The Brooklyn Nets still have something that is coveted by so many NBA teams: cap space.
As it currently stands, the Nets still have cap space in the neighborhood of $20 million as other clubs have maxed out their resources. With Kyrie Irving a strong candidate to be traded, the Cleveland Cavaliers might require a third team to enter the fray in order to facilitate a deal.
Brooklyn has already absorbed the sizeable contracts of Timofey Mozgov and DeMarre Carroll. While a team of salary dumps might not be palatable for many fans, the team’s top players are still in their NBA infancy–meaning they make relatively little money.
ESPN recently suggested that the Nets could ship out Jeremy Lin–who would wind up with the Cavs in a three-team deal with the Denver Nuggets–for draft picks.
While the proposed deal is strictly hypothetical, the Nets do have assets that could make a deal work–be it for Irving or another star. In addition to the cap space, players like Lin and power forward Trevor Booker could be enticing as throw-ins.
Lin–when healthy–is a solid point guard who has already found success as a sparkplug scorer coming off the bench. Meanwhile, Booker is a scrappy rebounder who displays the utmost hustle. Both could be useful as components in multi-team trades.
Lin and Booker also offer prospective trade partners short-term deals.
With the Nets smack dab in the middle of a difficult rebuild, very little is off the table. General manager Sean Marks has already traded Brook Lopez, the franchise’s leading scorer and best offensive option.
The Lopez deal allowed Marks to acquire D’Angelo Russell, who should emerge as the new face of the franchise. Except for second-year swingman Caris LeVert and rookie Jarrett Allen, Marks would likely part with most of the team’s roster in order to improve over the long haul.
The Nets’ current roster features nine players who make less than $2 million. In fact, Deron Williams will be the seventh highest paid player on the team, and he was jettisoned prior to the 2015-16 season.
The Houston Rockets recently acquired multiple players on cheap contracts to complete the Chris Paul trade. Players like Sean Kilpatrick, Quincy Acy, and Joe Harris could all become candidates for movement if Marks wants to help complete a multi-team deal.
Brooklyn has found that its wealth of cap space is a valuable commodity for acquiring picks. In the Carroll trade, Marks received a lottery-protected first-round pick and second-round pick in 2018.
Depending on the teams involved, another salary dump could include more draft picks. Meanwhile, Mozgov and Carroll will help the team compete in the short term.
By trading away Lopez, Thaddeus Young, and Bojan Bogdanovic over the last two seasons, Marks has made it clear that he’s building for the future. He will continue to do so if the opportunity is right.
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