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‘Married to the luxury tax’: Nets hope to re-sign Blake Griffin, target bigs in free agency

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When NBA free agency begins at 6:00 p.m. ET Monday, the main goals for Brooklyn are revolved around roster touch-ups rather than a remodeling. But Sean Marks let it be known that Joe Tsai can afford it.

“Yes, we’re married to the luxury tax. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about that. We know where we are. We know what we’ve been hitting for some time now and that’s the commitment Joe Tsai has made. To have an owner like that, that’s all in and we’re committed for this year and the following year,” said Marks on the luxury tax burden.

Marks did not say how much of a luxury tax bill his boss will pay it certainly will wind up in the tens of millions of dollars if not more.

Like all 30 teams across the league, Marks said the Nets free agency discussions have been occurring dating back to the end of the regular season/postseason. The GM said the team will prioritize what they have had and work around the edges of their roster, but the “what-if” factor will weigh heavily on what moves they’ll make. The big hole, he admitted, is the Nets bigs.

“That’s a question Steve and I have discussed over the course of the last month and a half of trying to plug some of these holes. There is a little bit of a what-if so or so doesn’t come back or what if we’re in his quandary and so forth. They’ll hopefully be some good choices out there. The fact of the matter is we have a pretty good team and we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. We don’t want to screw it up too bad. We want to add depth at the big position and that’s going to be important from a defensive and rebounding standpoint,” said Sean Marks during the Nets post-draft press conference.

Talking about his own big that’s hitting the free agency market — Blake Griffin — the Marks made it clear that the team’s plan is to bring Griffin back to Brooklyn. Although the Nets want to re-sign Griffin, Marks said he fully understands all his free agents deserve the right to test the market ahead of putting pen to paper.

“To address Blake, I think we all saw the intangibles that he brought to us last year. Some on the court, some behind the scenes and what he did in the locker room — the veteran leadership, the presence that he had. He was absolutely terrific and found a niche with the team. I think we would love him back. That is certainly the plan. There’s no secret about that,” said Marks on re-signing Griffin.

“The fact of the matter is that they’ve played very well throughout this year and a credit to them. They deserve the opportunity to see what the market looks like and what the market bears. All we can do is see where the dust settles over the next four, five, six days and go from there,” Marks added.

The Nets have an advantage with Griffin. He will make a guaranteed $29.7 million from his Pistons buyout ... no matter what he’s gets from any team.

2021 NBA Playoffs - Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

While Brooklyn is “married” to the luxury tax and has a mega-rich owner, Marks said he isn’t going to get careless.

“How we spend that money and how much luxury tax we go into, we’ve already got the commitment from Joe Tsai that we’re going for it. We’re in and we’re not going to take shortcuts at this stage. At the end of the day, I got to be responsible,” Marks said. “The front office group has to be responsible in how we build a team, not only looking at the next few years but four, five, six, seven years down the line here too as well.”

One factor that factors into Brooklyn’s luxury tax spending will be Spencer Dinwiddie’s future, who is set to hit free agency unrestricted. Bobby Marks of ESPN broke it down best what the luxury tax bill would look like if the Nets signed Dinwiddie outright — an increase of $87 million.

The Nets General Manager addressed the status of Dinwiddie, who is rumored to be headed to a wide variety of teams, some requiring the Nets and their guard to agree to a sign-and-trade. Although it can get tricky, Marks views it as a good problem to have and if Dinwiddie is dealt in a sign-and-trade, the destination will be dictated by the guards’ wants.

“That’s the quandary where we’re at. It’s an interesting dilemma and it’s a good one to have. Spencer deserves his ability to go into the free-agent market and test it. If we are going to participate in a sign-and-trade and the likes, it’s really up to Spencer. It’s up to Spencer to where he wants to play first and foremost. He’s going to have to decide that,” said Marks on Dinwiddie.

As mentioned, teams can begin negotiating with free agents at 6:00 PM ET and the signing can begin on August 6 at 12:01 p.m. ET. However, as Bobby Marks reported earlier Monday, it’s likely that up to 100 of the NBA’s 143 free agents will likely to committed by the end of the day.