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Free agency moves begin as Nets renounce Nik Stauskas

Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

It’s not as big as LeBron James opting out of his $35.6 million player option with the Cavs, but the Nets have begun making moves that will expand their cap space for this year.

As Mike Scotto first reported on Twitter, the Nets have renounced Nik Staukas $5.1 million qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent and giving them some extra cap space. The move was expected.

Albert Namad, the Miami-based capologist, said the Nets are likely to renounce all their rights to Stauskas to preserve space.

Stauskas was included in the December 2017 trade that brought Jahlil Okafor and the Knicks 2019 second rounder to the Nets for Trevor Booker. He shot 40 percent from 3-point range this season. He played in 41 games, averaged 4.4 points in 12.8 minutes.

The 6’6” Michigan product scored 22 points in his Brooklyn debut on December. 15, hitting 6-of-9 overall and going 5-for-7 from 3-point range setting a Nets record for most three’s in a debut.

The Nets like Stauskas work ethic and character and it would be only mildly surprising if he returned, but at a much lower salary. What about Stauskas as a Joe Harris replacement if Harris departs? As it turns out, Stauskas and Harris have the same agent, Mark Bartlestein, who thinks it may not be an either-or proposition.

“Not necessarily,” Bartelstein told Brian Lewis, adding that Stauskas’ return to the Nets isn’t dependent upon Harris leaving.

“I know [general manager] Sean [Marks] and the organization in general likes Nik a lot,” Bartelstein added. “We’ll see how things play out over the next two days. We’ll be keeping the lines of communication open for the next few days. I know the Nets like Nik a lot. We’ll see how the roster shapes up.”

Brooklyn has other decisions it needs to make this weekend, including a qualifying offer for Okafor and whether to renounce their rights to several players, all on vets minimum deals, as well as Randy Foye, whose cap hold is $3 million.

The Nets did agree to retain Milton Doyle as a two-way player.