Good afternoon. Okay, it’s an afternoon, if not a good one, and it’s the day of the trade deadline.
With Kyrie Irving gone, Kevin Durant gone and Ben Simmons still trying to find his way after a season off and the continuing effects of summer back surgery, things are in flux, fans are in shock and the future looks if not bleak then uncertain ... for a long time.
With an 11-game cushion in the W-L standings, it’s likely (but not guaranteed) Brooklyn will make the playoffs, but with an unbalanced roster heavy on wings and guards, light on anyone big.
ALL that said, here’s where we stand after the passing of the trade deadline. The status sheet includes the Nets acquiring two second rounders in a deal that will send Jae Crowder to the Bucks in a four-way deal with the Pacers and Suns , announced shortly afternoon. The Nets chose to roll everything into one big deal.
PLAYERS UNDER CONTRACT
The Nets have 14 players on standard contracts and two on two-ways, meaning they have an open roster spot to accommodate any signings before or at the March 1 buyout deadline. Here’s the roster 1 through 5, with their age and contract status, including this season:
Spencer Dinwiddie, PG, 29, two years left, $26.8 million
Ben Simmons, PG, 26, three years left, $113.7 million
Cam Thomas, SG, 21, three years left, $8.4 million
Patty Mills, SG, 33, two years left, $13.3 million
Seth Curry, SG, 32, expiring at $8.5 million
Joe Harris, SF/SG, 31, two years left, $38.6 million
Mikal Bridges, SF/SG, 26, four years left, $77.1 million
Cam Johnson, SF/SG 26, expiring at $2.0 million
Dorian Finney-Smith, SF, 29, four years left, $47.6 million
Royce O’Neale, SF, 29, two years left $18.7 million (with a partial guarantee in 2023-24)
Yuta Watanabe, SF/PF, 28, expiring at $2.0 million
Edmond Sumner, SF, 28, two years left, $4.2 million (with no guarantee in 2023-24)
Nic Claxton, C, 23, two years left, $18.5 million
Day’Ron Sharpe, C, 21, three years left. $8.3 million.
David Duke Jr., expiring at $502,000
Dru Smith, PG, expiring at $502,000
The only player with All-Star or All-NBA credentials on the roster is Simmons and he is struggling, to be kind. Bridges was all-Defense first team last season as was Simmons in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Both Simmons in 2021 and Bridges in 2022 were runner-ups in Defensive Player of the Year, balloting. Combine that with Claxton’s legitimate shot at Defensive Player of the Year this season and Finney-Smith’s defensive skills and you can see defense as the Nets way forward, a kernel of hope? In fact, the Nets have now become a 3-and-D team, being the team with the most players shooting better than the league average from deep (36%) on their post-deadline rosters. They have nine.
What stands out, still, is the surfeit of wings and lack of bigs. The Nets traded Crowder but did not nothing else even though most pundits said they were scouring the league for a back-up to Claxton.
The Nets now have picks galore, more than they have had since they sent all their picks to Houston in the first James Harden trade back in January 2021.
The Suns picks acquired by Brooklyn are unprotected firsts in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029 and a swap pick in 2028. The Nets also have their own picks in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029 as well as the 76ers first in 2027, protected 1-8, and the Mavericks unprotected first in 2029. That’s 10 altogether from now through 2028.
They also acquired two seconds from the Bucks in the return from the Crowder trade, one in 2028 and another in 2029 after getting two in 2027 and 2028 from the Mavericks in the Irving deal. That gives them eight second rounders through 2029. If you add them all up, the Nets now have 19 picks in the next seven drafts. In this year’s draft, the Nets have their own and the Suns pick in the first as well as their own second. As of Friday, those are the 21st, 24th and 55th picks.
They still owe the Rockets their first rounders in 2024 and 2026 and if the Nets fall behind the Rockets in the standings in 2023, 2025 or 2027, the Rockets have the option of swapping picks in those years.
The Nets have generated three trade exceptions in the past four days: a $5.0 million and a $1.8 million TPE from the Irving trade and an $18.1 million one from the Durant trade as expanded. Both can be used at any time in the next year.
They also have roughly $5.7 million left on the taxpayers MLE that can be used to sign players over the rest of the year but its value drops by $37,256 each day.
With all the moves, the Nets have also saved around $100 million in luxury tax since Sunday, as Yossi Gozlan of Hoopshype and Bobby Marks of ESPN noted mid-day Thursday.
We still don't have the full details of the trade, but by not acquiring Jae Crowder, the Brooklyn Nets are just $6.9M over the luxury tax.— Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan) February 9, 2023
Getting out of the tax by the end of the day is within reach. Remember, they had a $108M tax projection at the beginning of the week. https://t.co/WBbPRFK6Ag
In a span of 5-days, Brooklyn has saved close to $100M in luxury tax penalties.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 9, 2023
The Nets started the weekend with a $108M penalty.
This is fluid
Prior to last weekend, the Nets were scheduled to pay out $108.2 million.
The Nets also added two overseas stashes this week: the rights to 6’7” former Nets second round pick Juan Pablo Vaulet acquired from Indiana in the final, multi-team deal as well as the rights to 6’4” French point guard David Michineau acquired in return from Sacramento in the Kessler Edwards trade.
Where do the Nets stand in terms of good will with NBA players as they embark on a long rebuild? They are much better shape than when Sean Marks walked in the doors of the HSS Training Center in February 2016. He had no picks, not firsts, not seconds, just Mikhail Prokhorov’s millions and a belief that New York would be a big lure. Now, after the debacle that began in the summer and continued through Thursday morning, Marks and Tsai’s reputations are in shambles, judging by a number of indicators including Nets fans social media accounts. Do players want to join Brooklyn? It will take a while for that to be known.