The Nets didn’t add a superstar or even a player who’s likely, barring some surprise, to crack the starting line-up. They signed only one contract that’s longer than two years ... and that went to their lowest paid player, rookie Rodions Kurucs. They didn’t extend anyone either.
But Bleacher Report in its end-of-summer rankings, gave the Nets an ‘A’ for their off-season, a grade they handed out to only four teams: Brooklyn, Golden State, Indiana and Oklahoma City. (The grades only apply to what took place after the Draft.)
How come? Here’s Grant Hughes rationale...
Joe Harris (two years, $16 million), Ed Davis (one year, $4.4 million), Treveon Graham (two years, $3.2 million) and Shabazz Napier (two years, $3.8 million) aren’t household names, but all four are rotation-caliber players who’ll help the Nets shoot, rebound and run a functional offense.
Still hampered by a lack of draft assets, Brooklyn again spent the offseason absorbing unwanted contracts with picks attached. That the Nets reeled in so many distressed assets—Dwight Howard, Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur—while also mindfully adding talent through free agency speaks to the resourceful, well-orchestrated approach general manager Sean Marks has had no choice but to adopt.
Working at a disadvantage from the moment he took over, Marks added legitimate talent this offseason while preserving what looks to be the most 2019 cap space in the league. Finally armed with their own first-rounder and flush with cash, Brooklyn is poised for a rebirth.
In other words, they filled their needs better than most.
Sean Marks was asked about the Nets success in the off-season during Wednesday’s conference calls with season ticket-holders.
“I think with our goals that we set forth from our basketball operations standpoint, I think we achieved what we will walk out of summer with,” Marks told Ryan Ruocco. “We can always debrief and have done something better, could have gone about it a different way --that’s part of the business here-- but at the end of the day, something I am proud of is how the group was able to pivot a draft and a free agency that can go in may directions.”
At this point, it appears the big adds of the summer were the increases in cap space next summer and draft picks in general. The Nets added four picks, a first in 2019, two seconds in 2020 and another second in 2021.
The rankings were tough on a number of active teams this summer, with the Lakers only getting a C because of their almost comic signings of marginal players and the Wizards only a C- minus despite of (or because of) their signing of Dwight Howard after the Nets bought him out.
- NBA Free-Agency Report Cards for Every Team - Grant Hughes - Bleacher Report