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Nets willing to use all their cap space ...or not

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview with NBA TV Sunday, Sean Marks sure sounded like he was in negotiations, maybe even final negotiations, with a player likely to command the rest of the Nets cap space.

“I hate to be vague, but if the right deal comes along that uses all of our cap space, we could jump at it,” Marks said. “If it doesn’t and we take this cap space into the season, I’m excited about that. Just having that flexibility is nice.”

Of course speculation about the negotiations centers around Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who has long been on the Nets radar, first as a restricted free agent and now after the Pistons renounced him, as an unrestricted free agent.

Caldwell-Pope, a 6’6” swingman whose defense is at least as appealing as his offense, turned down a five-year, $80 million offer from Detroit last season in hopes of doing better this summer. But like a lot of free agents -- George Hill and Bojan Bogdanovic come to mind, he’s likely to be disappointed with what he’ll have to settle for.

After the DeMarre Carroll deal, the Nets have around $17 million left in cap space. It’s uncertain how much Marks wants to offer Caldwell-Pope. And he wasn’t saying.

“I’d like to think we’re trying to keep our hand on the pulse and see what happens. We all like having the space we have right now, and we’ll see what comes across our way. If the right deals come across, we’ll certainly look at them,” he said.

And despite the plethora of guards on the Nets, Marks once again said his free agent decisions are guided not by position but by talent.

“I look at ‘how do we add talent?’ ” said Marks, who swapped Justin Hamilton in the Carroll deal. “Not just veteran leadership. Any time we can add a piece of talent and our team can really benefit from it, that’s what we’re looking to do.”

As for restricted free agency, Marks said the Wizards decision to match on Otto Porter, following three similar matches last year, will not deter him from going the RFA route again.

“Never say never,” Marks said with a smile. There are a number of RFA’s still out there, including JaMychal Green and Jonathon Simmons, both linked at one point or another with the Nets.

And if the Nets decide to move forward without another big move, they’re likely to be the league leader in cap space next season when as many as half the teams could have to pay the luxury tax.