What's next for the Nets now that the Draft is done and they've brought in D’Angelo Russell?
Think opportunity. If a team needs to dump a bad contract, the Nets are willing to play. And if a free agent is available, no matter the position, they'll take a look. It's still early in the rebuild.
The bottom line on talent acquisition, Sean Marks said Monday is simple, “do your homework,” that is, be prepared when opportunities arise. That’s how he described looking at the Lakers cap situation and their needs before negotiating what was a high-end salary dump to acquire D’Angelo Russell.
And he told NetsDaily, there may be other, similar dumps out there for the Nets in the course of free agency which revs up this weekend.
“We all know the contracts that are around the league that teams may want to get off of, may need to get off of,” said Marks. “And how do we prepare ourselves, position ourselves for those.
“You position yourself for opportunities that may happen. Not only this one. There's plenty of these opportunities around the league. who knows what's going to happen in the next three weeks. We don't know,” he continued. “So I think it's us being strategic, being patient and hopefully capitalizing when we have the opportunity to do so.”
Marks, of course, did not mention names of players or teams —he can’t under league rules. On Tuesday, there were rumors that the Nets, along with six other teams, were interested in Warrior free agent Andre Iguodala.
ESPN Sources: How to weaken the Golden State Warriors? Andre Iguodala has become a targeted man. https://t.co/8dcXIUtdjk— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 27, 2017
Of course, that could be agent talk. Iguodala, 33, is likely to want a spot on a contender ... or a return to Golden State.
In addition, the Nets GM spoke about how they want as much cap flexibility as they can get, moving into free agency. He cited one move they did make, and another they didn’t in discussing flexibility.
Regarding his decision not to exercise a team option on K.J. McDaniels $3.5 million contract for next year, Marks said his thinking was all about flexibility.
“That thinking again was about having flexibility, having flexibility going into the next couple of weeks. We appreciate everything KJ's done for us. He was terrific around here.”
Then, there was the move they didn’t make. Although many expected the Nets to buy a second round pick with their $3.4 million in cash considerations, they ended the draft with that money intact. Could they use it this week to make a deal that would give them additional cap room?
“Yeah, I think that goes into having the flexibility again,” he said. “We just don’t want to buy a pick for the sake of buying a pick or trade a player for the sake of trading a player. If we believe as a group that this is the best direction for the franchise, we would have done it. They guys we wanted were already taken, weren't on the board and that's why we didn't do that. “
The Nets would have to make a move by Friday to take advantage of the cash considerations ... for two reasons. If the money isn’t used on an acquisition, it goes away. It’s either use it or lose it. And on Friday, the Nets will start to move on free agents. Teams can for example extend offer sheets to restricted free agents at midnight Saturday. They’ll need to know how much they’ll have going into those negotiations. The Nets also need to make decisions on their own free agents.
Marks was non-committal on going after RFA’s although others have reported Nets interest in Otto Porter, the Wizards small forward, or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Pistons free agent. The Nets could also go after players like Joe Ingles of the Jazz and Kelly Olynyk of the Celtics.
“We're going to keep all our things in our back pocket and we'll see what happens,” he said, “whether it's restricted free agents, free agency or whether it's capitalizing on some other trades that come up. We're focused on all of those things. We're not going to limit ourselves to one.”
As for positions the Nets might target, Marks said it’s too early in the rebuild to think that way.
“We've never looked at it like we have to have this particular position. I think we're still trying to get best available and talent acquisition,” he argued. “Kenny and the staff have done a great job in fitting guys together.
“You know how we value shooting and if we can get a shooting big, terrific. We've got guys now on our roster who can shoot from the outside. We'll sorely miss Brook's shooting, but we'll miss a lot of things about him.”
In other words, watch this space —and other teams— closely.