After Joe Harris, Nets other big free agency decision is Jarrett Allen

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Just as they did last season, the Nets will have a big decision to make on a developing player at the end of his rookie contract. In the weeks leading up to the 2019-20 opener, the Nets extended Caris LeVert to a three-year, $52.5 million deal, now seen as a bargain, and Taurean Prince to a two-year, $29 million deal, now seen as an overpayment. Both those deals come into effect this season.

Now, Jarrett Allen is up for an extension at a time when the Nets are staring at years of luxury tax payments. In fact, it’s hard to imagine the Nets won’t be in luxury tax territory through the remainder of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s deals which will end in either 2022 or 2023 depending on whether they exercise player options. The Nets must make a decision on Allen by December 21 (assuming he isn’t included in any real trade machine scenarios) or have him become a restricted free agent in July —or August— 2021.

How much is Allen looking for? In the Hoop Collective podcast, Bobby Marks, the former Nets assistant GM hears the 22-year-old has a number in mind ... a big number.

“He’s looking for a Clint Capela-type of money,” Marks told Brian Windhorst.

For those who have forgotten how much the then-Rockets center received, here’s your reminder: Capela signed a five-year, $90-million extension deal with Houston in 2018. He was 24 at the time of the deal. Daryl Morey traded him to Atlanta in a four-team, 12-player deal not long before COVID-19 hit. Houston received Robert Covington in the deal and went small ball (under now Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni) to an extent not seen before in the NBA.

Capela had been more productive than Allen in the lead-up to that deal, comfortably averaging a double-double and two blocks a game. Allen has not yet had that success but in the Orlando “bubble,” he excelled, his game developing across a number of areas. In six seeding games, he averaged 15.7 points and 11.0 rebounds along with 1.2 blocks and most surprisingly, 4.2 assists. Then, in the Raptors four-game sweep of the Nets, he averaged 10.3 points, 14.8 boards (the highest in the NBA playoffs), 1.8 blocks and 2.3 assists. Those are Clint Capela numbers. Moreover, Allen is the Nets most durable player, missing two games in the “bubble” to rest after having played every game prior to the hiatus. He missed two games in 2018-19 as well.

Bobby Marks said he believes the Nets will not sign Allen to an extension but will instead wait and see how he does this season.

“I would think it’s hard for me to extend him to that type of number and the other thing is if you extend these guys, you’re basically off the board for a year because of the poison pill restriction in your contract. So it’s not like he’s tradeable so I think if I’m Brooklyn and if I can get him in that $12-14 million range, I’m looking for a below-market type of deal here,” Marks added.

Complicating matters of course is the presence of DeAndre Jordan and to a lesser degree, Nicolas Claxton. How do they all fit?

As Nets fans will recall, the first move Jacque Vaughn made after replacing Kenny Atkinson was moving Allen out of the starting line-up and replacing him with DeAndre Jordan, whose credentials include three All-NBA team slots, two All-Defensive Team slots ... and an Olympic gold, earned along with his friends, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. He is 10 years older than Allen who after all would be senior at Texas if he didn’t come out in 2017.

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, who appeared with Marks and Windhorst, touched on Jordan’s friendship with KD and Kyrie in the podcast.

“The other thing is the strange dynamic with KD and Kyrie’s guy, DeAndre Jordan, as $10-million a year dude, paying him that much to play 18-20 minutes a game. Do they want DeAndre in the starting lineup? You can’t ignore that whole dynamic when you’re making these decisions and obviously, the Nets’ front office isn’t ignoring anything that KD and Kyrie have to say when it comes to making major decisions,”

However, does Jordan, who by some measures is the most immobile big in the NBA, fit in a Steve Nash-Mike D’Antoni offense as something other than a spot player? Will Kevin Durant play a lot at the 5, limiting minutes for both Allen and Jordan? Hard to say at this moment, but Nash was positively effusive about what he saw from Allen in the “bubble” when asked about him in his “Town Hall” two weeks ago.

“I thought his performance in the bubble showed some big growth at both ends of the floor. He was more dynamic at the defensive end, expanding his game there, getting out and player farther out on the floor, covering guards, moving his feet for stretches that we hadn’t seen in the past, and then his rim protection I think has been his cornerstone,” said Nash of Allen when asked about him and LeVert.

“Offensively, I think he’s getting better in traffic. He’s getting a better feel, and he’s going to continue to grow there too. So, two very talented players who have youth and a lot of upside and are great pieces to put in the mix here for this team.”

What’s the Nets alternative if they want to keep him ... and don’t want to risk losing him to free agency, restricted or not? They could sign him to a reasonable two-year deal to get everyone to 2023 when the situation with their superstar contracts will become more clear.

Stay tuned.

Comments

Fro is much better for me than Jordan

I want to keep Allen and DJ

Anything to prevent KD playing the 5. I don’t want us going too small or having KD guard the big guys!

I think we want to play KD at the 5 a lot.

i should have noted that

maybe I will go back in and edit it to reflect that.

I don’t know if I like that idea, especially a lot. There are some very good teams, with bulk and size, that will give the Nets trouble as is. KD at the 5 a lot? Idk

Especially if we play more regional games

I don’t want KD going up against Embid, Horford, Gasol, Kanter, or even Mitchell. This is why I was hesitant on MDA Bc KD at the 5 will only hurt him. We need him!!

everything's great and dandy

until preseason starts

I agree with Bobby Marks. I'd only extend Jarrett if he gives us a big hometown discount.

10-12 mill per year would be ok.

90 million is way too much for him.

I love the way he defends the pick and roll and the perimeter, and also the way he fearlessly contests every dunk attempt, but with Nash and D’Antoni at the helm, Claxton and Durant – who are even more mobile than Allen, and are also able to stretch the floor – will probably play a lot of center minutes.

Ideally, we trade Allen to upgrade wing defense and get a stretch 5 like Ibaka or Cousins in free agency.

here's what I liked about him

After the hiatus, after he had lost his starting job and after DJ went down with COVID, he made it clear in word and action that he believed he should be starting. That seemed a bit out-of-character at least from what we’ve heard about him. He was first one back in the gym after the restrictions were lifted on workouts. He proved that in Orlando. His passing was a revelation. I would not be the least surprised if he comes into camp with an improved jumper. He has a lot of pride. There will be players taken in the first round who are younger than him. Desmond Bane, who the Nets are apparently interested in, is two months younger than Allen.

Allen put up nice numbers in the bubble, but he also played big minutes.

I did not check the numbers, but I actually think his per minute numbers may have went down across the board.

he played 33 minutes per in seeding games and playoffs

and they rested him two games. He played 26.5 before the hiatus.

On a per-possession basis, his rebounds and assists were up significantly in the playoffs, blocks up slightly. His scoring was down because he took fewer shots, but his efficiency remained extremely high. (Allen’s playoff true shooting was .660 on 8.4 shots per 100 possessions; LeVert’s was .482 on 24.2 shots per 100 possessions. Hard to be competitive with that distribution.)

If his ceiling is Capela money

You don’t extend him for that. You can decide to match for that, but you only extend pending RFA if you feel like you’re getting him on a discount. If he’s willing to extend for a deal starting below $15mil, you do it.

I don’t worry about DJ. This year DJ+Allen will combine to make about $15mil. ‘21-’22 will be expensive, but I expect us to dump or stretch DJ’s expiring deal in ‘22-’23 if he’s had any degradation in ability, which at his age is likely.

Isn't Capella's contract widely regarded as an overpay?

And therefore it is not a useful barometer of what Allen is worth. Plus Capella’s contract was pre-covid, so we need to adjust expectations across the board, probably.

I agree....

Contract strategy

Allen is a keeper at the right price. Young, durable, and perfect defensive-oriented fit alongside our scorers. OTOH, he’s a center, where it seems possible to find "90% of the value for 10% of the price" type value more than other positions.

If we sign him to an extension early, he needs to agree to a discount. $18 million is probably ok (I’d say a tad high, and an opening offer from his agent) from a market-value perspective, but he isn’t on the open market.

I’d try to get him to sign to a 5-year discount at a 20-25% discount ($13-15 million/year) and if not, assume some risk of a higher price a year from now when he is a restricted free agent.

If he arrives in camp with a jumper...

Sounds like you may know something

Allen with a jumper and a handle (which I believe he already has) would be scary. He could essentially be a 7 foot tall hyper athletic 4.

The days of NI knowing inside stuff are gone.

Not sure who his sources were, but my guess is someone from the Russian regime.

He used to tell us pretty often that he knows things, but is not allowed to tell.

Nowadays he usually admits that he knows nothing…

It’s possible that he still knows stuff, and he just realised that teasing us does nothing…
But I trust him when he says that he knows nothing…

i know less

but I still have some sources.

However, I can also tell you that I am in the same boat as the beat writers.

As I have often noted, when i know nothing, i tell you. And I do that more and more.

while i love the lil nuggets of info...

i prefer that our Front Office runs a tight ship.

Allen with a jumper and a handle would be scary

Oh wait, we already have him… CLAXTON (he just needs one more year to develop)

a 7 footer who averaged 4 assists in seeding games

can hardly be described as not having a handle.

Generally when people speak of a handle, they mean the ability to put the ball on the floor and create

Jordan is also a good post-passer, but you wouldn’t say he has a "handle".

Jarrett has

On numerous occasions, showcased his ability to put the ball on the floor. He’ll frequently do something that’s pretty surprising for a guy his size honestly.

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