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Nets back in FA business: will they go for big?

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets should have access to all their remaining cap space Thursday. The Wizards delay in signing of Otto Porter by four days should have run its course and the $24.7 million in Nets cap space should finally be freed up.

The first move Thursday or Friday should be finalizing the reported trade between the Nets and Raptors, the one that will send Justin Hamilton to Toronto for DeMarre Carroll, a lottery protected first round pick and a high second rounder.

After that, will the Nets go big? Their roster, as we noted Wednesday, is unbalanced with nine (or ten if you count Rondae Hollis-Jefferson) guards and wings dominating the roster. The problem is that the best free agent bigs are all restricted free agents, limiting the Nets to yet another swing at an offer sheet or a sign-and-trade.

Fred Kerber takes a look Thursday at the imbalance and the possibilities, suggesting that the most likely target is Memphis power forward JaMychal Green, a 6’9” big who grew up in the Spurs system under then assistant GM Sean Marks.

Green, who made a little more than $2 million last year, could command more than $10 million in this market. The question is at what point would the Grizzlies, who have three contracts paying out $20 million or more this year, blanch and say, thanks but no thanks. Would they need to see an offer sheet or more than $8 million? $10 million? $12 million?

Kerber writes...

The Grizzlies gave Green an offer sheet at the start of free agency and both sides waited to see what other offers might present themselves. One league source put Green’s market worth at “$8 to $10 million” annually, admitting that was “on the high side,” but was what the market would bear...

“I would think they’ll match anything they feel is reasonable,” one general manager said. “Anything outrageous, probably no.”

One way to look at it, from the Grizzlies’ perspective: with $106 million on the books, Memphis is $13.2 million short of the tax line. Anything more and the Grizz have to play the luxury tax. Would the Nets go that high?

Beyond money, there is the question of how well Green, undrafted out of Alabama in 2012, would fit in the Nets system? He played 77 games, starting 75, for Memphis last season, averaging 8.9 points and 7.1 rebounds. He also shot 38.9 percent from deep but took fewer than two shots from deep per game.

“I don’t see him as a perfect fit for Brooklyn because he doesn’t have shooting range,” one “talent evaluator” told Kerber. “He’s athletic, a good defender, shot a little better than he did, but he’s not a stretch four.”

There are others out there: Nerlens Noel, the 6’11” rim protector who Dallas vows to keep; ex-Net Mason Plumlee, whose newfound passing skills and proven athleticism might prove enticing for the Nets; Nicola Mirotic of the Bulls, who is the best shooter in the group at 6’10”; and Alex Len, a legitimate 7-footer who has never matched the hype of being the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Kenny Atkinson, restrained by tampering rules and the Nets own closed-mouth culture, admits the imbalance but won’t talk about possibilities ... other than some internal movement.

“We’re still working through things. The roster is still morphing,” coach Kenny Atkinson said after the team’s summer league practice in Las Vegas on Wednesday. “But I also have to understand it might not be the perfect balance. I really can’t comment on it until we have that final group. Does that mean moving a three to a four?”

Like LeVert?

“You could move a three to a four. They can go back and forth. What did [Celtics coach] Brad Stevens say: ‘There are ballhandlers, there’s wings and then there’s bigs.’ It’s gotten that way,” Atkinson said. “We’re not even putting one, two, three, four, five up there on the white board anymore. It’s smalls, wings and bigs.”

Of course, Nets could just close up free agency without any other moves and conserve their cash for next July when few teams will have any money. We’ll know more later.

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Meanwhile, Marc J. Spears tweets that the Nets are among multiple teams interested in Shabazz Muhammed, another 6’6” swingman who’s an unrestricted free agent.

Spears later added the Magic to mix.