With the Brooklyn Nets headed to the offseason, they’ve got free agents with decisions to make. Here’s a primer on the Brooklyn Nets free agents, including their options and expectations.
The skinny: Thaddeus Young has a player option for the 2015-2016 season worth slightly under $10 million. If he opts in, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent in the 2016 offseason. The Nets will retain his Early Bird rights if he stays with the team through then, but they would likely need to use cap space to sign him, as he’ll command a larger contract.
Young joined the Nets at the trade deadline in the deal that shipped Kevin Garnett back to Minnesota, and his inclusion in the starting lineup coincided with the Nets turning around their season. In 28 games (20 starts), Young averaged 13.8 points and 5.9 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per game, developing a chemistry with and understanding of Brook Lopez’s offensive game.
The factors: Young made no secret of the impending cap spike playing a major role in his decision. “(My agent and I) were talking, and he was like, ‘whatever decision you make we’re gonna make it work, but just know there’s going to be a lot of money being tossed around.’ I’m coming off a decent contract, so right now I want to just be able to win basketball games and make it as far as possible. But a lot of those things do factor in with the rise in salary cap, a little bit this year and a lot next year.”
Young also cited his family, whether or not Brook Lopez returns, and the drives from New Jersey to Brooklyn, saying he might move to Brooklyn next season if he stays. “Those drives, man, they kill me,” Young said. “I was talking to Jarrett (Jack) and you get used to them. Those are some of the factors that go into it. When you like a place so much and you think you can build something there and you put aside the brutal drives and you sacrifice.”
The choice: Young said he has been told by the Nets that they expect him back, even if he opts out of his contract. He could choose to sign a two-year deal with an opt-out clause, like the one Kevin Love signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason, giving him the flexibility to re-up if needed.
The market: Young could be an intriguing fit for a few teams: he fit in seamlessly with the Nets right away, and there’s always a market for athletic swingmen that can defend and score around the rim. But there’s a strong implication that the Nets will try to hold onto him, and he’ll try to maximize his earnings come 2016.