Bruce Brown

Nets Confident About Extending Harden, Irving

The Nets completed one major piece of offseason business when they signed Kevin Durant to a four-year, maximum-salary contract extension worth nearly $198MM. Now, the team is shifting its focus to James Harden and Kyrie Irving, both of whom are extension-eligible too.

Speaking today to reporters, general manager Sean Marks said the Nets have engaged with both star guards about new deals and are “confident” that they’ll get something done before training camp begins in late September (Twitter link via Malika Andrews of ESPN).

It’s unclear if Brooklyn will simply put long-term, maximum-salary offers on the table for Harden and Irving, as the team did for Durant, or if more extensive negotiations will be required.

The largest possible extensions for the two stars would work out to $161MM over three years for Harden (starting in 2023/24) and a projected $186.6MM over four years for Irving (starting in 2022/23), according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Marks admitted today that he thought restricted free agent Bruce Brown might get a big offer sheet from another team that would make life difficult for the Nets (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post). However, Brown – who accepted his one-year, $4.7MM qualifying offer – told him that “the job wasn’t done” in Brooklyn.
  • While he acknowledged that the roster could look a little different in a month or two, Marks said the plan is “definitely” for DeAndre Jordan to be part of the team moving forward (Twitter link via Lewis).
  • The Nets made defense a priority in free agency, according to Marks (Twitter link via Lewis). Lewis wrote about that subject in more depth for The New York Post, noting that in addition to re-signing Brown, the team brought in Jevon Carter, DeAndre’ Bembry, and James Johnson.
  • Marks pointed to rebounding as an issue the Nets still need to address, whether via a roster addition or internally (Twitter link via Lewis).

Atlantic Notes: McBride, Brown, Siakam, Achiuwa

The contract that rookie point guard Miles McBride signed with the Knicks covers three years, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Instagram video link). Marks reports that the first two seasons in the deal are guaranteed, while the third is a team option. The team used cap room to complete the signing.

McBride, 20, was selected with the No. 36 pick out of West Virginia. The 6’2″ guard was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team for the 2020/21 season, his sophomore year. During his final collegiate season, McBridge averaged 15.9 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 3.9 RPG, on a .431/.414/.813 shooting line.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Do-everything Nets guard Bruce Brown drew outside interest as a free agent but said that he always knew he wanted to remain in Brooklyn, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link). Brown, 24, opted to accept a one-year, $4.7MM qualifying offer from the Nets, and will be an unrestricted free agent next season. “I really didn’t pay it any mind, honestly,” Brown said of the decision to remain in Brooklyn, per Tom Dowd of “I thought everything would take care of itself. I really was just working out the whole time, and then when free agency started, I actually was on the plane back to New York. So I didn’t really talk to anybody until I landed. I’m just happy to be back. It’s a great fit. I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”
  • Appearing on Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto, Raptors general manager Bobby Webster downplayed ongoing rumblings about a potential impending Pascal Siakam trade. “Teams call on our players and we call on other teams’ players,” Webster said, per Steven Loung of Sportsnet (Twitter link).
  • New Raptors big man Precious Achiuwa, acquired as part of the sign-and-trade that sent point guard Kyle Lowry to the Heat, is excited to contribute however he can to a winning culture with Toronto, writes Neil Davidson of The Toronto Star“Rebounding,” Achiuwa said, explaining what he brings to the team. “Guarding multiple positions. Creating offense for my teammates with screens, pick-and-rolls. Passing the ball. Just whatever it takes to win basketball games. Getting loose balls… For me, it’s all about winning.” During his rookie season in Miami, Achiuwa averaged 5.0 PPG and 3.4 RPG in 12.1 MPG after being selected 20th overall in the 2020 draft.

Bruce Brown Accepts Qualifying Offer From Nets

AUGUST 8: Brown is officially back under contract with the Nets, the team announced today in a press release.

AUGUST 3: Bruce Brown will remain with the Nets after opting to accept a $4.7MM qualifying offer, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The news was confirmed by Brown’s agent, Ty Sullivan of CAA.

The one-year offer made Brown a restricted free agent, which would have limited his options on the open market. He will be unrestricted next summer as a result of accepting his qualifying offer.

Brooklyn holds Bird rights on the third-year combo guard and can work out a long-term deal. If the team were to trade Brown during the 2021/22 league year, he’d lose those Bird rights, so he’ll have the power to veto any trade involving him until he becomes a free agent in 2022.

Brown, 24, became a part-time starter in his first season with the Nets after being acquired from the Pistons in an offseason trade. He started 37 of the 65 games he played, averaging 8.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per night while playing tough, versatile defense for Brooklyn.

Brown is one of two Nets free agents who has agreed to return to the team so far, joining Blake Griffin.

Nets Issuing Qualifying Offer To Bruce Brown

The Nets are tendering a qualifying offer to Bruce Brown, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). The procedural move will ensure that Brown is a restricted free agent this summer.

Brown, who will turn 25 next month, played an important role for the Nets in 2020/21 after being acquired last fall from Detroit. He averaged 8.8 PPG and 5.4 RPG on .556/.288/.735 shooting in 65 games (22.3 MPG) and played tough, versatile defense for Brooklyn.

Because he met the starter criteria, Brown’s qualifying offer is worth approximately $4.7MM. If he accepts that one-year offer, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent in 2022, but he’s more likely to negotiate a new multiyear deal with the Nets or a rival suitor. Brooklyn would have the ability to match any offer sheet Brown signs with another team.

[RELATED: 2021 NBA Offseason Preview: Brooklyn Nets]

The Nets hold Brown’s Bird rights, so they won’t face any cap restrictions when it comes to re-signing him — it will simply be a matter of how much further into tax territory team ownership is willing to go.

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Nets Free Agents, Nets Assistants, Stevens

After the Sixers suffered through a seven-game second-round playoff exit as the top seed, head coach Doc Rivers has stated that the club will address the shooting struggles of All-Star Ben Simmons during the offseason, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

“I believe, without going into detail with what we’re doing, I believe we know what the right work is, and the right type of work, and the right way to do it,” Rivers said of the Sixers’ plan for Simmons. “We’re not hiding that Ben has to become a better free throw shooter and a more confident free throw shooter.”

During the playoffs this season, Simmons connected on just 34.2% of his 6.1 free throw attempts per game, and attempted one total three-pointer. The Sixers guard was timid in looking to score late in games. He had just three fourth-quarter field goal attempts in the entire series, fewer than role players Dwight Howard, Matisse Thybulle, George Hill, Tyrese Maxey, and Furkan Korkmaz.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Several key Nets players will be free agents during the 2021 offseason, prompting Michael Scotto of HoopsHype to project the market value for the likes of Spencer Dinwiddie, Blake Griffin, Bruce Brown and Jeff Green. The league executives Scotto spoke with speculated that Dinwiddie is looking to leave Brooklyn and will hope to command an annual salary in the “high teens.” Rival NBA executives peg the value of both Griffin and Green as ranging anywhere from the bi-annual exception to the taxpayer mid-level exception. Because Brown is a restricted free agent, the Nets will be able to match any offer sent his way. Executives project Brown to net a yearly salary between $4-7MM.
  • The Nets might not just be undergoing some changes on the hardwood. Their sideline may look a bit different for the 2021/22 season too, as many assistants are in the running for the seven currently available NBA head coaching jobs, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Berman writes that assistant coach Mike D’Antoni appears to be a finalist for the Trail Blazers head coaching gig, while fellow assistant coach Ime Udoka is in the running for the Celtics’ vacancy.
  • For the first time, Celtics team president Brad Stevens has discussed his decision to trade point guard Kemba Walker and two picks to the Thunder in exchange for Moses Brown, old friend Al Horford, and a 2023 second-round draft pick, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN“The ability to make our wings (All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown) better is going to be a huge part of the people that will be around them,” Stevens said Monday in explaining the thinking behind the deal. Stevens, of course, coached Walker for two injury-plagued seasons before moving into the front office earlier this month. Stevens also cited future finances as a consideration in his decision.

Nets Notes: Harden, Brown, Griffin, Dinwiddie

The Nets‘ plan to build a championship team around three stars was derailed by injuries, writes Malika Andrews of ESPN. Brooklyn pulled off a bold trade in January to acquire James Harden from Houston and combine him with 2019 free agent additions Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but Brooklyn’s Big Three were rarely all healthy at the same time. With the season on the line against Milwaukee Saturday night, Irving was out with a sprained ankle and Harden was limited by a strained hamstring.

“I still thought we could win it,” coach Steve Nash said. “And clearly, I think we proved tonight that we could. Game could have gone either way. You always know there’s a chance. Anything can happen. I think we just faced one too many obstacles this year. Because our guys gave everything they had.”

Harden, who hurt the hamstring in the opening minute of Game 1 and didn’t return until Game 5, revealed that he had been playing with a Grade 2 strain that limited his mobility. He missed nearly a month during the regular season with an injury to the same hamstring.

“Me, personally, like, it’s frustrating,” said Harden, who played all 53 minutes Saturday. “Just being durable and being myself for the last so many postseasons and dealing with this particular hamstring, I’m frustrated. We did everything we could towards the end. Just frustrated, but give the Bucks credit. They fought until the end, had a hell of a series. We just came up short.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Bruce Brown, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, expressed interest in returning to Brooklyn next season, Andrews adds. Unrestricted free agents Jeff Green and Blake Griffin both said they need time to recover before thinking about the future, but they enjoy playing for the Nets. “I’m still happy with my decision,” Griffin, who signed with Brooklyn after reaching a buyout with the Pistons, told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “This was obviously a tough loss, and not where we’re expected to be. But injuries are part of the game, things happen. Being without James for four games and then having him on one leg … (it’s) a messed up situation.”
  • Durant, Harden and Irving will all be eligible to sign extensions of up to four years during the offseason, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Brooklyn will have to determine how much money it wants to commit to the trio, and each player will have to decide whether to take the security now or seek more money when they can opt out in 2022.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie has until Monday to make a decision on his $12.3MM player option for next season, Marks adds. Dinwiddie has indicated that he will turn down the option and pursue free agency, and Marks believes he’ll get at least that much on the open market. The veteran guard played just three games this season because of a partially torn ACL, but his rehab has gone well and he talked about possibly playing if the Nets had reached the NBA Finals.

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Celtics, Raptors, Knicks, Lillard

Nets guard Bruce Brown has proven to be a key role player for a stacked Brooklyn club, write Alex Schiffer and Seth Partnow of The Athletic in a detailed examination. Brown is hitting his stride just in time for him to reach restricted free agency this summer.

Brown has proven invaluable as the starting shooting guard in the stead of the injured James Harden during Brooklyn’s series against the Bucks so far. On the floor, Brown has flashed significant positional versatility for the Nets, beyond just functioning as a shooting guard. His help as a short-rolling center in the pick-and-roll has unlocked a variety of offensive opportunities for his teammates.

“It kind of evolved in front of us,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said of Brown’s transition from defensive-oriented wing to frequent pick-and-roll center. “We asked him to pick at times because he can bring up a defender that was more favorable, and then he became surprisingly such a good roller and adept at it that we encouraged it and pushed for it.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • With new Celtics team president Brad Stevens now in charge of finding his own replacement as head coach, there are several possible internal hires he could consider, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Assistant coaches Jay Larranaga, Jerome Allen, Scott Morrison and Joe Mazzulla have all interviewed for the vacant head coaching gig so far, prompting Weiss to take a closer look at Boston’s in-house options.
  • This summer, there will be a variety of free agents who could serve as quality fits with the Raptors, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Shoring up the club’s frontcourt appears to be a top priority for Koreen, as big men Richaun Holmes, Jarrett Allen, and John Collins, Nerlens Noel and Daniel Theis rank highly on Koreen’s list of candidates.
  • After an encouraging return to the playoffs this season, the Knicks could be in the market for a point guard upgrade. Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic considers whether Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard could be a realistic trade target for New York. Whether or not Portland would even be interested in dealing their All-NBA point guard for a trade package from the Knicks is another matter.

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Griffin, Simmons, Raptors

With James Harden sidelined, Bruce Brown‘s role has expanded and the Nets guard is thriving, Peter Botte of the New York Post writes. Brown blanketed Khris Middleton while piling up 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in Brooklyn’s Game 2 blowout of the Bucks on Monday. “Bruce just comes in and plays extremely hard,” Kevin Durant said. Brown’s value is rising at an opportune time, as he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Blake Griffin, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, continued his resurgence with another strong defensive outing against Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 2, Brian Lewis of the New York Post notes. The Nets big man only took four shots, making three, after his 18-point, 14-rebound performance in Game 1. “He always plays with that good energy, fire to him,” Brown said. “They counted him out at the beginning of this year, so he’s got something to prove.”
  • Sixers coach Doc Rivers has compiled a series of video clips to demonstrate to the league that Ben Simmons doesn’t get a fair shake when guarding smaller players, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “You should never be penalized for playing straight, solid, legal, physical defense,” Rivers said. Rivers has an ulterior motive to lobby for Simmons since the Sixers would prefer to have him guard the Hawks’ top scorer, Trae Young, during the conference semifinals.
  • The Raptors have enough versatile defenders to get by without a traditional center, Eric Koreen of The Athletic argues. Finding a big man with athleticism and agility should be the priority, with a free agent such as JaMychal Green, Daniel Theis, Richaun Holmes or Nerlens Noel filling that need.

Nets Notes: Harden, Brown, Green, Kidd

James Harden played in 128 postseason games during his time with the Thunder and Rockets, but he sees this year’s Nets team as his best chance to win an NBA title, writes Adam Zagoria of Forbes.

Harden is a former MVP and a nine-time All-Star, but he has developed a reputation for coming up short in the playoffs. Many of his losses came against loaded teams like the Warriors and Lakers, but now he’s part of an immensely talented team in Brooklyn.

“Obviously, there’s only a handful of teams that have an opportunity,” Harden said. “And we’re one of those teams this year. So the excitement is there, but I think just the focus is the most important thing for myself. And just trying to rub that focus level and that engagement to detail into every one of my teammates.”

There’s more on the Nets:

  • Bruce Brown is ready for the challenge of trying to slow down the Bucks, who were the NBA’s top scoring team during the regular season, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The defensive specialist will match up with Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton during the series and may be called on to help with Giannis Antetokounmpo.“It’s three-level scorers that can do a little bit of everything, get everybody involved. No team’s been better offensively this year, so really we’re just trying to be physical with them and try to limit their game,” Brown said. “We know what Giannis can do, we know what they can do, so try to be physical and try to limit their opportunities and make it tough.”
  • Jeff Green has been ruled out for tonight’s Game 1 with a left plantar fascia strain, but the Nets are hoping he’ll be available later in the series, Lewis adds in a separate story. Coach Steve Nash said the team considers Green day-to-day. “Just gonna continue to monitor it and then over the course of the next two, three days, hopefully get a clearer picture,” Nash said. “He’s working out. … I shouldn’t comment on that because in case I get it wrong, but I definitely see him with our strength and conditioning team and performance team, doing his thing.”
  • With Jason Kidd being considered for head coaching jobs in Portland and possibly Boston, Howie Kussoy of The New York Post looks at what went wrong during his time in charge of the Nets and Bucks and how both franchises became successful after he left.

Nets Notes: Free Agency, James, Fans, Tsai

Nets GM Sean Marks said the team’s success or failure in the playoffs will impact how he handles free agent decisions, Joe Makar of Nets Republic tweets.

“We need to be focused on the task at hand,” Marks said. “If the team lives up to expectations, we might have some easy decisions. If not, we might have to refocus elsewhere.”

Bruce Brown can be a restricted free agent this offseason, while Blake Griffin, Jeff Green, Tyler Johnson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot are among the group of players who will be unrestricted free agents.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Mike James can also become a restricted free agent, though he’d have to work out an agreement with CSKA Moscow to remain in the NBA. Brooklyn would like to hold onto the point guard, who averaged 7.7 PPG and 4.2 APG in 13 games after he was added on two 10-day contracts, then a rest-of-the-season deal, relays. “I will tell you that I really like Mike and I would like to have him with us in the years to come,” director of player personnel J.R. Holden said to Greece’s Gazzetta.
  • More fans will be allowed into Barclays Center for the postseason and there will be vaccinated and unvaccinated sections, Malika Andrews of ESPN tweets. Fans will have to pay more for tickets in the unvaccinated sections, according to team CEO John Abbamondi. “We are not neutral, we want people to get vaccinated,” he said.
  • Owner Joe Tsai was pleasantly surprised how the team transformed from an also-ran to an up-and-coming team to the Eastern Conference favorites in a short period of time, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “In hindsight this ‘process’ was brilliant, but I certainly didn’t see it coming at the time,” he said.