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Zach Lowe: If Nets ‘stink,’ expect them to buy out DeMarre Carroll

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In his latest podcast, Zach Lowe gets a little bit ahead of himself and the NBA season in talking about one aspect of the Nets prospects in 2018-19.

He thinks that if the Nets “stink,” they’re more likely to give DeMarre Carroll an out so he can join a contender. He also opines that Carroll would fit nicely with the Rockets. Here’s what he told ESPN colleague, Royce Young, on last week’s Lowe Post podcast.

“I don’t think the Nets are dying to buy out DeMarre Carroll, they like him, a great locker room guy for them last year. They also sold the idea when they acquired him of, ‘yes, we paid $31 million for a bad pick, which became the 29th pick, but we believe we can rehabilitate his trade value down the line and flip him for positive value down the line.’ I don’t think that is going to happen at this point. And I can see everyone [in Brooklyn] agreeing, ’hey we stink again because we haven’t had a draft pick in 17 years and you want to play for a contender, let’s make it happen.’”

That’s a bit of a change for Lowe who had previously said he liked the Nets chances of getting value (again) from Carroll. In addition to getting Dzanan Musa with the Raptors first rounder, the Nets also got Rodions Kurucs with a second rounder fromthat trade. And of course, Carroll had his best year, statistically, last season, with career highs across the board. He also led the Nets, at age 31, in minutes played at 29.9.

Indeed, it will be difficult for the Nets to get —IF they wanted to— trade value for Carroll, even a second rounder. He will make $15.4 million this season. Unless the Nets could get salaries to match (and not cut into their 2019 cap space stash), virtually every contender would enter luxury tax territory at the deadline if they took on Carroll. That usually the time for teams to dump contracts to get under the tax threshold, not add to the tax burden.

Carroll seems happy in Brooklyn. He’s a big fan of the performance team and coaching staff after they helped him reinvigorate his career, and he’s carved out a great role as mentor for the younger set, particularly D’Angelo Russell.

Lowe’s larger point, of course, is that the Nets are unlikely to be competitive this season. Whether that’s so will take a few months to work out. Nets brass have said they expect the team to be competitive and players are all talking playoffs ... and includes Carroll.