When confronted with the reality that the Nets can’t keep their “core four” and stay under the luxury, Billy King made no secret of the plan. “(We could) make a trade and bring back less in salary,” King said on June 3rd about the team’s summer goals.
Though he added that the team would pay the luxury tax to remain competitive, it’s clear that they’ll test the trade market this offseason in an attempt to shed salary.
So if it is indeed a summer of change, what’s the likelihood that their biggest names get traded? Here’s our thoughts on five of the team’s most tradable players.
Chances he gets traded: Joe Johnson.
Ryan Carbain: 50%. Trading Joe Johnson is synonymous with cap relief, but boring as it may be, a Joe Johnson post-up is probably the heart of this team’s offense, particularly when a team attacks the Williams-Lopez pick-and-roll. If a trade occurs, it happens near the deadline.
Devin Kharpertian: 80%. Two words: Expiring Contract. Johnson fits the mold of what the Nets need to deal: he takes up an absurd amount of the salary cap, he’s talented enough that he still might fetch value, and his giant expiring contract means that some team might be willing to take on his salary to get rid of future deals.
One idea is the Nets-Pelicans deal Ben detailed here. It makes a lot of sense for both sides: the Nets get younger and two players who can handle the ball, while Pelicans rid themselves of a duplicity in Evans & Jrue Holiday and free up even more space to surround the hitting-restricted-free-agency Anthony SuperBrow Davis with talent when Johnson’s contract expires.
Benjamin Nadeau: 60%. I’m a big believer in someone trying to take on Johnson’s large expiring with the salary cap spike looming. Hey, if Kris Humphries was a valuable trade piece, Joe Johnson will get you something. If the Nets are committed to getting younger, then Johnson is the most movable piece.
Chances he gets traded: Deron Williams.
Carbain: 40%. A team may take a chance here, but the combination of a max-level contract for an average starter production and a cupboard bare with draft picks makes this one a long shot.
Kharpertian: 10%. Remember that expiring contract of Joe Johnson’s that’s so valuable on the market? That’s the opposite for Williams, who has an option year in his deal worth over $22 million in 2016-17. It’s hard to imagine a team taking on that much extra salary in such an important free agency period, especially when the Nets can’t sweeten the pot with draft picks.
Nadeau: 40%. For better or for worse, I think the Nets are riding out the Williams train to the end. They might kick themselves for not considering the Plumlee/Kings trade. But. Perhaps. Maybe. Honestly. Sorta, kinda, hopefully, this is the year he… gets his mojo back? I can’t even bring myself to believably type it.
Chances he gets traded: Mason Plumlee.
Carbain: 70%. I don’t think they’ll trade him for nothing, but if they can get some help on the wing or move up in the draft, Devin may have typed his last !EELMULP NOSAM.
Kharpertian: 50%. Either they can use him to move up significantly in the draft and pick up another big man in the process, or they can’t. He’s also a piece they could use to sweeten a bigger deal, since he’s still on a rookie contract. But the Nets might value Plumlee more than the league does.
Also: !EELMULP NOSAM. Don’t tell me what I can’t do, Ryan.
Nadeau: 80%. Poor Plumlee. For all the overpaid, under-athletic players on the roster, it’s one of the team’s most athletic players on a rookie deal the Nets have had in Brooklyn that will probably get the boot. Even if Brook Lopez bolts, I think the Nets fully understand his limited abilities. Allegedly, they’re shopping him in an attempt to move up, and if there’s one thing Billy King does often, it’s dealing on draft day. It might hurt to move on from the Blue Devil, but if it allows the Nets to move up a considerable amount, it’s a scenario worth exploring.
Chances he gets traded: Jarrett Jack.
Carbain: 85%. The Nets will never be the type of team Hollins wants to see with the Jack-Williams PG pairing. Jeff Teague absolutely roasting the Nets in the playoffs underscores this point. One of the Williams/Jack combo has to go, and it’s probably going to be the one with more desirable contract.
Kharpertian: 60%. Jack is a good locker room guy, and despite his horrific on-off court numbers this year, has value in the NBA in the right system. That plus his palatable contract ($6.3 million, non-guaranteed after this year) make him one of the team’s more valuable trade chips. The issue with him is the same with Plumlee & Lopez: they’ll need to find someone who can capably back up their injury-riddled starter in Deron Williams.
Nadeau: 60%. Look, let’s not get caught up in pipe dreams here. I don’t really think the Nets can reasonably move both Jack and Williams this summer. But Jack might just be the more intriguing grab. He’s proven that he can hit big shots and is okay with an off-the-bench role. Lots of playoff teams could somebody like that. Memphis, maybe?
Chances he gets traded: Bojan Bogdanovic.
Carbain: 40% I’ll never say never, he’s probably the most attractive asset in a salary dump, but I think the team likes what it sees from the rookie.
Kharpertian: 20%. He’s a bit more expensive than the other rookies, but he’s also got the best track record, and a team could hope for a Year-1-To-Year-2 jump in shooting and playmaking. If they can match salaries, it’s a possibility, but I doubt he goes anywhere.
Nadeau: 0%. Pfffffttttttt. They’ll never trade him, right? He’s untouchable as they get right now, right? Wait, why are we even talking about this? Now I’m worried. The guys you least expect are typically the most likely candidate for Nets-related trades. Uh-oh. Don’t do it. Don’t make me cry.