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Sean Marks: ‘This is the team we’re planning on,’ BUT...

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In speaking with beat reporters at halftime of the Nets - Magic game at the Las Vegas Summer League, Sean Marks said the current roster is the one he’s planning on ... and that includes keeping Jeremy Lin.

“You look at the team now, that’s what we’ve got and that’s what we’re planning on. We’re planning on going into the season with that team,” he said.

On the other hand, Marks noted that if the Dwight Howard buyout gives him a bit of a cushion, he might explore other moves. Although the buyout is complete — and the Nets have requested waivers on Howard, the details of how much the big man gave up remained undisclosed in the hours after the game. The Nets had an estimated $6.6 million in cap space before the buyout.

Marks did hint that it could be on the light side. He noted that while in standard buyouts, a player will accept roughly two-thirds of what he’s owed, those of Howard’s “caliber” usually want more.

As for the trade’s effect on next year’s salary cap, losing Timofey Mozgov’s big contract for 2019-20 was a motivator, Marks noted.

“That was something that was in the back of our minds, whether it went down this [buyout] road or not,” Marks said. “Obviously, we’re here now, so creating cap space is definitely a priority for us.”

Marks downplayed the ability to sign two max free agents next off-season. It’s more about flexibility, he said.

“I don’t know about that. It depends on those individuals. We’ll worry about that when we get there,” he told the beat reporters. “Obviously it gives us an opportunity in which we can try and build a team another way, whether it’s through free agency and so forth. It just gives us flexibility moving forward.”

As for this off-season’s cap space, the Nets renounced their rights on three players Friday: Jahlil Okafor, Dante Cunningham and James Webb III, one of their two-way contracts. (Webb is playing in Las Vegas.) The timing of that move, combined with the buyout, would suggest the Nets want some flexibility should opportunities arise.

“We’ll figure out how much cap space we have, and when that’s fully determined then from there we’ll move forward with how we use it,” said Marks, speaking about this off-season. “We’ll use it strategically whether it’s on players or whether it’s on trades and acquisitions from other teams. So we’ll figure that out.”

Asked specifically about Lin’s role, Marks talked about the status of his roster going into the season.

Of course, the Nets roster is still in flux with the addition of their two draft picks, Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs and free agent Ed Davis as well as the departure of Nik Stauskas who signed with Portland and the now unlikely return of Okafor and Cunningham.

The re-signing of Harris, for $16 million over two years, has been the Nets big free agent move. In addition to signing Davis, the Nets have also guaranteed undrafted point guard Theo Pinson $50,000 and made Milton Doyle a qualifying offer as a two-way player.

Marks also spoke for the first time about the rationale behind signing Davis and re-signing Harris.

“There’s a fine line in terms of how valuable your space is as opposed to weighing the space and the fits you want to build with,” said Marks when asked about giving Harris a bigger contract that some may have expected.

“Joe is one of those guys that brings a lot of the intangibles to our team on and off the court. We’ve all been very impressed with Joe as a person and how he’s developed and how he continues to grow. He’ll be a part of our team. There was no apprehension on a multiyear deal with Joe.”

As for Davis, Marks said he likes the fit.

“He’s certainly a culture fit, the way he works,” said Marks. “Some of the intangibles he brings off the court that people don’t necessarily, that aren’t spoken about, what he does in the locker room and so forth. When you’re trying to create a culture, that’s really important. You’re trying to create a toughness, a grit. Ed brings all that.

“And then of course, on top of that is his play. We need an enforcer type. We need toughness, and Ed brings a lot of that to our group. He’s been around winning organizations so for him to come in and bring some of that expertise and experience will be great for our group and our younger guys.”

Regarding Lin and the “so-called” glut of guards, Marks also revealed that Lin has been participating in contact drills and that the team doesn’t necessarily see a crowded backcourt as a bad thing ... and that it’s not going to force the Nets to “rush” transactions.

“As we’ve seen before, it’s been handy to have a couple of extra point guards,” said Marks. “There’s absolutely no need for us to go through and rush to do any particular deals to solve the so-called glut at point guard or get a shooting forward. This is just how do we build this thing and hopefully not affect long-term, the long-term growth.”

Marks and Kenny Atkinson have long been pushing continuity as a critical element in their plan for the coming season. It would appear that without any major moves, the team will have nine or ten players returning.

Of course, last year, the Nets traded for DeMarre Carroll and two picks on July 9 and for Allen Crabbe on July 25. Could that happen again?

“I wouldn’t rule anything out,” Marks said. “I would just say we’re constantly weighing our options. I’ve used it before, we’re going to be strategic and see how it comes. The longer the process is drawn out and going into July, they’ll probably be better deals out there.”