The Brooklyn Nets need all the help they can get. And that means adding players in free agency. And Allen Crabbe, speaking for himself and presumably others on the team, says he’s willing to help recruit players to Brooklyn.
“Oh yeah. Whatever I can do, just getting guys on board and looking at the vision that Sean Marks and coach (Kenny) Atkinson have for this organization moving forward, I think guys will buy in,” he said with confidence. “These guys, they’ve come from winning organizations: San Antonio, and coach Kenny was with Atlanta with the 60-win team. They know winning and they’re doing it the right way.”
At 23-48 this season with 11 games left, the Nets are poised for a third consecutive year of fewer than 30 wins, potentially by a wide margin.
The Nets will be among seven NBA teams going into the Draft with cap space for next year. About 12 to 15 of the rest of the league’s teams will be over the luxury tax threshold, pundits believe. How much will the Nets have to spend?
According to Keith J. Smith of RealGM, the Nets are likely to have somewhere between $14.2 million and $16.6 million to play with come July 1. That of course depends on a number of factors - what they do with free agents, Joe Harris, Jahlil Okafor, Quincy Acy, Nik Stauskas, and Dante Cunningham and whether they exercise Isaiah Whitehead’s $1.54 million team option. They also have a $1.36 million first round draft pick cap hold.
Still, it’s enough to make a critical pick-up or two ... and with so little money floating around, $14 million to $16 million will buy you a lot more this July than it did two years ago. Crabbe acknowledged that the Nets free agency ambitions may not land a LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but he’ll help execute whatever plan is in place.
“Like they said, they’re not trying to go hit the home run and get Kevin Durant or somebody,” he said, previewing his free agent pitch. “They’re doing it the right way with guys who are buying in and want to get better and who’s going to play hard each and every night. So I think guys will be interested just knowing how we run things over here.”
Such recruiting does help. Brook Lopez helped recruit Jeremy Lin two years ago and pitched Crabbe and Tyler Johnson before they signed Brooklyn offer sheets.
The Nets do have a young core that includes Crabbe, Jarrett Allen, D’Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie (assuming they’re all still around), a big city market, and a top-of-the-line arena and training center. Not to mention Marks and Atkinson’s growing reps as GM and head coach.
Who’s on the list? No one is saying, but expect they’ll look at the usual suspects, presumably bigs of all sizes like Derrick Favors, Mario Hezonja, and Julius Randle (who’s restricted).
Don’t put a lot of faith of going overseas, though. Most of the top players there are unlikely to sacrifice their high salaries and superstar status for a chance with a developing team. Those guys, if they come over at all, are more likely to wind up with a contender.