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Nets not planning anything ‘crazy’ on extension for D’Angelo Russell

2018 NBA Summer League - Las Vegas - Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

At the beginning of last week, Sean Marks was asked about whether his front office was planning anything major as free agency was running down.

“For now we’re going to see how this group plays together, how it all unfolds,” Marks said on Tuesday. “But — again, I’m not going to rule out anything — as we stand now, this is the group and we have no plans to make any crazy changes, whether that’s an extension or signing or trade anyone else. But things happen quickly.”

The Nets did make two moves later in the week —agreeing to sign Treveon Graham of the Hornets and trading for Jared Dudley and a second rounder— but they didn’t qualify as “crazy” and as Brian Lewis reports, they have no plans on any extension either, most prominently D’Angelo Russell.

There’ve been no talks about an extension, Lewis writes. The Nets simply want to wait-and-see how things work out in the 2018-19 season. The Nets could, if they want, change their minds. They have until the season begins in October to extend DLo up to five years and a max of $155 million. That’s what Russell’s good friend, Devin Booker, and the Nuggets Nikola Jokic, got this month. Most likely, they’ll offer him a qualifying offer and be ready to talk next summer when he’ll be a restricted free agent.

Why no talks? As Lewis notes, Marks isn’t touching his precious 2019 cap space, which will be among the league’s biggest and could permit the Nets to sign two max players (under certain circumstances) or make a big trade. Other than those on rookie contracts, only Joe Harris has guaranteed money — $8 million — on the books for 2019-20.

That doesn’t mean the team has lost any love for DLo. The reverse is true. They appreciate the hard work — and leadership — he’s been bringing all summer, up early most days to work with coaches and the performance team, mentoring Dzanan Musa, who’s been appreciative of what DLo the big brother has done.

So they’re in a wait-and-see mode. There’s some concern inside about his knees. Over his three years in the NBA, he’s missed an escalating number of games, from two his rookie year to 18 in his second year, then 34 (and arthroscopic surgery) last year. He has been working on building up his lower body strength this summer.

Similarly, the Nets are waiting on Spencer Dinwiddie. The Nets can’t talk to him about an extension —at least officially— until December 8, the second anniversary of his very team-friendly three-year deal. He will be eligible for a contract as large as $44 million over four years. They two sides can always defer until next July.

And a member of the 2015 Draft class, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson can also be extended. (Bobby Marks of ESPN has suggested that might a wise move.)

In the meantime, the Nets still have some housekeeping to do. They still haven’t signed Harris, Graham or Ed Davis to outside-the-cap deals. Once they do, then they’ll have to decide on their two open two-way contracts and camp invites. According to reports, Theo Pinson and Tyler Davis, both of whom played in the Summer League, have been tapped for two of the three spots.