Brooklyn Nets – Off Season Report

brooklyn-nets2015/16 Record: 21-61 (Last in the Atlantic Division, 2nd last in the East)

Ins:

Jeremy Lin FA – 3 Years / $38.3m
Trevor Booker FA – 2 Year / $18.4m
Randy Foye FA – 1 Year / $2.5m
Luis Scola FA – 2 Years / $5.5m
Grevis Vasquez FA – 1 Year/$5m
Justin Hamilton FA – 2 Years/$6m
Anthony Bennett FA – 2 Years/$2.1m (Parial Guarantee)
Joe Harris FA – 2 Years/$2m (Parial Guarantee)
Caris LeVert DR – Pick #20
Isaiah Whitehead DR – Pick #42
Beau Beech FA – Undrafted
Egidijus Mockevicius FA – Undrafted
Yogi Ferrell FA – Undrafted

Outs:

Thad Young TR – Pacers
Henry Sims FA – Unsigned
Thomas Robinson FA – Unsigned
Willie Reed FA – Heat
Shane Larkin FA – Declined Player Option
Sergey Karasev FA – Unsigned
Wayne Ellington FA – Heat
Jarrett Jack FA – Hawks
Donald Sloan FA – China
Markel Brown FA – QO Rescinded

Off Season Analysis:

2019. 2019 is when the Nets are free of their future obligations to Boston.

The Brooklyn Nets are why modern GMs and owners are hesitant to make the swing for the fences trades. Because things couldn’t have gone worse for Brooklyn. With no superstar talent on the team and just one quick peak down at the outgoing future assets, Prokhorov’s attempt to buy a championship had and will continue to have long-lasting consequences until 2019. So what do you do if your rookie GM Sean Marks? You make the limited moves he just made with an eye firmly fixed on 2019, because poor Marks is effectively trying to run an organisation with one arm tied behind his back, carrying a few talented but injury prone players while a bunch of over the hill vets steal money from your pocket.

Ok, enough of the Brooklyn bashing; they have been receiving it for a while now. The moves Marks’ is making is all about crawling to 2019 (the only contracts on the books are Whitehead and LaVert, and the QO’s to RHJ and McCullough). In the era where stars are wanting to go to teams with established talent (looking at you KD), Brooklyn isn’t going to be securing the talents of franchise stars anytime soon. So what did he do instead:

  • Signed Lin for $12m year; all things considered this was an excellent signing. (I have to keep reminding myself Mozgov got paid $17m)
  • Made a splash for Tyler Johnson and Crabbe. (See below)
  • Traded arguably their second best player in Thad Young to Indy for the 20th Pick (significant overs, but which GM doesn’t when it comes to getting into the lottery… Just not for you Ainge)
  • Signing Booker to be your starting PF (hey this isn’t the greatest move, but remember, Mozgov got $17m and there was no way Horford was going to the Big Apple.)
  • Signed some respectable vets in Vasquez, Foye and Scola to cheap short-term contracts.
  • Waiving Jack before his 6.3m deal became fully guaranteed. He performed admirably in his 32 games but after D-Will the Nets don’t need another over the hill veteran PG.
  • Letting go/rescinding underperforming fringe players such as Sloan, Merkel and T-Robb.
  • Signing low risk, low ceiling guys; Bennett, Hamilton Harris et al, in the hope that one can turn into a rotational player.
  • Hired Kenny Atkinson as a head coach. Atkinson is universally lauded for his role as player development, receiving praise from Horford, Teague, Bazemore and Lin (who stated on JJ Redick’s podcast that he wouldn’t have signed with Brooklyn if Atkinson wasn’t coaching).

The play for Crabbe and Tyler Johnson was an interesting one by Marks. I liked it because as mentioned previously, Brooklyn have no guaranteed contracts in 2019. Why not ride out the wait to 2019 by overpaying some decent role players $125m? It is much easier to swallow paying Crabbe 17-19% of the cap as a Brooklyn fan when you have no one else to pay. Brooklyn was just unlucky (or lucky, lets see how the next 4 years pans out) that Paul Allen wanted to spend big and that Pat Riley didn’t feel compelled to honour Dwyane the same way Cuban honoured Dirk.

So how does all of the above translate into future planning for the Nets? Other than the obvious talent of Lin, Lopez, RHJ (and if I dare reach and include McCullough) the Nets team consists of cheap seasoned vets on short-term deals and low risk prospects. Then there is the cap space, expect Marks to be active in taking contracts at deadline Hinkie style (RIP), and just hope that Prokhorov doesn’t get nervous and swing for those fences again.

If Brooklyn’s vision for the next two seasons is to hope the vets can secure some W’s and appease the ferocious and unrelenting New York fan base (I just heard a collective ‘farkk you’ from 16,000 kms away) whilst providing structure and culture for the young talent in RHJ, McCullough and LaVert then Marks has done as well as any GM could hope. However it comes back to that date 2019. And that’s a long time in basketball.

Grade: C+

2016/17 Prediction: 26-56

League Pass Meter: 2/10 no stars, no solid youth movement, and a locker room devoid of questionable character guys means this isn’t going to be an exciting organisation to watch in 2016/17.

Depth Chart:

PG: Lin Vasquez Ferrell*
SG: Bogdanovic Foye Levert Whitehead         Harris
SF: Hollis-Jefferson Kilpatrick Beech*
PF: Scola Booker Bennett McCullough
C: Lopez Hamilton Mockevicius*

*Salary Guarantees 10th Jan 2017

Salary Cap Situation:

2016/17 Salaries: $76,770,305
2017/18 Salaries: $61,239,418

Max Room: $47m
Min Room: $33m

Future Assets:

Incoming:
2017 2nd (BOS) – If Boston exercises its rights to swap its 2017 pick with Brooklyn, 2017 2nd (IND Protected 45-60)

Outgoing:
2017 1st (BOS – swap, BOS incoming), 2017 2nd (ATL)
2018 1st (BOS)
2018 2nd (PHI or CHA)
2019 2nd (MEM)
2020 2nd (PHI)

2016/17 Questions:

Can Lopez, RHJ and LaVert remain injury free?

Can Lin thrive as a starting PG under Atkinson? Will he exceed his Charlotte per 36 numbers of 16.1ppg/ 4.4rbs/4.1asts?

Can Anthony Bennett ever replicate his Team Canada play in the NBA?

Did they draft LaVert and sign Harris because they have a full-time foot surgeon looking after Brook Lopez?

Will Prokhorov eventually honour his word and get married?

 

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