Brooklyn’s new regime has been prepping a plan since they first arrived a year ago. They’ve made small, incremental and big moves that have altered the way people view the franchise. Now, we’re witnessing Sean Marks’ vision play out in his first real trade deadline and he’s done pretty well thus far.
So, what he’s got to work with on Thursday. It doesn’t appear that Marks is done. Bogdanovic and McCullough were just the beginning of what could be a domino effect... especially with guys left over from the last regime.
The story so far?
- Bojan Bogdanovic and sophomore Chris McCullough traded to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton and a 2017 first-round pick that currently sits in the 24th slot. Marks will waive Thornton, leaving the roster at 14… for now.
The assets: what’s left, what’s new?
- They Nets took on some dough with the deal, but they’re still $4 million under the salary cap floor, still $13.5 million under the cap. Moreover, according to Bobby Marks, the Nets cap space this summer will range between $29 million-$33 million. They can still take on a bad contract that’s packaged with a pick and/or asset, a classic salary dump.
That’s probably the most likely scenario before 3:00 p.m.
- It may not be the first overall pick (the way it should have been!), but Marks and the Nets have two first-round picks to work with in 2017. They can keep both and wait until the draft, simply stand pat and trust Marks and his scouts to pick the right guys. They could send one out in a bigger deal packaged with what they have on their roster.. They can bundle the two picks –likely in the mid-20’s – and go get a higher pick. They won’t get to the lottery but close.
Doubt the Nets do anything before June on the picks.
The assets: who’s left?
- Brook Lopez is obviously one of the top assets. He’s the leading scorer on the team (20.1 ppg) and he’s expanded his range. The Nets supposedly dropped their asking price for him, and his value certainly isn’t the same as it was a few years ago. Still, the initial asking price was a good start for negotiations. They wanted two first-round picks. Now it’s said to be only one first-round pick and one second-round pick. So, nine years of Lopez means nine years of trade rumors. Will this finally be the year? The Nets want to see what he and Lin are capable of together, but you never know what may come their way come 3:00pm.
Count Woj as one of those who think Lopez will be a Net Friday night in Denver, telling colleagues on The Vertical
“Brooklyn has one more real asset they can move, and that’s Brook Lopez. They’re not anywhere near a Brook Lopez deal, sources tell me. They’re glad to go forward with Lopez.”
As of Thursday morning, he’s unlikely to be moved, but...
- Trevor Booker is having the best season of his career, averaging 10.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Consider him another diamond in the rough that Marks found at two-years, $18 million. So why would the Nets give him up? He’s cheap and epitomizes what this franchise and the culture is all about. Booker, often seen in a suit after games, has plenty of movement in the business world. He’s a professional and he knows how to represent himself and the organization. Woj said on The Vertical Thursday night, he’s unlikely to garner much more than a second rounder.
He’s worth something but don’t expect to hear his name.
- With McCullough gone, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is the last pick from the Billy King regime, so you wonder if Marks and Atkinson have found their fit for Hollis-Jefferson going forward. Rondae fits all the things Marks and the Nets have asked for with good character, work ethic and a good defensive presence, BUT can the Nets afford to have someone who can’t shoot at one of the two primary shooting positions? Teams can use a guy like this and right now, while the Nets continue to try and find the right role for him. He’s played well at the power forward slot, but his inability become a legitimate offensive weapon takes a toll on his value a bit. And yet, he’s still only 22.
There’s interest and he’s the most likely to miss the team plane at 4 p.m., headed elsewhere.
- Sean Kilpatrick is somebody worth keeping an eye on. He was Marks’ first acquisition and he has turned to gold. Kilpatrick spent most of his time in the D-League before being called up, but came on with the offense-starved Nets and instantly fit in. His offensive skillset and work ethic fit right in with the offense. His defense is slacking, but he’s that perfect sparkplug off the bench that so many teams can use. It wouldn’t be surprising if teams are calling for him, but don’t think Marks will give up one of his guys so easily.
Maybe the easiest of the young players to move, but don’t expect much in return
- Caris LeVert has the highest trade value on the Nets. The rookie has shown off plenty of impressive talents and he’s only 22-years-old. He can play any position from the point to the power forward, which just barely explains his versatility on the court. He’s long and athletic and his jumper is starting to come along. He has good vision for a guy of his size and man, talk about a great player to have if you want to get the ball moving in transition. Unless something absolutely crazy comes the Nets way, it’s hard to see why they would move him. He fits the script of what Marks and Atkinson need going forward: promise.
Unless the Nets get a super ridiculous offer, he’s a Net for a long time.
- Isaiah Whitehead: First Brooklyn kid on the Nets. Taken in the second round, he’s become a first round talent. This is somebody the Nets feel they can groom. Whatever teams would offer probably would amount to as much as what they think Whitehead can be in the future. Let’s not forget: he was taken in the second round and he’s been ranked top-10 on the rookie scale throughout most of the season.
Highly unlikely to leave Brooklyn.
- There are other guys that can be moved, of course, namely veterans Randy Foye and Luis Scola, who are on expiring deals and could be attractive to contenders. Foye, with a $2.5 million cap hit, is the more likely. Scola, who makes $5 million, less so. They can be valuable veterans on a playoff-contending team. They can be sweeteners to a bigger deal, or stick around in Brooklyn and continue to get minutes behind the young guys, who they have mentored the whole season and are highly regarded by management.
More likely: the Nets offers them an opportunity to be waived (bought out?) and find a home with a contender while they bring in D-League talent for tryouts.
- The untouchable:
Needless to say Jeremy Lin appears untouchable. He’s barely played this season and if even he did, he’s Atkinson’s guy. He, like Booker, represents the Brooklyn Nets and what they’re all about.
Atkinson wants to see what he and Lopez and do together the final 26 games. Brook-Lin finally.
- The bottom line:
The final script won’t be written until 3 p.m. (or even March 1), but so far, so good, for Marks and his staff. They have done well with his first trade during deadline season. He was dealt a tough hand. However, slowly but surely, he’s finding more assets to build a foundation for the future. The loss of draft picks, particularly this year with a rich pool of college and international players, is frustrating. How good would have been to see Lonzo Ball in a Nets uniform? But it’s time to move on. What’s done is done.
Happy Trade Deadline Day!