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Salary dumps taking center stage?

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

As teams try to find ways to pry open some cap space for big acquisitions in free agency or trades —or just to save on luxury taxes, the Nets are among the teams getting calls about salary dumps, according to various reports.

At this point in free agency, the Nets still have about $34 million in space, depending on what they do with team options or trades of their own. Only the Hawks have anything close, about $30 million. The Suns and Pacers also have more than $20 million.

The Nets of course have already played this game with the Lakers, taking on Timofey Mozgov’s contract, with its $48 million still owed, to acquire D’Angelo Russell, the price L.A. had to pay for past profligacy. Brook Lopez’s expiring deal went to Los Angeles in the exchange.

There are a number of teams looking for help. As Bobby Marks (not Sean) and Zach Lowe noted on Lowe’s podcast Monday, Denver is looking to dump Kenneth Faried’s contract so it can bid for George Hill. Faried, the Newark product, is owed $26.7 million over two. Darrell Arthur is also a candidate.

Bobby Marks also said that before the Rockets used some cap management magic to acquire Chris Paul last week, teams were demanding two first rounders to take on former Net Ryan Anderson, who’s owed $60 million over three.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, the issue is getting below luxury tax line. Josh Lewenberg, who covers the Raptors for 1050 Radio, tweeted the team is engaged with a number of teams.

The easiest way to do that is dump Demarre Caroll’s contract —$30.2 million over two— along with perhaps a pick, but as Lowe and Marks said Monday and Adrian Wojnarowski noted Saturday, a first rounder in the mid- to late- 20’s, where a Raptor pick would likely land, seems inadequate.

Another Toronto writer suggested a bigger deal might be in the works, reporting Toronto is offering around a package of players.

Valanciunas, a 7-footer with an old style game, is owed nearly $50 million over three including a $17.6 million player option in the third year. Joseph, on the other hand, is seen as underpaid. making $7.6 million next season with a player option worth nearly $8 million in 2018-19. Sean Marks worked with Joseph in San Antonio.

For the Nets, taking on a salary dump would not only add big bucks in the out years of a rebuild, but would also eliminate the possibility of making a big splash in this year’s free agency. Taking on Valanciunas and Joseph, for example, would wipe out $23.9 million in Nets cap space, give them a one-year rental on Joseph and three years of eight-figure salaries for Valanciunas. No Otto Porter, no Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Bobby Marks also opined that the Nets are unlikely to give KCP a max deal and offered that the Nets shouldn’t “waste the paperwork” on making a max bid for Porter, saying Washington will match anything.