Sean Marks waited until midnight on Friday to make his mark on 2018 free agency. Making two moves overnight, Marks’ trades include sending Jeremy Lin to Atlanta and Isaiah Whitehead to Denver, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
While both trades clear up Brooklyn’s logjam at the guard position, the Nets also build on their future assets in the return. The biggest return comes from the Whitehead deal to Denver, in which the Nets get Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, a future second-round pick and, most importantly, a 2019 protected first-round pick (1-12). Meanwhile, the Nets will swap second-round picks and will receive a 2020 second-round pick and Isaia Cordinier in the Atlanta deal for Lin, according to Wojnarowski.
In the Jeremy Lin deal, Atlanta sends the Nets the rights to 2016 second-round pick Isaia Cordinier (you'll probably never see him). Atlanta gets a 2025 second-round pick and the right to swap picks with Nets in 2023.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 13, 2018
The Denver deal worked in Brooklyn’s favor since the Nuggets wanted to make room in its cap for the 2018-19 season. In trading Faried and Arthur, Denver got rid of $21 million in salary on the deal potentially save $43 million in payroll and luxury tax this season, according to ESPN.
In Faried, Brooklyn gets not only a ‘manimal,’ but also wiggle room for the future. As has been made the priority in the buyout of Dwight Howard, the Nets are preparing to be big players in 2019 free agency. The 28-year-old Faried will be an unrestricted free agent come the 2019-20 season, which made the move to take on his $13.8 million contract for next season more attractive.
In the 2017-18 season, Faried played just 32 games after he fell out of the Nuggets’ rotation, averaging 5.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per game. Those numbers are below his career output, in which he has averaged 11.4 points and 8.2 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game. If Brooklyn can get a renewed performance out of the power forward, Faried can be a player who can help win games in a weakened East.
As for Arthur, the nine-year vet averaged 2.8 points in 19 games played for Denver last season. The forward brings more depth to the frontcourt and experience for Brooklyn. He will also be an unrestricted free agent in 2019 after his $7.5 million contract this season.
In the other move of the evening, Brooklyn lost a well-liked player who bought into the system in Lin. Through his injuries, Lin was always a team player, inviting players to his house for a BBQ and attending Summer League games this offseason. While the Nets will reportedly not keep Cordinier in the trade, the team gets rid of Lin’s $12.6 million contract and again leaves space for 2019 free agency.
Wojnarowski also noted in his report that D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie will be Brooklyn’s “primary point guards” this season. While Nets fans never got to feel the full “Lin-sanity” effect in Brooklyn, Lin will get a chance to stay healthy in Atlanta and continue to be a positive mentor for his team.
The Nets also lose a player in Whitehead who was key in his rookie season, as he filled in for Lin after his injury in the 2016-17 season. “The Cyclone” started 26 games that season and went on to spend a majority of his sophomore year as a strong point on the Long Island Nets. Over his Nets tenure, the guard averaged 7.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game and was ready in his role if called upon. According to Wojnarowski, Denver plans to waive Whitehead, upon which the third-year guard will become a free agent. Maybe Whitehead can be reunited with Brook Lopez and end up in Milwaukee, but we wish him the best of luck.
After the deals, Brooklyn currently has 14 players under contract with $2.6 million left in cap space. With Joe Harris’ contract, Brooklyn can exceed the cap due to the Early Bird exception, according to ESPN.
Marks may not be done in free agency yet, but these trades strengthen Brooklyn’s dedication to building in the future. Lin and Whitehead are two tough pieces to say goodbye to, but Marks got a strong return in both talent and future assets. It is all about 2019-20 for Brooklyn, and so far Marks is pressing the right buttons.