Despite being deep into the luxury tax, the Brooklyn Nets enter the offseason as the rare title favorite with still a decent amount of flexibility to improve. Sean Marks, as always, will be strategic about improving this roster and not let emotions impact his decision making. As Marks said during today’s season ending presser, “Inevitably, there’s going to be change here.”
Marks later added, “I’ll be honest, I’m excited about where this can go.”
Brooklyn has some options to tweak the team this summer. Here’s the rundown.
2021-2022 Salary Situation
Guaranteed Salaries: $154,585,644
Non-Guaranteed Salaries: $1,762,796
Total Salary: $156,348,440
Luxury Tax Space: $19,742,440 over the tax ($44,162,933 payment)
Exceptions: Taxpayer Mid-Level (Mini-MLE): $5,890,000
Spencer Dinwiddie (Projection: multi-year deal in the $17M to $20M annual range).
- Unrestricted FA. Bird Rights.
- Nets can go over the cap to re-sign Dinwiddie to a deal worth up to the max. However, the luxury tax would balloon even further. Is Joe Tsai willing to pay up?
1. Re-sign Dinwiddie — could look to trade later.
2. Watch Dinwiddie leave for nothing.
3. Cooperate with Dinwiddie for a sign & trade with an over the cap team. (seems likeliest). Nets could get a nice trade exception, a capable player, or a draft pick(s) if both parties are amenable to working together to find a mutually beneficial outcome.
- Unrestricted FA. Non-Bird.
- Nets can offer Griffin the veterans minimum, $3.2M non-bird amount, or up to the $5.9M MMLE.
- Griffin still has $29.8M coming to him next season from Detroit, and therefore he could be willing to take a below market value deal to stick with Brooklyn. And any money he gets from another team will be offset from what the Pistons owe him.
- Nets would gain Griffin’s bird rights for the following offseason if Griffin re-upped this offseason for a second year.
- Unrestricted FA. Non-Bird
- Like Griffin, Nets can offer Green the veterans minimum, $3.2M non-bird amount, or up to the $5.9M MMLE.
- Green has earned the veterans minimum for four straight seasons and has been vocal about his feelings that he has been underpaid. Green could look to cash in somewhere else, but he loved being in Brooklyn. Nets might have to use the MMLE on Green.
Bruce Brown (Projection: multi-year deal in the $8M-$10M range)
- Restricted FA. Bird Rights. Nets would love to bring him back but a projected salary this high would likely be too rich.
- Unrestricted. Bird Rights. Hard to tell where TJ stands considering how he was used. Some nights he was first off the bench, others he was DNP.
- Restricted. Nets like his game a lot. It appears CSKA Moscow won’t require a buyout. So that makes things less complicated. The Nets could contribute $800,000 to any buyout.
- Unrestricted. Bird Rights.
- Unrestricted. Bird Rights.
- Unrestricted. Non-Bird. Lots of potential. Summer League crucial for him.
- Non-Guaranteed. Johnson has multiple partial guarantee dates starting in September. Summer League crucial for him, too.
Nets likely don’t entertain extensions for anyone outside the stars this summer other than maybe Nic Claxton.
- Kevin Durant (up to four-years, $192.5M)
- James Harden (up to three-years, $161.1M)
- Kyrie Irving (up to four-years, $181.6M)
- DeAndre Jordan (unlikely)
- Landry Shamet (rookie scale extension for up to 25 percent of the cap)
- Nic Claxton (extension projected at $59M over four years)
Possible that Nets to trade at least 2-3 of these picks for future assets, filler in other trades, etc. Nets haven’t used their own firsts since 2014! So don’t hold your breath.
- Round 1, Pick #27
- Round 2, Pick #44
- Round 2, Pick $49
- Round 2, Pick #59
Non-Star Player Assets With Trade Value
Nobody outside of the stars is untouchable but despite Harris’ playoff struggles, it’s unlikely Brooklyn will move Harris. Would they listen to offers? Harris’ $17.4M cap hit is the highest non-star salary number on the Nets cap sheet and could allow the Nets to bring a fairly impactful player in return. Harris has led the NBA in 3-point percentage two of the last three years and a solid fit with this team. So, Sean Marks will not make a rash decision. Count on it.
With Brooklyn having up to ten free agents this offseason, the stars being untouchable, and Jordan having negative value, Claxton becomes one of the few pieces Brooklyn COULD use as a sweetener in a potential deal. Certainly, they’ll get offers.
Claxton has incredible talent and brings a dimension the Nets don’t have, so it’s highly unlikely he would be moved. The next question is whether he’s willing to accept an extension or wait another year.
Shamet is extension eligible and just a year away from free agency. It’s difficult to imagine the Nets paying around $25M plus combined to Harris and Shamet a year from now. If the Nets move Spencer Dinwiddie in a sign-and-trade for a frontcourt player (see below) — far more likely than a Harris trade — Shamet could expand his role. After all, he spent his career at Wichita State as the main ball handler. Could Shamet be flipped with a few of those extra draft picks? Maybe, but note as well that Marks values continuity. Can’t completely switch out the roster.
Spencer Dinwiddie Sign & Trade Package Ideas
The Nets reportedly talked Dinwiddie trade to LA about Kyle Kuzma, to Toronto about Norman Powell and to Golden State about Kelly Oubre at the deadline. So there’s been interest.
Some other ideas.
- Dallas (Dorian Finney-Smith or Maxi Kleber)
- Los Angeles (Marcus Morris or Serge Ibaka)
- Boston (Marcus Smart)
- Denver (Will Barton)
- Miami (Kendrick Nunn)
- *Trade Exceptions/Minor Draft Compensation. Nets could use an extra first in the years where they owe swaps to the Rockets. That would give them more flexibility.
Free Agent Targets
- Patty Mills, Avery Bradley, JJ Redick, Austin Rivers, Lou Williams, Bryn Forbes, Ben McLemore, Wayne Ellington, Garrett Temple
- Otto Porter Jr., Rudy Gay, PJ Tucker, Carmelo Anthony, Nic Batum, Justise Winslow, Andre Iguodala, Reggie Bullock, Kent Bazemore, Wesley Matthews, James Johnson, Torrey Craig, Doug McDermott, Tony Snell, David Nwaba
- Serge Ibaka, Tristan Thompson, Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green, Dwight Howard, Enes Kanter, Bobby Portis, Daniel Theis, Markieff Morris, Kevon Looney, DeMarcus Cousins, JaVale McGee, Taj Gibson
While this season was a disappointment, the Nets will likely head into next season as the odds-on favorites to win the championship. With four draft picks at their disposal, some trade flexibility, and the potential for veteran title-chasing free agents to flock to Brooklyn, Marks should be able to build his most dominant team yet.
Next year could be the year that “Wait Till Next Year” finally arrives for a team that calls Kings County home.