Taurean Prince

Nets Notes: Irving, Prince, Cordinier

The Nets are a far more high-profile team this season than they were a year ago, thanks to the offseason additions of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. However, as Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press writes, this year’s team still appears to be on a similar level as last year’s, which finished with a modest 42-40 record.

While Brooklyn once again looks good enough to be competitive in just about every game, that doesn’t necessarily mean the team win a ton of those games. Still, as Mahoney relays, head coach Kenny Atkinson is optimistic that there’s room for the Nets to improve.

“We have three new starters and we’re still working through getting on the same page,” Atkinson said. “You say well, that’s your job, to get it done. And we’re working towards that. We’re not there yet.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, sources close to Kyrie Irving expressed frustration with an ESPN report claiming that the point guard’s “mood swings” were a cause for concern among Nets officials. As Vardon writes, Irving wants the focus this season to be what he does on the court, rather than anything he says or does off of it.
  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post takes an in-depth look at why Taurean Prince may appreciate his new two-year, $29MM contract extension with the Nets more than an average NBA player would.
  • The Nets have six draft-and-stash players under team control, and while many of them likely won’t ever play in the NBA, Net Income of NetsDaily is keeping an eye on the group, just in case it features any gems. NetsDaily’s latest check-in includes a look at 22-year-old Isaia Cordinier, who is playing for a new club in France after joining Brooklyn’s Summer League team in July.

Hollinger’s Latest: Aldridge, Murray, Prince

Former Grizzlies executive John Hollinger is now working for The Athletic, where he’ll have the opportunity to pass along under-the-radar cap- and contract-related notes from around the league. He did just that in a “Cap Geekery” column today, so let’s round up a few of the highlights…

  • Marc Stein of The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the Spurs have guaranteed LaMarcus Aldridge‘s full $24MM salary for the 2020/21 season, but Hollinger says the team has actually just moved up his guarantee date to January 1, 2020. Assuming Hollinger’s info is accurate, that means Aldridge’s ’20/21 salary won’t officially become guaranteed for a couple more months, which should effectively have the same result — it’s not as if San Antonio will release him before then.
  • According to Hollinger, Dejounte Murray‘s new extension with the Spurs includes three separate annual incentives worth a total of $1.5MM. Murray can earn those three bonuses if he posts a true shooting percentage of 58 or higher ($500K), makes at least 125 three-pointers in a season ($500K), and makes an All-Defense team ($500K). Those first two incentives would require him to become a significantly more effective shooter, but the All-Defense bonus may be more realistic — he has already made the team once.
  • Taurean Prince can earn a $334,375 annual bonus on his new contract with the Nets if the team posts a defensive rating of 105 or better in his minutes, per Hollinger. Prince can also receive another $334,375 annually if he attempts at least 7.6 three-pointers per 36 minutes and makes at least 41.5% of those tries, Hollinger adds. Prince’s extension reportedly maxes out at $29MM over two years.

Nets Sign Taurean Prince To Two-Year Extension

Before even playing a regular season game for the Nets, Taurean Prince has been locked up for an additional two years by the club.

Prince’s agent, Steve Heumann of CAA Sports, tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) that the forward has agreed to a two-year, $29MM extension with Brooklyn. The Nets have put out a press release confirming that the move is official.

The acquisition of Prince was somewhat overlooked during a busy Nets offseason — he was part of the return in a trade that sent Allen Crabbe and two first-round picks to Atlanta. In addition to clearing the cap space necessary to land both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, that deal netted Prince, who’s coming off a couple solid seasons with the Hawks.

Since the start of the 2017/18 campaign, Prince has averaged 13.9 PPG and 4.3 RPG with a .431/.387/.834 shooting line in 137 regular season games (29.3 MPG). The 25-year-old was Brooklyn’s leading scorer in the preseason, knocking down 16-of-23 attempts from beyond the arc. While he won’t match that 69.6% rate in the regular season, the Nets will count on him to space the floor on offense.

Although he hasn’t been with the franchise for long, Prince already appears to be sold on Brooklyn. He told Brian Lewis of The New York Post last week that he was hoping to sign a rookie scale extension.

I want to be here as long as I can. And whatever happens, happens, but I’m just happy to play good basketball,” Prince said. “One hundred percent, yeah. For sure. This is the best organization I’ve been in.”

With Prince on the books for 2020/21, the Nets now project to have at least $135MM in team salary next year, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN.com. That doesn’t take into account team options for Garrett Temple and others, or cap holds for possible first-round picks and free agents like Joe Harris, so Brooklyn’s roster could get quite expensive if the team wants to keep it together.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eastern Notes: Oladipo, McCaw, Richardson, Prince

Victor Oladipo will begin participating in some full-contact 5-on-5 half-court scrimmages in the coming days but he still has more hurdles to clear before he’ll return to action, Tyler Kraft and Nathan Brown of the Indianapolis Star report. The Pacers have yet to announce a target date for the star guard, who suffered a ruptured quad tendon last season.

“He’s been doing some things 1-on-1,” Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said. “But this is a good sign. They’re going slowly to try to work him into being able to go every day, but it’s good news to know he’ll be able to participate in that first part of practice.”

We have more Eastern Conference news:

  • Raptors swingman Patrick McCaw had an MRI on his left knee which revealed no structural damage, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. McCaw suffered the injury during a preseason game last weekend. The Raptors re-signed McCaw to a two-year deal in July.
  • The Sixers were interested in acquiring Josh Richardson last season from the Heat before they traded for Jimmy Butler, Michael Lee of The Athletic reports. The Sixers were open to being a third party when the Heat were in trade talks with the Timberwolves for Butler with Philadelphia targeting Richardson. When those talks collapsed, the Sixers eventually worked out a trade for Butler. Those two swingmen were the main components of the sign-and-trade this summer when Butler agreed to join Miami.
  • Forward Taurean Prince is hopeful that he can reached an extension agreement with the Nets prior to Monday’s deadline, as he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension. “I want to be here as long as I can. And whatever happens, happens, but I’m just happy to play good basketball,” Prince said. “One hundred percent, yeah. For sure. This is the best organization I’ve been in.”

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, Brown, Dinwiddie, Prince

Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun writes that while Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry has now spent seven full seasons in Toronto and helped the team bring home its first championship last season, the 33-year-old’s future after this season is up in the air.

Lowry will turn 34 in March, which means that Father Time will be creeping in to add some slippage sooner rather than later. Wolstat suggests that Chauncey Billups is a decent comparable to Lowry and that Billups, also a five-time All-Star, made his last All-Star appearance at age 33.

The Raptors need to add some young talent around Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet, eight years Lowry’s junior, also will be looking for a new, more lucrative deal with the Raptors this summer.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston reports that Celtics guard Jaylen Brown is looking to hire an agent for the first time in his NBA career to represent him in negotiations with Boston on what Brown hopes will be a long-term deal that’ll keep him with the Celtics.
  • Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie sent out an interesting tweet in response to the NBA’s latest take on his plan to convert his contract into a digital investment vehicle. Per Marc Stein of The New York Times, an NBA spokesperson says Dinwiddie’s arrangement “remains prohibited by the CBA,” to which Dinwiddie replied, “This won’t end well lol.”
  • Nets forward Taurean Prince is making a case for a rookie-scale extension, especially with his preseason performance against SESI France Basquete, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Prince, who has been praised all summer by teammates, led the team with 22 points. “It’s just proof that the work I’ve put in and that the coaches have put in and the things we’ve been doing as a team have been working. I’m glad we’ve been able to transfer it over to the game.”

Nets Notes: Dinwiddie, Chandler, Kurucs, Prince

The NBA has nixed Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie‘s plan to turn his contract into an investment tool, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports.

Dinwiddie wanted to enable investors to essentially buy shares of his three-year, $34.4MM contract. He would have allowed investors, who would have paid a minimum of $150K, to bet on whether he would secure an even more lucrative contract after the second year of his deal. The NBA ruled that such an arrangement is prohibited by the CBA, since ‘no player shall assign or otherwise transfer to any third party his right to receive compensation from the team under his uniform player contract.'”

Dinwiddie plans to meet with league officials to further describe the concept and try to convince them to reverse the ruling.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Forward Wilson Chandler is apologetic over his performance-enhancing drug-related suspension, as he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Chandler was suspended 25 games by the league in August after he signed a veteran’s minimum deal with the Nets. “This has definitely affected me in a negative way, disheartening,” Chandler said. “Definitely wish I could take it back, but I can’t now, so I just try to move forward.”
  • Forward Rodions Kurucs refused to answer questions regarding allegations that he assaulted his girlfriend under the advice of legal counsel but he said the team has supported him during his legal battle, Lewis writes in the same story. “Yeah for sure, guys reached out. They were just so supportive. I know they have family [atmosphere] here,” he said. “So I always know that they’ve got my back and they are always here for me to talk or I can trust them 100 percent.”
  • Forward Taurean Prince wants to be the team’s defensive stopper, according to Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily. Prince, a restricted free agent next summer, was acquired from the Hawks in the Allen Crabbe deal. Prince was slowed by ankle injury last season. “I think my first two years I was definitely on my way to being a great defender,” Prince said. “There was an injury situation halfway through the season – came back a little too early. I played pretty much hurt the last 25-30 games. I never made an excuse, but now I’m 100% healthy. I’m going to demand guarding every All-Star we play, every best player on the floor at every time, no matter the position.”

Spencer Dinwiddie Talks Investments, Tampering, Nets’ Season

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie will become the first NBA player to turn his player contract into a digital investment vehicle, giving up some future income on his three-year, $34MM+ deal in order to secure a lump sum payment up front. Dinwiddie is confident that the NBA and the Players’ Association will approve the measure.

“What are they going to do, try and stop me? I mean, they could try,” Dinwiddie said (via Brian Lewis of The New York Times). “Then they’d have to have legal standing to do so. Do you really want to do that? Because wouldn’t that be bad PR for them to do that? I would think”

Dinwiddie went on to explain that he isn’t creating a new currency. “I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel and create a new bitcoin; this is different,” he said. “… I will say this, though: It solves some of the league’s fan engagement issue. It does do that.”

The 26-year-old also touched on tampering in the NBA, something that will have new consequences for as a result of last Friday’s Board of Governors’ meeting. Dinwiddie openly wondered whether it’s a coincidence that the league’s increased focus on tampering comes after teams like his own were big winners in free agency.

“You mean when non-traditional powers like the Nets and the Clippers win?” Dinwiddie added. “What you’re saying is, if it’d been the Lakers and the Knicks that won it wouldn’t be a problem, but because it’s the Clippers and the Nets that won it’s an issue?”

The Nets landed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer and Dinwiddie played a role in the recruitment. Brooklyn will have many new faces next season, including Taurean Prince, who came to the team via a trade with the Hawks.

“He’s going to be a pleasant surprise, somebody a lot of people are discounting,” Dinwiddie said of Prince. “[He] can really, really, really shoot it.”

Nets Notes: Carmelo, LeVert, Prince, LiAngelo

In an interview with TMZ (video link), Carmelo Anthony offers little insight into a report last week that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are campaigning for the Nets to sign him. Anthony is close with the two stars and played with them, as well as new Brooklyn center DeAndre Jordan, on the 2016 Olympic team.

“That’s family,” Anthony said. “So, that’s bigger than basketball. If something happens, something’s gonna happen.”

A source told Frank Isola of The Athletic that Nets GM Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson have watched Anthony this summer and are considering adding him to the team. Brooklyn has a full roster, but will be able to sign a player once Wilson Chandler serves five games of his 25-game PED suspension. Anthony’s representatives have spoken to the Sixers as well, according to Isola.

There’s more this morning from Brooklyn:

  • Fresh off signing a three-year, $52.5MM extension, Caris LeVert tells Bill Bender of The Sporting News that his next goal is to become one of the NBA’s best players. He also believes the Nets are ready to join the league’s elite teams after their success in free agency. “When you get guys like KD, Kyrie and DeAndre, expectations rise,” he said. “We’re looking forward to that. We’ve been working for that. I think everybody loves playing on a big stage. We’re definitely looking forward to this year and the challenges it’s going to bring.”
  • Taurean Prince was a less celebrated addition for the Nets, but he could play an important role in making the team a contender, writes David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders. Brooklyn agreed to acquire Prince from the Hawks before the start of free agency, so he got to enjoy watching the team’s success in free agency. He called being traded “bittersweet,” but said he’s eager to be part of a rising power in Brooklyn. “I’m someone who wants to win more than they want to score,” Prince said. “My big thing is getting to the playoffs and being able to play in those type of opportunities and environment.”
  • LiAngelo Ball claims the Nets were one of three teams that talked to him about a possible Summer League role, relays Ralph Orense of ClutchPoints. On an episode of “Ball in the Family,” Ball says the Thunder and Heat also expressed interest.

Nets Notes: Kurucs, Prince, LeVert, Luxury Tax

Finding a power forward who can score from the perimeter won’t be a concern for the Nets during the 2020/21 season, but they’ll need someone to contribute until Kevin Durant recovers from an Achilles injury. Jason Max Rose of NetsDaily examines Brooklyn’s options, with the focus on Rodions Kurucs and Taurean Prince.

Kurucs, 21, is a holdover at the position after starting 46 games last year. He averaged 8.5 PPG and put up shooting numbers of 45/31/78 in what was essentially his first full professional season. He excels at passing and cutting, Rose observes, and works hard on defense. The biggest concern about his game has been rebounding, but reporters who saw him at Summer League said he has added weight and looks stronger.

Acquired in a July trade with the Hawks, Prince’s rebounding numbers last season were even worse than Kurucs, but he makes up for it with a better offensive game. He shot a career-best 39% from 3-point range and should get more opportunities to score from long distance under Nets coach Kenny Atkinson.

There’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • This week’s rookie scale extension for Caris LeVert is more evidence that the Nets are willing to spend big to build a winner, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Ownership gave LeVert $52.5MM over the next three years and pushed its summer spending past $400MM after landing Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan in free agency.
  • LeVert’s extension almost guarantees that the Nets will be a taxpaying team in 2020/21, salary cap expert Albert Nahmad writes for SNY.tv. Brooklyn already has $122MM in salary committed to nine players for that season, and Nahmad estimates the team will be about $15MM below the tax line when deciding whether to re-sign Prince and Joe Harris. He adds that Nets are unlikely to pay the tax this season, meaning a repeater tax won’t be a concern until 2023/24. They will probably exceed the apron in 2021/22 when an expected extension for Jarrett Allen would take effect.
  • Stefan Weissenboeck, who serves as Brooklyn’s unofficial shooting coach, will be back for another season, according to Yanir A. Rubenstein of NetsDaily. Weissenboeck is an assistant coach in the German league, but provides tips to the Nets through videos and occasional trips to the United States. “I’m happy about the trust they put in me, and I love the job,” he said.

Hawks Acquire Allen Crabbe In Trade With Nets

JULY 6: A month after it was agreed upon, the Nets have officially traded Crabbe to the Hawks along with the No. 17 pick (Nickeil Alexander-Walker) and a lottery-protected first-round pick in exchange for Prince and the Hawks’ 2021 second-rounder, according to press releases from both teams.

Brooklyn will, of course, use its cap room to sign Irving and Durant.

JUNE 6: The Nets and Hawks have agreed to a trade that will send Allen Crabbe, the No. 17 pick in the 2019 draft, and a lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick to Atlanta in exchange for Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round pick, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

The move will allow the Nets to clear more than $17MM from their books for the 2019/20 season by swapping Crabbe’s expiring $18.5MM deal for Prince’s ($3.48MM) and clearing the cap hold for the No. 17 pick. That will put Brooklyn on track to enter the offseason with more than $47MM in cap space. The Nets will now have a clearer path to creating two maximum-salary cap slots if they’re willing to renounce D’Angelo Russell‘s cap hold.

[RELATED: Latest On D’Angelo Russell]

The fact that the Nets were willing to agree to move Crabbe so early in the offseason signals that they have big plans for that extra cap room, which is particularly intriguing given the recent rumors linking Kyrie Irving to Brooklyn. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Irving is “serious” about the Nets, and Brooklyn is looking to beat out the Knicks and the rest of the NBA for top free agents this summer.

If Russell is renounced, the Nets would have enough cap space for Irving and another maximum-salary free agent, unless that player has 10+ years of NBA experience (like Kevin Durant). In that scenario, the club would have to make one more modest cost-cutting move.

Besides creating extra cap flexibility, the Nets also pick up a solid young wing with three-and-D potential in Prince. The 25-year-old has averaged 13.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 2.4 APG with a .431/.387/.834 shooting line in 137 games (29.3 MPG) over the last two seasons in Atlanta. He’s extension-eligible this offseason and will be a restricted free agent in 2020 if he doesn’t get a new deal.

From the Hawks’ perspective, acquiring Crabbe in exchange for Prince and their 2021 second-round pick will allow them to pick up two extra first-round selections, which could be used to add two more young prospects to their core or could be dangled in subsequent trade discussions.

Atlanta is now armed with three top-20 picks in the 2019 draft (Nos. 8, 10, and 17). There have been rumors that the Hawks have explored the idea of packaging their two top-10 picks to move up — adding the No. 17 selection to the mix should give the club more leverage in those discussions.

Meanwhile, the on-court impact of swapping out Prince for Crabbe shouldn’t be significant, as they play fairly similar roles. While Crabbe’s lucrative contract isn’t team-friendly, he has still been a very good three-point shooter in recent years, posting a .396 3PT% since signing his four-year deal in 2016, and his deal will expire after the 2019/20 season.

The Hawks’ cap room for 2019 will be cut nearly in half by the deal, but the team still projects to have about $23-25MM in space.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN.com observes (via Twitter), the two teams won’t be able to complete the trade until July, since the Hawks won’t have the cap room necessary to absorb Crabbe’s contract until the new league year begins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.