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Bobby Marks: Don’t expect big things from Sean Marks at trade deadline

In his annual pre-trade deadline look at all 30 NBA teams, Bobby Marks writes Tuesday that he doesn’t expect Sean Marks (no relation) to do much between now and February 10 for a variety of reasons including a lack of trade assets, presumed luxury tax concerns and Sean Marks unwillingness to make big changes to his roster. But he also believes the Nets will once again look at the buyout deadline of March 1.

Summing up, here’s what the Nets former assistant GM has to say about the current GM’s predicament...

Despite using most of its draft assets to acquire James Harden last January, Brooklyn is sitting on two valuable trade exceptions that are worth $11.5 million and $6.3 million. However, to use either one, the Nets would need to waive a player or send one out in a trade, and have ownership sign off a significant addition to the luxury tax bill.

For example, he suggests (without detail) that if the Nets were able to use an exception — the Nets also have a $1.3 million TPE — to acquire Justin Holiday, who makes $6 million this season, the tax hit would be enormous.

For example, if the Nets acquired a player like Indiana Pacers forward Justin Holiday, their luxury tax bill would increase from $110.4 million to $142.4 million.

Bobby Marks doesn’t claim to know how deep Joe Tsai’s pockets are, nor whether how much he’d be willing to spend. Tsai told NetsDaily back in October that he’s willing to pay what’s needed if it improves Brooklyn’s chance to win it all.

“Do you think that is still a question?” Tsai joked. “I mean I did pay luxury tax last season. This season, it’s all public information, I’ll be paying over $100 million in luxury tax.

“So the answer is yes, yes, I’m committed and I’m committed for the long haul.”

Moreover, Tsai signaled a willingness to pay the dreaded repeater tax which kicks in when a team goes over the tax threshold three times in a four-year period. Under that CBA rule, he could pay up to four dollars in tax for every dollar Nets spend on salaries whether acquiring them in trades or in free agency, including vets minimum deals.

Putting aside the luxury tax issue, Bobby Marks looks at what Sean Marks has done in the past and thinks his history and the Nets situation may preclude any big moves.

Nets GM Sean Marks made the Harden trade during the regular season last year but is not known for shaking up the roster at the deadline. Marks has made three deadline trades since taking over in 2015.

The Harden trade took place January 13 of last year, more than two months before the March 25 deadline. Sean Marks in fact hasn’t made a deadline move since 2018 and that was minor one: acquiring Greg Monroe in a salary dump that also won him a second round pick.

Bobby Marks thinks the Nets may make some end-of-the-bench moves if they find a way to open a roster spot.

[L]ook for them to possibly convert the two-way contract of David Duke Jr., who has started recently but would not be eligible for the playoffs if he remained on a two-way deal.

As for the buyout deadline, Bobby Marks thinks that the Nets will want to go into that market with an open mind and perhaps an open roster spot.

The Nets were one of the more active teams in the buyout landscape last year, signing Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge. Because they do not have an open roster spot, the Nets would need to either trade a player before a deadline or waive someone to do that again this year.

As he does for all 30 teams, the ESPN Marks proposes a possible trade that could help the Nets at the deadline.

Dorian Finney-Smith from Dallas for a 2028 unprotected first. The Nets are clearly all-in, and this would be a huge risk considering that it is unlikely Kevin Durant, Harden and Kyrie Irving will be on the roster in 2028. The positive is that Finney-Smith is an elite level defender and Brooklyn inherits his Bird rights, allowing them to re-sign him in the offseason.

As Bobby Marks notes, that 2028 first rounder is the first one the Nets can trade, having sent their own first rounders to the Rockets in the 2022, 2024 and 2026 drafts. They also agreed to swap rights on the 2023, 2025 and 2027 firsts in the Harden deal, further constraining their ability to use draft picks in trades. The Nets currently have no first or second rounders in the 2022 Draft and by sending $5.8 million in cash considerations — the max — to Detroit in the DeAndre Jordan salary dump, they can’t buy a pick this year either.

In his summary, Bobby Marks notes some other restrictions on Sean Marks ability to maneuver, further lessening chances of a big deal. He notes, for example, that Bruce Brown and Blake Griffin have veto power on any trade because they signed one-year contracts. .