As of Friday morning, the Brooklyn Nets are a normal NBA team again. They have all their first rounders going forward for the first time in six years ... plus an additional pick. They have second rounders galore and they have between $50 and $70 million in cap space.
The Curse of Billy King won’t end for a long time ... until Jayson Tatum’s Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony, but King’s successor, Sean Marks, has erased much of what King and the team’s ownership did and did it with eight surprising moves, not all of which were popular.
Here’s a summary...
February 25, 2016 - A week after taking the job as GM, Marks buys out Joe Johnson’s contract, returning $3 million. By waiving Johnson, the Nets opened up a roster spot for the D-League’s leading scorer, Sean Kilpatrick, his first free agent signing, three days later.
June 23, 2016 - Nets trade Thaddeus Young to Indiana for the rights to the Pacers’ 20th pick in the Draft that night, which they used to take Caris LeVert, who spent most of his Michigan career in casts. The Nets also picked up a second rounder that only conveys if the Pacers fall out of the playoffs. If that doesn’t happen, the Nets automatically get the pick in 2023. The Nets also trade up to take Isaiah Whitehead, the first native Brooklyn Net in the second round.
February 22, 2017 -- Nets trade Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough to Washington for Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton and the Wizards’ lottery protected 2017 Draft pick, which becomes Jarrett Allen. Thornton is waived immediately. By the summer, Bogdanovic signs with Indiana and Nicholson is dumped by the Nets.
June 20, 2017 —Two days before the Draft, the Nets agree to trade Brook Lopez and a first round pick which becomes Kyle Kuzma to the Lakers for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov.
July 9, 2017 — The Nets trade Justin Hamilton to Toronto for DeMarre Carroll, the Raptors lottery-protected first round pick and a second rounder originally owned by the Lakers. The picks become Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs. Lopez plays one year in L.A. and Mozgov one year in Brooklyn. Hamilton is immediately bought out and stretched by the Raptors.
July 25, 2017 — The Nets trade Andrew Nicholson, acquired five months earlier, to Portland for Allen Crabbe, who the Nets had tried to sign a year earlier. Nicholson is immediately bought out stretched by the Blazers.
June 22, 2018 — The Nets trade Timofey Mozgov to Charlotte for Dwight Howard, the draft rights to Hamidou Diallo, their own second round pick in 2021 and $5 million in cash. The Nets immediately move to waive and buyout Howard’s contract.
July 13, 2018 — The Nets trade Jeremy Lin and a 2025 second round pick to Atlanta for Portland’s second round pick in 2020, the right to swap picks in 2023 and the draft rights of Isaia Cordinier, a 6’5” French shooting guard who’s 21 years old. That enables the Nets to trade Isaiah Whitehead to Denver for Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, 1-12 protected first round pick in 2019 and a 2020 second round pick. Whitehead is to be released by Denver and the Nets as we write this are talking to Faried’s representatives about their plans for the 6’8” power forward.
For the most part, Marks have used cap space to pursue salary dumps, returning draft picks. Now, as we said, Brooklyn and their GM can move forward and with two first round picks in the 2019 Draft and all that cap space, the path to respectability and contention looks a lot clearer.