Offseason Outlook: Brooklyn Nets

Guaranteed Contracts

Non-Guaranteed Contracts


Restricted Free Agents/Cap Holds

Unrestricted Free Agents/Cap Holds

Draft Picks

  • 1st Round (29th overall)
  • 2nd Round (41st overall)

Cap Outlook

  • Guaranteed Salary: $58,678,533
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary: $3,891,323
  • Options: $28,299,441
  • Cap Holds: $12,179,703
  • Total: $103,049,000

Mikhail Prokhorov knows how to have a good time.  When he’s not counting his billions, the Nets owner is busy partying with “a phalanx of [20] beautiful women in the French Alps” or heli-skiing in Vancouver.  He also knows how to hit it off with NBA superstars, like Carmelo Anthony.  In 2011, the two met as the Nets were pushing Anthony (then with the Nuggets) to sign off on a trade sending him east and agree to a three-year extension.

It was a fantastic meeting, trust me,” Prokhorov told Darren Rovell of CNBC. “No words, live music, excellent atmosphere. We looked into each other’s eyes. Just real man talk.”

Mar 29, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA;  Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) goes to the basket against Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill (27) and forward Tarik Black (28) during the second half at Barclays Center. The Brooklyn Nets won 107-99.  Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

It might have been for the best in hindsight – that deal would have cost the Nets Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, and four first-round picks – but the man talk of the evening did not sway Melo.  Months later, the Nets parlayed Favors, Harris, and two first-round choices into Deron Williams, who would later be re-signed to a contract that stands as one of the worst in the NBA today.  Williams, Celtics stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Joe “Jesus” Johnson, and Brook Lopez were brought together to form one of the league’s best starting units, but the Nets didn’t get very far with that group.  In five years, Prokhorov’s Nets have employed four coaches and made zero conference finals appearances.

Prokhorov knows how to have a good time, but it remains to be seen if knows how to bring a championship to Brooklyn, especially with the purse strings pulled considerably tighter than they were two years ago.

There are several bad contracts on the Nets’ roster but Williams’ aforementioned deal is, without question, the most onerous of the bunch.  The guard is owed ~$43MM over the next two seasons and that’s a rate that would be high even if he reverted back to his Utah form.  Now, Williams is a temperamental veteran with two surgically-repaired ankles and the deal is an absolute albatross.  Nets GM Billy King claims that there is a market for Williams, but, frankly, that’s hard to imagine at this point, unless the Nets are willing to take back an equally bloated contract.  The Nets also aren’t interested in a buyout, and that will likely lead them to turn their attention to Williams’ backcourt mate.

Set to earn $24.9MM in 2015/16, Johnson doesn’t come cheap either.  However, with one less year and probably more quality basketball left in the tank, Johnson holds more trade value than Williams, if only by default.  Last season, Johnson averaged 14.4 PPG while shooting 43.5% from the floor and 35.9% from beyond the arc, all significant dips from his career averages.  That dip in production was reflected in his PER as well.  Johnson was never an efficiency darling outside of his best years in Atlanta, but his 14.1 PER in 2014/15 rates him as a below average player.  Much like Williams, any dispatching of Johnson will call for the Nets to take back a bad contract and get little else, if anything, in the way of value.

Brooklyn may be stuck with Williams and Johnson and, at this point, it seems a safe bet that they’ll be in black and white in October.  The same can’t be said for other Nets notables like Lopez, Thaddeus Young, and Mirza Teletovic.

Lopez is one of the most offensively gifted centers in the NBA when he’s healthy, but unfortunately he’s spent a ton of time on the sidelines in recent seasons.  In 2011-12, Lopez broke his right foot and missed the first 32 games of the lockout-shortened season and his return saw him play five games before a sprained ankle shut him down for good.  Two years later, a foot injury cut his season short after just 17 games.  The injury bug reared its head a bit again this past season, but Lopez mostly weathered the storm and played 72 games, averaging 17.2 PPG and 7.4 RPG in less than 30 minutes per game.  This summer, Lopez will have to decide whether to exercise his $16.74MM player option or to opt out in search of a long-term deal.   On one hand, Lopez might want to jump at a comfortable multi-year pact given his injury history.  On the other hand, a longer deal would preclude him from truly cashing in after the league’s next big TV contract.  It’s not hard to envision a scenario in which Lopez goes the safer route while staying put.  The 27-year-old could very well opt out of his deal and immediately sign a max-level contract with Brooklyn.

Young, by all accounts, has been rather happy in Brooklyn following the trade that sent him from the Timberwolves to the Nets. “It was the perfect situation for me, especially with me being good friends with Billy [King], just knowing him and him drafting me in Philly,” Young said.“So it was a good situation, plus they had the right mix of players for me and I felt like I could be a great complementary piece to a lot of guys on this team.”  Earlier this month, in his exit interview with the press, Young hinted to reporters that his agent, Jim Tanner, has advised him to opt in. Young’s option for 2015/16 would pay him $10.2MM and while he could get a longer deal, Tanner would like to see him wait until the summer of 2016 when the salary cap rises.

Teletovic is a restricted free agent this summer but he recently told the Bosnian press that his “desire” is to stay with the Nets.  Last season was a trying one for the sharpshooter as he was diagnosed with multiple blood clots in his lungs in January, ending his season early, save for three playoff appearances.  It was a year the 29-year-old would probably like to forget, but he expressed major gratitude towards the Nets for the medical care they provided him during that time.  That’s a critical issue for players, and as we saw with Luol Deng and the Bulls, it’s an issue that can make or break a relationship.  The Nets can match competing bids for Teletovic, who was averaging 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds across 40 games before he was shut down, if they tender a qualifying offer worth $4,210,125, and they intend to do so.

While Lopez and Young will wrestle with their decisions a bit, Alan Anderson already knows what he’s doing.  “I’m free,” Anderson said earlier this month, according to Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. “I mean, I would love to stay in Brooklyn, but I am a free agent. So I will be free.” The Nets will have Anderson’s Early Bird rights, so they’ll have some additional flexibility to re-sign him.  Still, they may only go so far to retain the veteran.  Anderson, like Lopez and Young, has until June 29th to make the call.

The Nets have publicly said they’re willing to go into the repeater tax to keep Lopez for next season and beyond, but there isn’t a ton of financial flexibility for them to work with this summer.  Normally, the Nets could find themselves a difference maker in the draft after finishing with a pedestrian 38-44 record, but the Johnson deal of 2012 calls for them to switch first-round picks with the Hawks, leaving them with the No. 29 selection rather than the No. 15 pick.

Even though it would create a logjam, the Nets might look to grab a point guard in the draft in order to get some foot speed back at the position.  With Williams and Jarrett Jack (who has had some very strong stretches in Brooklyn) at the one, the Nets were torched by Atlanta’s Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder in the playoffs.  The likes of Cameron Payne and Jerian Grant will probably go earlier in the draft – you know, where the Nets were supposed to pick – but other options like Delon Wright and Terry Rozier could be available.   The Nets can also be expected to target shooters given the uncertain futures of Teletovic and Anderson.  Eastern Washington’s Tyler Harvey might be a bit of a one-way player, but he knows how to score and he’ll likely be there at No. 29.

Whoever the Nets take with their first-round pick had better be solid considering their lack of draft choices going forward.  Brooklyn owes its 2016 and 2018 first-round picks to the Celtics thanks to the blockbuster deal of 2013 and the C’s can swap picks with the Nets in 2017.  The Nets can’t afford not to get this one right and, frankly, King will have to do better than he has in years past.

Cap Footnotes

1 — Clark receives a $200K guarantee if he remains under contract through October 26th.
2 — Morris receives a $25K guarantee if he remains under contract through July 1st.
3 — Brown receives a $100K guarantee if he remains under contract through July 1st, a $150K guarantee if he remains under contract through July 15th, a $200K guarantee if he remains under contract through September 1st, and a full guarantee if he remains under contract through September 29th.
4 — Jefferson receives a $100K guarantee if he remains under contract through July 1st and a full guarantee if he remains under contract through September 29th.
5 — The cap hold for Lopez if he opts out would be the lesser of $23,578,593 or the NBA’s maximum salary for a player with seven years of experience. It’s likely to be the latter.
6 — The cap hold for Young if he opts out would be $14,491,304.
7 — The cap hold for Anderson if he opts out would be $1,658,879.
8 — Jordan’s cap hold would be $947,276 if the Nets decline to tender a qualifying offer.
9 — See our glossary entry on cap holds for an explanation why these players listed in parentheses technically remain on the books.

The Basketball Insiders Salary Pages were used in the creation of this post. Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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