The Nets have a lot of decisions to make about their future in the next few years. Here’s a quick primer on when the team’s 13 current players with guaranteed contracts will likely be in their contract year, and what the Nets could decide to do about it.
Expires in 2014-2015
Brook Lopez: Lopez has a player option for the 2015-2016 season for a little over $16.7 million, and is in a tricky situation. Lopez is returning from a third foot surgery in two years, and if he suffers another setback, will almost assuredly accept his player option. If he comes back and has a good-to-great season, Lopez could choose to opt out and secure a long-term contract with the Nets or someone else. But if his foot still scares teams, they might not want to commit anything if they can’t get his contract insured. Either way, the Nets own his full bird rights, so the ball’s in their court if they want to commit money to him long-term. He’ll be the biggest offseason test for the Nets.
Andrei Kirilenko: Kirilenko opted in to the second year of his contract after struggling last season with back injury. The Nets will own his early Bird rights after the season, would give them some wiggle room to re-sign him if they want to keep him around. But Kirilenko has also been coy about his future, and has even hinted at an early retirement. If he suffers further back trouble, he could decide to hang up the sneakers.
Kevin Garnett: Garnett’s in the final year of a deal that nets him $12 million annually. He’s expected to retire after the season. If he does stick it out for one more year, the Nets own his bird rights, so they could technically sign him to any contract. He’d probably get a small one-year deal.
Mirza Teletovic: Teletovic signed a three-year contract in the 2012 offseason and has improved steadily since that time. He’ll have another shot to show off his shooting skills before the offseason, when the Nets can offer him a one-year qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The Nets consider Teletovic a piece of the rotation and expect to bring him back, but if he continues his steady improvement or has a breakout season as a long-range shooter, he’ll get offers from around the league.
Alan Anderson: Anderson signed a two-year deal in the 2014 offseason, with a player option for the second year. There’s no way to tell now what Anderson will command at the end of the deal yet.
Marquis Teague: Teague, who’s still on his rookie contract, has a team option for the 2015-2016 season. The team has until October 31st to pick up his option for the fourth year, and if they don’t, Teague becomes a free agent. Teague’s an end-of-bench guard that’s struggled in NBA offenses, so it doesn’t seem likely that his option — worth slightly over $2 million — gets picked up.
Markel Brown: The rookie Brown signed a two-year deal with the Nets, with the second deal fully unguaranteed. Brown is an athletic freak but hasn’t shown much in training camp, and will have to earn the second year of his contract.
Expires in 2015-2016
Deron Williams: Williams has an early termination option in 2015-2016, with the option to end his contract one year early if he wants to pursue long-term contract security. Like Lopez, Williams’s decision to stay on his deal is likely predicated on how he returns from his injury troubles. It’ll be hard for Williams to opt out of a guaranteed $22 million in 2016-2017, but if he has a resurgent two seasons, he could opt for long-term financial security with the salary cap rising fast.
Joe Johnson: Seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson™ finishes up the end of his massive six-year, $124 million contract by earning $24.9 million in his final year. The Nets will retain his bird rights and could sign him to any contract, but Johnson will be 34 by the start of the 2016-2017 season. He’ll certainly command a pay cut, though with team valuations rising due to the NBA’s new TV deal, he might still get himself a nice deal.
Jarrett Jack: Jack’s deal runs through the end of the 2015-2016 season, then he has an added year tacked on to the back that’s almost completely non-guaranteed. With the summer of Kevin Durant looming, there’s a good chance the Nets waive Jack, take the minor hit (around $500,000), and clear the remaining ~$6 million in cap space in the hopes of landing a superstar. (Sounds like what Cleveland did with him this offseason.)
Expires in 2016-2017
Bojan Bogdanovic: Bogdanovic signed a three-year deal this past offseason, and if the Nets hold on to him for the duration of his contract, they’ll both own his bird rights and have the option to make him a restricted free agent, giving them the right to match any offers.
Mason Plumlee: Plumlee is on the same contract schedule as Karasev: the team could technically cut ties with him after this season, but considering his emergence as a legitimate rotation player in his rookie season, they’re almost assuredly going to keep him as long as possible on a rookie scale deal. After the 2016-2017 season, he’ll be a restricted free agent.
Sergey Karasev: Karasev technically has his first of two team options after the 2014-2015 season, but the Nets wouldn’t have demanded his inclusion in a trade this offseason if they didn’t plan on retaining him. They consider Karasev a part of the future, but he’s also got the next two years to show his promise, and he hasn’t done much yet: he didn’t come into training camp in the best shape and hasn’t played many minutes even in preseason. They’ll probably retain him through the end of his rookie scale contract, and then make him a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent in 2017-2018. But if Karasev crashes and burns, they could try to cut ties early.