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Conserving cap space, Nets decline K.J. McDaniels option

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Brooklyn Nets v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Shams Charania of The Vertical reports that the Nets will not exercise their team option on K.J. McDaniels, making him a free agent.

If the Nets had exercised the option, the 23-year-old swingman would have made $3.5 million next year. A defensive specialist, McDaniels averaged 6.3 points and 3.6 rebounds for the Nets in 20 games after the Nets bought his contract for a reported $75,000.

The Nets are believed to be conserving as much cap space as possible for free agency moves, including possible offer sheets to restricted free agents, just as they did last season. The Nets tendered offer sheets to Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe in July and Donatas Motiejunas in December. All of which were matched.

There’s no indication that the Nets have changed their strategy on using offer sheets to RFA’s as a means of acquiring talent. There have been reports of Nets interest in Otto Porter of the Wizards, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of the Pistons and Joe Engels of the Jazz, among other RFA’s.

The Nets have the third largest cache of cap space this summer, about $34 million, depending on, among other things, how they act on their five remaining team options and whether they can move existing contracts, if that’s what they choose to do.

The Nets two transactions last week, the trade of Brook Lopez and the 27th pick for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov and the drafting of Jarrett Allen were basically a wash in terms of cap space.

The Nets will soon have to decide their other five team options: on Sean Kilpatrick, Quincy Acy, Archie Goodwin, Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris. All five, unlike McDaniels, have minimum contracts.

In theory, if by the end of the free agency process, McDaniels hasn’t found a new home and the Nets have an opening, he could be signed at less money.