After acquiring DeMarre Carroll, and with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope talks abound, The Brooklyn Game staff went roundtable to discuss free agency so far, what the Nets should do with their cap space and dark horse free agents still in the mix.
Did the Nets make the right call to wait for the market to settle before striking with big moves?
Sandy: Plain and simple: Sean Marks is a genius. He didn’t flinch when he struck out with J.J. Redick, Joe Ingles and Kelly Olynyk (not to mention, he didn’t offer any of those players ridiculous contracts that would’ve put the Nets ahead in bidding wars). With some of the inane contracts signed in the early days of free agency, it’s clear Marks is trying to use the Nets’ cap space wisely.
Simon: Time will tell, but it seems more often than not Sean Marks & Co. are giving themselves the best opportunity to come out of a bad situation as well as they can. The Nets are somewhat handcuffed in how they can make an impact, and as seen, the RFA route seems to be the way to go. Even though the Porter deal was matched, it was the right move for Brooklyn.
The free agency pond seems to settle very quickly in terms of the big fish getting to where they want to go, and the right call is to wait how things land and see where the Nets can leverage situations to their advantage. Salary Dump? Denver having five power forwards? Detroit can’t afford KCP? Let’s get it done.
There’s talk about opposing team GM’s being somewhat annoyed at Brooklyn’s approach to free agency. Maybe, but this shouldn’t be a reason to stray from the path. The Nets need to be both aggressive, yet still staying in their lane. The meaning of this being: stay on the front foot but still making the smart and right decisions in line with the new Brooklyn culture. If RFA offer sheets are matched, so be it. Keep making the best decisions for the club and take advantage of other teams mistakes, if not now, but in years to come (Tyler Johnson dump please?).
As noted in many articles, the Nets are in talent acquisition mode. For the right p, ice there is still plenty of talent out there to be had.
How would you like to see the Nets spend their ~$20 million in cap space this offseason?
Simon: My first preference is that Brooklyn spends it. This doesn’t mean being silly, but it means that the team was able to bring in players that the front office wanted to. If years previous were anything to go by, once Brooklyn has swung (and ultimately missed) out top FA targets, it’s time to bring in quality support vets and some Kenny Atkinson revitalization projects (akin to Anthony Bennett). Once the talent has been acquired, it is bringing in pieces that ultimately help the development of the shining lights in LeVert & Russell.
Ersan Ilyasova could be a good fit, as he has been across numerous teams in the past five years. The Net fan in me has a soft spot for both Morrow & Alan Anderson, both of which could add support and leadership to the young backcourt, although I already hear the screams… Do we need more guards?!
Once the veterans are in place, could Kenny squeeze anything out of Beasley or Ezeli? Nets fans need a reason to watch, and these two could be at least one of those reasons.
Jaymz: Call literally everyone who needs to dump anything and loan out that cap space to get literally anything (picks, young dudes) back.For instance:
Sean Marks: Oh, hey Portland! What’s that? You’re really regretting that Evan Turner contract? I mean, sure, we’ll take it, but I need a pick. … Or how about I take Allen Crabbe off your hands? Sound cool to you?
Sean Marks: Hey Boston! Just letting you know that during the year when you need to shift more salary, we’ll happily take Crowder and that 2019 Memphis pick you’ve got. Thanks, Danny!
Sean Marks: Hey Memphis! What? Oh. You want to give us Chandler Parsons? … … Nah, we’re good.
Sean Marks: What’s up Philly? You want to shift Jahlil? Sure – we’ll take him for nothing. Cheers Bryan!
Sean Marks: Oh hey Masai! How’re things up in Toronto? Cool cool. Sure, we’ll take Demarre Carroll and next year’s 1st. No problems!
… and if that doesn’t work, HOLD FIRE. The cap squeeze for two-thirds of the league will hit next season and onwards, and those teams will be rushing to move pieces to alleviate the crunch. There will also no doubt be moves during this coming season as franchises start to realize how much they’ve screwed up/misjudged their team makeup. Be smart, be humble.
What “dark horse” free agent targets would you like to see the Nets pursue?
Simon: Bringing in Timofey Mozgov at roughly $16 million per year means he should get the first crack at the center position, or hopefully, the front office at least has the hopes that he can contribute. With that being said, I’d be reluctant to tie up too much more money at the center position, but if Mozgov isn’t up to it, Jarrett Allen needs someone ahead of him to learn from.
Mason Plumlee is someone that can fill an area of desperate need. Rim protection and rebounding to round out a squad full of guards and wing players. I say this for more reasons than just me just wanting to get my Plumlee jersey back in date. He is quicker than the other PF/C options when the Nets need to go big, and his passing is elite for his size, and he’s a perfect compliment to hit LeVert and Russell as they run around screens for open basket looks. Denver probably wants to keep him, but with Millsap and Lyles, maybe something needs to give.
Otherwise, players like Sefolosha or DeAndre Liggins could be players that could be attained on the cheap to help out with team defense, which has been an issue in the past.