In Zach Lowe’s latest piece about the direction of the Toronto Raptors, he hints just a bit at the strategy he thinks the Nets could take this off-season.
There should be a tanking window again next season. Philly hopes to make a leap. Brooklyn will chase veterans in free agency. The Lakers will dangle prospects for Paul George. The Suns, Wolves and Kings will try to win games.
Although it’s quite vague, it’s an interesting nugget heading into summer... and Lowe doesn’t just toss things out. The Nets are a young team looking to grow but management understands the importance of continuity. Thus it would come as no surprise if most of the team is back next season. Nothing set in stone, obviously, but the Nets have six players with non-guaranteed contracts for next season.
There will be room to improve in certain areas. But chasing veterans sounds like a surprise. Sean Marks has said he’s unlikely to go after big names because as he noted only last month, “You don’t want to go and sign free agents and then the next thing you know your payroll is capped out and you’re a 25-win team. We’re going to have to build this strategically, have patience with it.”
Still, we’ve all heard some rumblings about who they may chase. It appears their top priority is in Europe, Milos Teodosic, but they’ve also scouted other players, too. Names like Nicolo Melli and Edwin Jackson come to mind, but there are several others as well.
Then you’ve got restricted free agents such as Otto Porter Jr. and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who are likely to receive an offer from the Nets, if rumors are to be believed. Shabazz Muhammed’s name quietly popped up too. Of course, one of the bigger surprises in the rumor mill this season was George Hill, who Marks knows from his time with the Spurs.
Marks expressed his desire to improve one of the wing positions, telling Nets Magazine that the 3 ‘needs to be addressed.’
“I think we know the 3 position for us is certainly one that needs to addressed. I look at it too that we have some free agents of our own who we need to know what’s going to happen with them there first,” Marks said.
“Again, where we are in our life cycle its not where we can say, 'we're only missing this.' To be honest, we need to look at everybody. We're looking at the best players available. That's coming through the draft, that's coming through free agency.”
But he’s also said of restricted free agency: “you just roll the dice and see what happens. And that could be the way we go.”
One reason the Nets are likely looking for a 3 is that it would enable Caris LeVert to play shooting guard and even get some burn at point guard. As for veteran 3’s -- there are some intriguing names, such as Kyle Korver, J.J. Redick, Ersan Ilayasova – all who would fit in with the pace and space system and the culture. Korver and Kenny Atkinson have a good relationship from Atlanta. J.J. Redick has a $4 million (!) place in DUMBO! Problem is they are all north of 30.
All speculation of course, and there are plenty more names that you can add to this list. Who and how much they plan on offering will be seen. Regardless, it’s interesting to hear the Nets might chase after veteran free agents during a time of rebuild.
They’re keeping all options open with specific criteria for potential fits in Brooklyn.