It’s officially trade season aka silly season filled with rumors and reports, both good and bad. Don’t ask us to sort them out. They’ll get sorted it when the trades happen ... or they don’t.
Why is it now trade season? Because December 15 is when the number of players who can be traded jumps from 64 percent of the 450 or so NBA players to 84 percent. That makes putting together complicated trades a lot easier. Moreover, teams are now one-third of the way into the season. GMs, like Sean Marks, have a good idea of what’s working, what’s not and how to rectify things.
So what assets do the Nets have to play with? Not a lot.
—CAP SPACE: Surely, you jest. The Nets have none. They are deep in the luxury tax and Joe Tsai told NetsDaily in October he expects to pay more than $100 million in luxury taxes.
—PLAYERS: All the Nets other than Bruce Brown can be dealt at the moment. He can’t be traded till January 15. Also, he, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin must approve any trade. It’s about their Bird Rights. Leave it at that. No doubt, Kevin Durant and James Harden are off-limits. After that? Make an offer.
—DRAFT PICKS: The cupboard is pretty, pretty bare. No picks, first or second round, in 2022. The Nets also cannot trade first rounders in 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026 or 2027. Either they’re owed to the Rockets as part of the James Harden deal (2022, 2024 and 2026) or swaps (2023, 2025 and 2027) which because of the Stepien Rule can’t be traded. That leaves only the 2028 and 2029 firsts available. That’s a long way away and thus their value is limited.
In terms of second rounders, the Nets don’t have their own pick until 2026. They also have their own second in 2028 and 2029. Here’s the deal on the rest of them: the second rounder in 2023 may be swapped with the Hawks. The 2024 second is also tied up in a swap. The Nets 2025 pick is owed to the Hawks, but they could wind up with the Heat pick which is protected through the 37th pick. Bottom line: Not a lot to work with. (Details here.)
—TRADE EXCEPTIONS: The Nets have four, but one, a $118,000 number generated by the Jevon Carter for Landry Shamet and the 29th pick in 2021 is meaningless. The others have some potential. The Nets have three large ones that could be useful: an $11.5 million TPE generated by the Spencer Dinwiddie trade; a $6.3 million TPE generated by the DeAndre Jordan trade and a $3.6 million TPE generated by the Sekou Doumbouya trade. What’s their value? The Nets could, for example, trade a lower paid player (like Nic Claxton) for a higher paid player. Or the Nets could help other teams in complicated trades and perhaps acquiring a draft pick.
—DRAFT STASHES: The Nets have five stashes, three international and two domestic. The value of the three international stashes is limited. Nikola Milutinov, the 7-foot CSKA Moscow center, is the best of the lot. He’s 26 and was a first round pick of the Spurs who the Nets acquired in the Dinwiddie deal. He has NBA potential but 1) he is under contract through next season and 2) there’s no indication he wants to cross the Atlantic. The other two, 6’9” power forward Aaron White and 6’8” shooting guard Nemanja Dangubic were both taken in the second round and are not NBA quality. Also, White is 29, Dangubic 28. The two domestic stashes, both from the 2021 NBA Draft, might have some value equal to, say, a late second rounder. Marcus Zegarowski, the 6’2” Creighton shooting guard taken at No. 49, and RaiQuan Gray, the 6’8” power forward taken at No. 59, are playing for the Long Island Nets. Zegarowski is 23, Gray 22.
CASH CONSIDERATIONS: The Nets do not have any cash considerations. They sent the max — $5.78 million — to Detroit in the Jordan salary dump.
So not a lot of flexibility there. Still expect a lot of rumors and counter rumors. Ian Begley reported earlier Tuesday that the Nets and Mavs had discussed a Kyrie Irving-for-Kristaps Porzingis deal, only to have Marc Stein quote Mark Cuban as saying there were no such talks.