No one at 168 39th Street in Brooklyn is talking, but there’s a whole lot of speculation out there about what the Nets should do ... and how other moves across the NBA could affect them.
Here’s a sampling...
—Stephen A. Smith speculates the Nets could be interested in going for Clint Capela or Julius Randle in free agency, perhaps a bit far-fetched.
—Brian Lewis thinks the Nets are more interested in Mario Hezonja than his teammate Aaron Gordon ... and yeah, Randle makes some sense, too, as long as it doesn’t screw up the summer of 2019, when the Nets have their own first round pick and up to $70 million in cap space.
—Bobby Marks for the umpteenth time suggested the Nets highest priority should be “find a new home for Jeremy Lin” to free up the logjam in the backcourt and maybe save some cap space.
All those rumors, of course, pale in comparison to what’s going on with LeBron James, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. The Lakers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst, are desperately looking for pieces to offer the Spurs for Leonard, hoping that in turn will entice James as he ponders his player option. James must decide by Friday whether to leave Cleveland.
Smith, on ESPN this morning, talked about the Nets possibilities...
“Expect the Brooklyn Nets... it’s quite possible they may make an offer for Clint Capela, right? They drafted D’Andre Ayton. They don’t need Clint Capela the way they once did since they will now revolve around Ayton and Booker. As a result, Clint Capela, who was expecting a max offer from Phoenix, that’s not likely to happen. Houston is hoping for a hometown discount even though they’re going to have to pay that man. Now, Brooklyn, they might look at a Clint Capela or they might look at a Julius Randle, who’s a restricted free agent, remember. They can force the Lakers to match that money if they don’t want to lose Julius Randle.”
Sounds far-fetched, at least as it regards Capela. Capela would require the Nets to cut salary dramatically, even if they get Dwight Howard to give back $8 million in a buyout. Moreover, the Nets are committed to Jarrett Allen who more than one pundit —and Nets staffer— has compared to a young Capela. Playing the two of them might be difficult.
As for Randle, that would be more doable as long as other pieces fall into place. The Nets have, on four occasions, tendered an offer sheet to a restricted free agent, each time getting matched. The grand total, a staggering quarter BILLION dollars. They know the match game.
Moreover, the Lakers are prioritizing their pursuit of James, hoping to acquire Leonard in a trade or Paul George in free agency ... although PG looks less and less likely. If they can acquire either —or have to wait on LBJ— the Nets could finally get their man.
Lewis spoke to Aaron Gordon, also a restricted free agent, Tuesday night the premiere of “Uncle Drew.” He said he hopes to be back in Orlando ... and with a max contract. That would mean an initial salary of $25 million.
“Hopefully we just get in wrapped up with Orlando. That would be fantastic. “Yeah, that would be great. That’d be great.”
Asked if he would entertain other offers, Gordon told Lewis, “Hopefully not... But we’ll see how it goes; whatever Orlando wants to do. As a restricted free agent, I have complete trust in the regime. So it’s going to go how it’s going to go.”
The Post writer also suggested a more logical candidate for the Nets, Gordon’s teammate, Mario Hezonja, the 6’8” 23-year-old unrestricted free agent. Hezonja has been more linked to the Kings than Nets, however. Lewis wrote that Brooklyn “definitely” has interest in the Croatian. And he notes, the Nets would have to weigh that move with retaining that cache of cap space.
As for Randle, Lewis noted that while they may have interest in Randle, he’d require a move to clear cap space (like dealing DeMarre Carroll or Jeremy Lin).
Enter Bobby Marks. As he has for months, the former Nets assistant GM has suggested the Nets “find a new home” for Lin, who will make $12.6 million this season ... but is still recovering from a ruptured patella tendon, suffered on Opening Night of last season.
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.
Twice in the last week, Bobby Marks’ colleague, Zach Lowe, suggested the Nets dispatch Lin to Phoenix which is in desperate need of a starting point guard. On a Friday podcast with Windhorst, he was direct...
“If I were the Nets, I would call them and say, ‘We have Jeremy Lin, perfect placeholder point guard. Give us Dragan Bender and salary filler.”
Then again, Wednesday, he suggested the same thing to Kevin Arnovitz, adding Jared Dudley’s name to the mix.
A deal like that would, as Bobby Marks noted, free up the logjam at the guard positions for the Nets ... and possibly add more cap space.
That’s it for now. The way things are going, it will all be outdated by the morning or earlier.