The Nets and Andrea Bargnani have begun negotiations on a buyout, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s no surprise, as Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports earlier this week identified the former No. 1 overall pick among those almost certain to end up doing buyouts if they weren’t traded by Thursday’s deadline. Bargnani is in the first season of a two-year contract for the minimum salary that includes a player option for next year, so the buyout talks have implications that are liable to affect Brooklyn’s cap flexibility for the summer ahead.
The 30-year-old Bargnani missed Friday’s game with an illness and today’s practice because of personal reasons, notes Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link). He was also out for the final two games before the All-Star break. The Nets have given him only 13.8 minutes per game, a career low by a wide margin, and with 6.6 points per outing, he’s in line to finish a season with a scoring average in the single digits for the first time.
The Leon Rose client essentially has until March 1st to strike a buyout deal. That’s the final day a player can hit waivers and retain eligibility to appear in the playoffs with another team. His nine-year veteran’s minimum salary for this season is $1,362,897, with $1,551,659 scheduled to come his way next season. The Nets have about $45MM in guaranteed salary on the books for 2016/17, not including Bargnani’s option. The cap for next season is estimated to come in at between $89MM and $95MM.