ESPN’s Bobby Marks is offering his ideas to each of the NBA’s 30 teams and he’s starting with the Brooklyn Nets. For Marks, of course, the Nets are different from the 29 other teams he’s looking at. He worked for the Nets, in New Jersey and Brooklyn, for 20 years.
Marks’ prescription for the Nets starts with a bitter pill for many Nets fans: “Find a new home for Jeremy Lin.” That’s easier said than done, of course. By season’s end, Lin will have missed more than 120 games over his first two seasons (on a three-year deal.) And he turns 30 this summer. Marks thinks it’s a numbers game.
Lin has played in only 37 games because of a left hamstring injury in 2016-17 and rupturing his right patellar tendon in the first game this season. After trading for a point guard of the future in D’Angelo Russell, plus the emergence of Spencer Dinwiddie, Lin is the odd man out.
In general, Marks thinks the Nets and GM Sean Marks (no relation) should take a conservative approach. Don’t blow all your cap space on one player, not now anyway.
Unless there is a home for Lin without taking back salary, Brooklyn will be operating with a projected $11-13 million in cap space. The Nets should not be afraid to roll over cap space until the summer of 2019, when Lin and DeMarre Carroll come off the books. The Nets could have up to $25 million in cap room in 2019 if they take a conservative approach this July.
He also thinks the Nets should consider one more salary dump, as long as they get picks —first round picks— back.
They could also be a landing spot for a team looking to dump salary, such as the Los Angeles Lakers. Even though the Luol Deng contract continues to be an albatross, history has shown that no contract is untradable if the right incentive is attached. In this case, Brooklyn would need multiple first-round picks to swing a deal.
On the other hand, he thinks the Nets should hang on to Timofey Mozgov, who’ll they owe $32.7 million over the next two years.
Trading Mozgov would come at a cost for Brooklyn. Even if the Nets explored stretching the remaining salary over the next five seasons, the $6.5 million annual cap hit combined with the money ($5.5 million) owed to Deron Williams would have the Nets with $12 million in dead money. For a team not in win-now mode, letting the remaining Mozgov contract sit on the books is not a hindrance.
One area where he thinks Brooklyn should be aggressive is in retaining Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who was the last first round pick of the Billy King - Bobby Marks - Frank Zanin era.
The Nets should not let Hollis-Jefferson enter free agency in 2019. Yes, they will be protected by his restricted status, but Hollis-Jefferson is the type of modern forward teams look to acquire -- one who can guard up to four positions and produce on the offensive end (high-level midrange game), and he is still only 23 years old.
How much does he think is a reasonable sum for RHJ? He thinks, “a four-year, $44 million extension with $1 million of unlikely (but achievable) bonuses and a starting salary of $10 million in 2019-20.”
We’ll consider it.
- What moves can and should the Nets make in the offseason? - Bobby Marks - ESPN Insider