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‘Buckle Up’ - First of two big days dawn for Nets, NBA

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Brooklyn Nets Introduce Draft Picks - Press Conference Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s NBA free agency and within the next two days, the Nets may very well be remade. Most pundits think that Sean Marks will be very active, aggressive on the trade market while the front office will also mull their own and others free agents. As one Nets insider told NetsDaily, “buckle up.”

Here’s a summary of what’s on the line:

June 29 - Player option deadline for Patty Mills, Kyrie Irving, team option deadline for Kessler Edwards, David Duke Jr. and Nicolas Claxton. Irving will opt in to a $39.5 million one year deal and postpone negotiations on a longer deal for a year. He must file paperwork by 5:00 p.m. ET. Mills may very well opt out. He has proven he’s worth more than the $6.2 million salary he’ll receive unless he opts out. He can re-sign with Brooklyn outside the salary cap. They would retain his rights if he opts out. Edwards can be waived, then resigned to a longer deal outside the cap. Also, third anniversary of the Clean Sweep. Ah, the memories.

June 30 - Deadline for Nets to extend Nic Claxton for up to four years, $55.6 million. If not, he becomes a restricted free agent the next day. Free agency begins at 6:00 p.m. ET with reports of signings starting at 6:01 ET.

One thing that seems increasingly certain is that Claxton will be back. Jake Fischer this morning added his voice to those of two ESPN reporters — Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe — in saying the 23-year-old will return and with a lucrative deal.

Rivals believe Nic Claxton will return to Brooklyn around the full mid-level.

That’s roughly $10 million. Four years and $40 million? However, Fischer also thinks that Isaiah Hartenstein, another reported Nets target, could stay in Los Angeles with the Clippers or sign with Chicago. He also thinks that Nicolas Batum, another name associated with Brooklyn, will stay in L.A. with a lucrative deal.

With John Wall likely heading to the Clippers at the taxpayer mid-level, that could leave Isaiah Hartenstein with more lucrative offers, like the non-taxpayer mid-level from Chicago. The Bulls have been linked to various rim-protecting centers, but Chicago is expected to preserve room and not offer the full $10.1 million. Hartenstein could stick around with Los Angeles on the cheap and be rewarded later. Nicolas Batum, for example, is believed to be headed towards a three-year, $30 million deal to stay with the Clippers.

Later, Marc Stein reported that the Magic, not the Bulls, had become a “leading suitor” for Harteinstein.

Another possibility for that wing depth the Nets seek is Otto Porter Jr. who agreed to a four-year, $106.5 million tender offer back in 2017, only to have Washington match. Now equipped with an NBA ring after a year with the Warriors, he’s looking for the $6.3 million taxpayer mid-level exception.

Otto Porter Jr. is expected to receive multiple offers for the taxpayer mid-level, putting his future with the Warriors in doubt.

The Nets only have the TMLE and vets minimum to offer free agents, but still have four large trade exceptions they could use in trades: $11.3 million, $6.3 million, $3.2 million, $1.7 million and $1.3 million. All are good through at least early August. They also have three picks in next year’s draft, the 76ers first and their own which might have to be swapped with Houston as well as their own second, which might have to be swapped with Atlanta. Brooklyn also has the Sixers first in 2027 although it’s protected and can trade their 2028 and 2029 firsts as well.

Talking about the Nets own free agents, it seems a foregone conclusion that the Nets will not be re-signing several of their free agents, including veterans LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin. Andre Drummond, a restricted free agent, has said he wants to return and has been seen in various videos working out in Nets gear. Sean Deveney, reporting for, listed a number of teams that could make a play for the 33-year-old.

“There will be a number of teams that look at him,” one Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “Chicago, Miami, the Lakers, maybe even Boston. They’d be in the mix, at least.”

Gorgan Dragic seems destined for Dallas for a Slovenian reunion with Luka Doncic. The likelihood that Dallas will lose Jalen Brunson to the Knicks almost assures that move, per Marc Stein:

Sources close to the process say Brunson’s exit would also increase the likelihood that Dallas tries to sign Goran Dragić, Dončić’s Slovenian teammate, in free agency.

As Chris Milholen reported Tuesday, the Nets would like to bring David Duke Jr. on a two-way. Brooklyn reportedly will sign Alondes Williams, an undrafted 6’5” point guard out of Wake Forest, to the other two-way.

Later Wednesday, Keith Smith and Alex Schiffer reported that the Nets had declined their 2022-23 team option for Kessler Edwards but at the same time, the team tendered him a $1.8M qualifying offer. The Nets are expected to sign Edwards to a longer term deal when free agency begins Friday.

The biggest question on the Nets own radar is what’s going to happen with Bruce Brown. With Claxton apparently a done deal, will the Nets also have the money needed — maybe another $10 million deal — to bring him back. Will Joe Tsai add to his luxury tax bill?

Meanwhile, the Nets and Irving seem to have declared a truce but have yet to begin peace talks and there is a lot of speculation on whether the relationship is broken. Shams Charania reported on the Pat McAfee Show Tuesday night that there were three teams interested in the mercurial superstar: Miami, Dallas and Philadelphia (!).

However, Brian Windhorst on ESPN’s Get Up suggested that the Nets problems with Irving are not limited to his refusal to get vaccinated. The status quo is no longer acceptable.

Joe Tsai, the owner, and Sean Marks, the general manager, using Joe Tsai’s sentiment, have made it clear that the status quo from last year is not acceptable.

“It wasn’t just about how Kyrie treated the vaccine mandate, it was about how he treated his teammates and how Kyrie Irving treated his coaches.

So part of this renegotiation wasn’t just gonna be about a contract extension. It was gonna be about a renegotiation of the way the team operated. And, by the way, this wasn’t a Kyrie Irving issue. The TEAM gave Irving all of this leverage as the way they operated over the past 3 years.

So both sides needed to get together. What’s happened here is Kyrie has said, ‘I’m opting in. See you in the Fall.’ That’s not the emotion that needs to happen here = and especially the way Woj just articulated it perfectly. It’s not ‘see you in the Fall.’ It’s ‘let’s have a discussion about how the Fall is going to go now.’

And if those discussions don’t go well or if Kyrie Irving does come back in the Fall and it’s an attempt to be the status quo the way last season operated - which was a huge failed season, let’s be honest - then I think, it’s not over. So right now, it’s up in the air.”

As for the persistent rumor that Brooklyn is interested to making a move on John Collins, possibly for Joe Harris, Fischer was negative about the prospect.

Outside of San Antonio, there doesn’t appear to be any serious active trade conversation surrounding Collins. Sacramento, Portland, Boston and Brooklyn all registered some level of interest in Collins around the draft, but none of those teams appear far along with Atlanta on Collins deals at this juncture.

Again, buckle up.