New York Notes: Nets, Thomas, Claxton, Knicks, Luxury Tax

The Nets find themselves in a bit of a pickle when it comes to deciding how to handle guard Cam Thomas‘ future with the club, says Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Thomas enjoyed a breakout season for the 32-50 Nets in 2023/24. His scoring improved markedly, from 10.6 points per game in 2022/23 to 22.5 PPG in ’23/24. The 6’4″ guard is owed $4MM on an expiring deal in 2024/25, but Brooklyn could ink him to a rookie scale extension this summer. Brooklyn could also take a wait-and-see approach to Thomas, allow him to hit restricted free agency next summer and then make a determination on how much he’s worth to them.

Lewis notes that Thomas also improved significantly as a facilitator, especially out of the pick-and-roll, though his pick-and-roll defense on the other end is somewhat troubling. He averaged 3.6 assists a game to close out the year after Kevin Ollie took over for Jacque Vaughn as interim head coach. He had averaged just 1.4 APG in his first two pro seasons.

“Just knowing that I could be doubled a lot more, coming off screens and stuff, or even in one-on-one situations, reading where the double will come from, seeing where teams double me, and the way teams double me,” Thomas said. “It’ll be reading, watching film and seeing where I can make quicker reads.”

There’s more out of the Big Apple:

  • The Nets want to re-sign free agent center Nic Claxton, but are hoping to not overpay him. In a separate piece, Lewis unpacks what is coloring Brooklyn’s thinking with regards to the big man’s next contract. Given that Claxton is probably the best center on the free agent market, bidding could get costly in a hurry.
  • Following a solid 50-32 finish in 2023/24 and another second-round appearance in the playoffs, the Knicks seem to be on the verge of finally returning to fringe contender status. Fred Katz of The Athletic unpacks some intriguing hypothetical trades, submitted by readers, that could possibly help New York reach the next level.
  • To truly contend, the Knicks will need to be open to paying the luxury tax going forward, argues Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. With Leon Rose at the helm of their front office over the past four seasons, the Knicks have yet to pay the tax. This summer, retaining 3-and-D forward OG Anunoby and starting center Isaiah Hartenstein, plus bringing back sharpshooting stretch four Bojan Bogdanovic, could move the team close to the NBA’s second luxury tax apron.
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