Last summer, the Nets suped up the off-season by offering near max money to two restricted free agents, only to see their offers to Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe get matched by Miami and Portland. Later, in the season, the Nets did it again by offering Donatas Motiejunas a contract, but there again, the player’s original team, Houston in this case, matched.
“0-for-3” was our lead after the Rockets match on Motiejunas.
So will they continue down the RFA road? Adrian Wojnarowski didn’t sound like he was so sure Wednesday in a podcast with Bobby Marks on “The Vertical.” Or might they go for smaller deals, ones that won’t reach max levels?
“Brooklyn is the team that's wreaking havoc on the league,” Woj started. “They're forcing all these teams to overpay to keep their own players. They did it with Tyler Johnson. They did it with Allen Crabbe of Portland.”
“This summer you look at the potential restricted free agents. There are a couple of intriguing ones who might be worth throwing a big number at on an offer sheet. They think, 'Maybe we can get them.'
“Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in Detroit the shooting guard and Otto Porter small foward in Washington. I think, are at the top of (the list). I think Brooklyn will potentially be ... They have the space to go out and do it. They made a run at Crabbe last year, didn't get them. He and Caldwell-Pope play the same position. Does Detroit want to max out Caldwell-Pope? No, they do not. But are they willing to lose him for nothing.”
That, of course, is old news. But Woj and Marks also suggested that the Nets might opt for smaller deals. They speculated that rather than risk getting matched on big deals, they could look into RFA’s like Joe Ingles, the 6’8” swingman from Utah; Andre Roberson, the 6’7” defensive specialist from Oklahoma City; or Tony Snell, Milwaukee’s improving small forward.
Marks hinted Ingles could already be on the Nets radar.
“We talked about Brooklyn,” said the Nets longtime assistant GM. “I would not be surprised to see the Nets come in with an offer sheet for a guy like Joe Inglis (who) gets a pretty good number.
“Where will a guy like Andre Roberson wind up? Can Oklahoma City afford him He’s another restricted free agent. . That’s another team that could potentially go into the luxury tax.”
Woj and Marks suggested that the Nets and other teams willing to bid for restricted free agents might have an easier time of it because some many teams are edging closer to the luxury tax threshold of $121 million. Marks noted that owners may be unwilling to pay a big bill knowing it’s not going to get them much closer to a ring. Not with Golden State sitting there.
Marks said that if the Nets make max offers to Caldwell-Pope or Porter, the Pistons and Wizards would be at the threshold or over it.
Even a less-than-max offer to the 25-year-old Snell might make the Bucks ownership think twice about matching, Woj argued.
“One other restricted free agent I hear teams talk about is Tony Snell in Milwaukee,” Woj said. “He got out from under in Chicago, had a productive year, started to scratch the surface of his potential with the Bucks this year. I think shot over 40 (40.6 percent) from three. You saw him get more and more comfortable.”
Woj estimated Snell could command a four-year, $50 million contract.
“It is unclear to doubtful that team wants to pay the luxury tax,” Woj noted. “So maybe a team could pluck him.”
Marks noted that there are changes this year in restricted free agency. A team and an RFA can agree to a deal as early as July 1. But the new two-day matching period, down from three, won’t begin until July 7.
“Lets say, Brooklyn signs Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, maxes him out, signs him on the first (of July). The Pistons have five or six days to decide what they want to do. so there's a longer window there to get your house in order.”