and fill the roster with big deals.

"Often teams with salary cap space who miss out on free agents will deviate from their initial plan and make rash decisions," writes Bobby Marks. "Brooklyn, however, showed restraint and kept flexibility after the offer sheets on Johnson and Crabbe were matched. Although the Nets had $40 million-plus in cap space, Brooklyn went the one-year route with veterans Scola, Vasquez and Foye."

As a result, the Yahoo Sports analyst suggests the Nets could be an active team starting in mid-December when players signed in the off-season can be dealt for the first time.

"The excited feeling that many teams had the first few weeks in July will become a distant memory when the regular season begins in November, " argues Bobby Marks. "The Nets, with cap flexibility and expiring contracts, could serve the role of facilitator for teams that have buyers’ remorse as the season moves along.

What that could mean is that Sean Marks will look to acquire picks and/or young players in return for taking on contracts other teams want to dump.  With $18 million in cap space, the Nets will have plenty of room to be the third team in deals.

One example of how that could work: The Nets were able to acquire Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev in a three-way deal with Boston and Cleveland in 2014, when the Cavs were trying to clear cap space for LeBron James return. All the Nets gave up were draft rights to two European players who will never make the NBA.The Celtics got a draft pick and Tyler Zeller for a second round pick.

As for next year, Bobby Marks thinks Sean Marks (absolutely no relation) also played it smart by signing players to one year deals. They could have one of the biggest cap space stashes next summer ... and may very well go the restricted free agent route again.

"The Nets once again will have cap space next summer," writes Bobby Marks. "However unlike this past July when the cap spike saw 27 teams with flexibility, Brooklyn next summer will be in the minority as a team with ample cap space. Brooklyn could have $40 million in room with seven players under contract, and the free-agent cap hold of Bogdanovic."

Indeed, a quick check of the Basketball Insiders salary information shows that 22 teams will be at or over the $94.1 million cap for this season, including three that could wind up paying the luxury tax: the Cavaliers, Clippers and Trail Blazers.

Bottom line for Bobby Marks on the RFA moves: "Although the Nets’ plan fell short when Miami and Portland matched the lucrative offer sheets for Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe, respectively, Brooklyn sent a message early in free agency on the type of players that would fit its mold in the future."