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NetsDaily Mailbag: Post (Most) Free Agency Edition

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Reed Wallach tries his hand at another Mail Bag. Much of what the Nets are doing remains a mystery but he tries to unravel what’s happening in response to fans questions.

The most of free agency is most certainly behind us, with only a handful of Restricted Free Agents left and the rest of the market pretty much washed up. The Nets are in an interesting position with a litany of guards on the roster, not a lot of bigs, and what could be nearly $20 million in cap space. I answered some questions about the offseason so far, what’s next, and as much else as I could get to.

“Do you see Marks making another move or holding on for the rest of the offseason?”

- Justin

It seems like Brooklyn is in a holding pattern until further notice. The cap bubble is about to burst like the one in Real Estate and the Nets are going to be one of the few teams in the league with ample cap space, which makes them prime candidate for a salary dump. Teams are going to try and open up cap space over the next year to prepare for a talented 2018 free agency. If the Nets want to take on a future asset such as a draft pick (or two) or a good young player (like D’Angelo Russell), they may hold the leverage in a deal.

That being said, I think a salary dump is more likely than the Nets signing a free agent with the remaining cap space. In my opinion, Greg Monroe makes a ton of sense for Brooklyn. He is on an expiring deal so he doesn’t compromise long-term cap space, helps out where the Nets need help down low, and the Nets can squeeze out a future asset from Milwaukee. Does a 2019 top 10 protected first round pick do the trick? The Bucks are likely contending for the next several years with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the roster, so it wouldn’t be a top pick, but it is a pick nonetheless.

Looking at the roster, it simply doesn’t feel finished to me. I have the feeling they need one more guy to go into the season, but I’m not sure who that guy is or where he comes from. I’m starting to follow the Carmelo Anthony situation because it seems that the big roadblock is that big contracts need to be dumped one way or another. The Nets are going to be the first call for any team trying to get rid of an ugly contract, so maybe they find their way into those negotiations.

“Do you think it is realistic that the Nets will make a big play for Nerlens Noel?”

- Steven

In a word, no. Noel has upside and may grow into a stud rim protector over the next year or two, but I don’t see the point in giving a big contract to a guy who has two left knee surgeries under his belt at the age of 23. I also see the Mavericks playing hard ball with Noel, and if a team were to come along and give him an offer sheet, the Mavs would match it for sure, tying up more money in a lost cause. One offer sheet is enough for me this year.

“My question is which Nets guard do you think will be off the team by next year”

- (not sure name) Dynasty

Archie Goodwin is the odd man out to me. Spencer Dinwiddie showed signs of being an above replacement level playe with his commendable performance in Vegas, so I think he is around for the long haul. Isaiah Whitehead is a little rough around the edges still, but he is off his rookie year and seems to be in good graces with the coaching staff. Caris LeVert is a bona fide stud. I’ll save my drooling over him for the season, which leaves Archie Goodwin on the outside looking in. Goodwin is entering his fifth season in the league, and at this point his upside looks capped out as an end of the bench weapon to bring some energy. He plays hard, but he doesn’t really have a role yet and I don’t see him developing all too much under a full season with the Nets.

I see Milton Doyle as a much more worthwhile investment for Brooklyn following his Summer League showing. Doyle showed a nifty handle and a capable jump shot. After four years at Loyola Chicago, Doyle is a mature player and has a much higher ceiling than that of Goodwin. I think Doyle makes the opening day roster before Goodwin does, and if Doyle doesn’t make the final roster, the Nets would be wise to give their second two-way deal to him and keep him in the system.

“Clarify what the first round lottery protected pick means on twitter for all the non smart people”

- John Cruz

A lottery-protected first round pick means that if the Raptors were to fall inside the lottery (not make the playoffs) they keep the pick. Basically, the Nets are rooting for Toronto to get into the postseason, and by the looks of it they shouldn’t be worried, but you never know. That was the arrangement in the Bojan Bogdanovic trade. The pick the Nets received was lottery-protected by the Wizards.

What if Toronto does in fact miss the playoffs? Great follow up question you are probably asking yourself. The pick has the same protection on it all the way through the 2023 draft, per RealGM. So, if Toronto misses the playoffs every year through the 2022-23 season — a highly unlikely scenario, the Nets will then get the Raptors 2023 and 2024 second round picks. It’s a very typical arrangement.

“What's the logic in keeping Quincy Acy at $1.7M? Can't the Nets sign a better FA for not much more money the way the market has gone.”

- Daniel

I’ve realized this summer that just because a team has money, the team doesn’t have to spend it. There is no point in getting money tied up in players that the Nets don’t have full fledged affection for.

Acy was very good when he was with the Nets for 32 games last season. He was a legitimate threat from three-point range, had an offensive rating of 113 per 100 possessions and his defense was decent. I like Acy on this one-year deal because he remains an attractive trade piece as a throw in if need be. It also makes him feel the need to prove himself once more, as he did at the end of last season.

He’s a workhorse and plays with a real motor, and I think that is something to fall back on as this is the rebuilding stages. I’m all for finding these kind of guys that are going to go out and play their hardest. I don’t see many free agent forwards that the Nets could get on a one-year, vets minimum deal who are going to play as hard as he does. And constant turnover, bringing in new guys, messes up the flow of an organization. I like the idea of bringing in similar role players to get some continuity, something the Nets have almost never had since moving to Brooklyn.

“What grade would you give the offseason so far?”

- Jonathan

B+. I’m wary to give it an A because this offseason, while great, shows how far away the Nets still are from being relevant. The Russell and Carroll trades were both terrific moves by the organization that are sure to get them back on the right track. Russell is a legitimate building block for Brooklyn as they continue on this rebuild while the Carroll trade gets them a veteran with a chip on his shoulder and a first round pick that the Nets didn’t have next June. The second rounder should be in the 30’s as well.

However, the Nets didn’t come up with zero free agent signings (yet). Maybe it was a good thing as this offseason didn’t have the deepest talent pool. Still, the Otto Porter signing and match process was a frustrating few days because it tied up money that Sean Marks and Co. may have been looking to use elsewhere. Porter would have been perfect for Brooklyn, but I digress.

Jarrett Allen was a solid, upside pick that fills a long-term need for Brooklyn, but who knows when he will be ready to actually contribute at this level? I’ll be hoping for a real return on the investment after two seasons coming off the bench. Anything before that would be awesome and be a huge development for the Nets.

It was a very good offseason for the Nets, but I’m not going to go crazy. Brooklyn is still far off the pace in terms of long-term outlooks, but they are flexible, and trending upwards. I’m really interested to see how this season goes not necessarily by wins and losses but how the team develops.

Any more questions? Email me at reedwallach33@gmail.com