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Will Bruce Brown finally get his big payday?

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

When Adrian Wojnarowski spoke last Sunday with Mike Greenberg about the Nets off-season, he noted that one of the big decisions will be whether to keep Bruce Brown.

“Obviously, Bruce Brown has had a tremendous season,” Woj told Greenie. “He’s looking like a 12, 13, 14 million dollar player in this marketplace. They have to sign him.”

And Sean Deveney, writing for Heavy.com reported this earlier this week.

One of the few definitives coming out of Brooklyn since the team was swept out of the first round is that, according to a source, the team will, “make it a priority,” to keep free-agent guard Bruce Brown, who averaged 14.0 points and was one of the bright spots of the Nets’ postseason. Brooklyn has his Bird rights.

That of course would be a big investment for Brooklyn, particularly when the Nets Swiss Army Knife may very well become the sixth man on a healthy Nets team.

After the Nets loss in the first round, Brown expressed an interest in remaining with the Nets.

“Yeah, hopefully,” Brown said after Monday’s Game 4 loss. “If there’s a chance to stay, we’ll talk about it. But we’ll see.”

Brown’s season can be broken into two pieces and the player who came out after the All-Star Game was an authentic star. As Brian Lewis noted Thursday...

Brown was one of just three players in the NBA to average 14 points, five assists and three rebounds on 50/40 shooting splits after the All-Star break. The others? Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum, whose stardom the Nets can vouch for.

Of course, a lot of people thought that Brown would get a big deal last season. John Hollinger of The Athletic pegged his value at up to $15 million a year, but there were no takers at anywhere that level and Brown agreed to the $4.7 million qualifying offer. It gave the 6’4” 25-year-old a chance to show what he can do with a supposed contender. He bet on himself, as pundits noted at the time. It also was an ideal set-up for Brooklyn. They got him at a more than reasonable salary and although he is an unrestricted free agent, his QO status means the Nets can match whatever he’s offered by another team.

Brown admitted that his inability to get a big bucks deal was a season long motivator.

“Oh, yeah, for sure,” Brown admitted. “I mean, I had a pretty good season last year. But it is what it is. Move on. I’m here, having another good year.”

Brown has always had a reputation as a grinder and working with assistant coach Royal Ivey, the work paid off.

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann noted that Brown had an effective field goal percentage of 57.6 percent, up from 48.0 last season. That was the fifth biggest jump among 183 players with at least 300 field goal attempts in each of the last two seasons.

But the big thing that will presumably vault his value was his big jump in 3-point shooting. As Lewis reported, His 40.4 percent number — and even higher percentage post All-Star Game — was another big jump. Brown shot just 28.8 percent from deep 2020-21. Moreover, he owned the right corner, hitting stunning 61 percent from that spot, as Schuhmann reported at season’s end.

Will the Nets — meaning Joe Tsai — be willing to pay Brown? That’s proprietary information, but even a $10 million starting salary could add $30 million to Tsai’s luxury tax bill next season. Still, Kevin Durant is a big fan.

“We all love how Bruce’s been playing,” Durant said. “At this point I expect him to come out there and play well. And once you build up expectations for yourself as a player, that’s when you start to develop even more and more. You build that trust in your teammates, so I’m sure he’ll have more opportunities to do that.”