After signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as free brokers in 2019, the Nets needed to wait a yr to essentially see their two stars in motion, as Durant spent the season rehabbing an Achilles tear and Irving was restricted to twenty video games because of a shoulder harm.
The wait was price it. Durant and Irving appeared like their outdated selves in 2020/21, and including James Harden to the combination in January helped turned the Nets’ offense into one of many NBA’s all-time finest (the staff established a brand new file for offensive ranking).
Sadly, the harm bug that turned ’19/20 right into a misplaced season reared its head once more a yr later. Spencer Dinwiddie missed practically the whole season, Durant was out for 37 common season video games, Harden was sidelined for 23, and Irving was on the shelf for 18 because of varied illnesses. Brooklyn nonetheless completed second within the East and the staff’s Massive Three was wholesome on the proper time heading into the playoffs, however that didn’t final lengthy — Harden (hamstring) and Irving (knee) missed three video games apiece within the staff’s essential second-round collection vs. the Bucks.
A Nets staff at lower than full energy put up a valiant effort in opposition to Milwaukee, however suffered an time beyond regulation loss in Recreation 7, then watched because the Bucks gained two extra collection to earn the 2021 title.
With higher harm luck, it could possibly be the Nets – not the Bucks – celebrating a championship at this time. However Brooklyn can’t merely assume its luck will likely be higher in 2022. The membership must do what it might, with restricted sources, to proceed constructing a championship roster able to withstanding an harm to considered one of its stars.
The Nets’ Offseason Plan:
Durant, Irving, and Harden are all beneath contract for the 2021/22 season, so there’s no urgency to deal with their contract conditions immediately. Nevertheless, the Nets will certainly be motivated to enter into extension talks with their stars, since all three of them have the flexibility to choose out in 2022.
The price of these extensions could be completely large. As Bobby Marks of ESPN particulars, a four-year extension for Irving would common greater than $45MM per yr, and it could really be the least costly of the three — Durant’s four-year extension would are available in simply shy of $50MM per yr, whereas Harden’s three-year extension could be price over $53MM yearly.
Given the three stars’ respective harm histories and their ages (Irving, the youngest of the three, turns 30 subsequent March), Brooklyn might attempt to negotiate some protections into the later years of these extensions, however the staff dangers creating pointless drama if it drives too laborious a cut price. As an illustration, if the Nets have been to increase one of many three stars and balked on the asking costs for the opposite two, that state of affairs would cling over the staff coming into subsequent season.
With these three gamers virtually placing the Nets into tax territory on their very own, the membership must make a concerted effort to get probably the most of its investments elsewhere on its roster. A minimal wage for Nicolas Claxton? Nice, he’s possible not going anyplace. A $10MM wage for DeAndre Jordan? That’s much less team-friendly, and could possibly be a contract the Nets attempt to transfer this offseason.
The membership’s key free brokers are Dinwiddie, Bruce Brown, Jeff Green, and Blake Griffin. A wholesome Dinwiddie could be a terrific third guard and insurance coverage coverage behind Harden and Irving, however I’d be shocked if he returns, given his asking price.
Brooklyn may look to recoup some worth by signing-and-trading Dinwiddie to a brand new staff, however once more, any items the Nets get again must be on favorable contracts. Given how far into the tax the Nets will likely be, they’ll’t afford to willingly add any albatross offers. Buying a participant through sign-and-trade additionally gained’t be attainable because of restrictions going through taxpaying groups.
If attainable although, the Nets ought to look to re-sign Brown, Inexperienced, and Griffin. The latter two veterans must be open to proceed enjoying for the minimal or one thing near it, however Brooklyn needs to be prepared to go increased than that for Brown, a jack-of-all-trades who offered sturdy perimeter protection and slot in nicely alongside the staff’s stars. He’s a restricted free agent, so the Nets can match any provide he receives so long as they’re snug with the value.
Different instruments on the Nets’ disposal this offseason embody the taxpayer mid-level exception and 4 picks within the 2021 draft (No. 27 and three second-rounders). Any participant signed utilizing the taxpayer MLE will price the staff exponentially greater than $6MMish because of tax penalties, so in the event that they use that exception on a free agent, the Nets must be assured that the participant can outperform his wage.
As for the draft picks, they could possibly be used to grease the wheels in a commerce (resembling a Jordan wage dump), however I anticipate the Nets to hold onto at the least one or two of their second-rounders. Signing second-round draftees to minimum-salary contracts is an efficient technique to forestall the tax invoice from ballooning increased than crucial.
Wage Cap State of affairs
Be aware: Our wage cap projections are based mostly on a presumed 3% improve, which might lead to a $112.4MM cap for 2021/22.
- James Harden ($44,310,840)
- Kevin Durant ($42,018,900)
- Kyrie Irving ($35,053,700)
- Joe Harris ($17,357,143)
- DeAndre Jordan ($9,881,598)
- Landry Shamet ($3,768,342)
- Nicolas Claxton ($1,782,621)
- Complete: $154,173,144
Restricted Free Brokers
- Bruce Brown ($4,736,102 qualifying provide / $4,736,102 cap maintain): Bird rights
- Mike James ($1,869,178 qualifying provide / $1,869,178 cap maintain): Non-Bird rights
- Complete (cap holds): $6,605,280
Two-Manner Free Brokers
- No. 27 total choose ($2,036,280)
- No. 44 total choose (no cap maintain)
- No. 49 total choose (no cap maintain)
- No. 59 total choose (no cap maintain)
- Complete: $2,036,280
- Landry Shamet (rookie scale)
- Nicolas Claxton (veteran)
- Kevin Durant (veteran)
- James Harden (veteran)
- Kyrie Irving (veteran)
- DeAndre Jordan (veteran)
Unrestricted Free Brokers / Different Cap Holds
- Spencer Dinwiddie ($17,181,072): Bird rights 3
- Tyler Johnson ($1,669,178): Early Bird rights
- Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot ($1,669,178): Early Bird rights
- Blake Griffin ($1,669,178): Non-Bird rights
- Jeff Green ($1,669,178): Non-Bird rights
- Wilson Chandler ($1,669,178): Non-Bird rights 4
- Complete: $25,526,962
Offseason Cap Outlook
Subsequent season’s cap tasks to be about $112MM+, with the tax line within the $136-137MM vary. So, with $154MM+ in assured salaries for simply seven gamers, Brooklyn is actually a lock to be a taxpaying staff.
The Nets’ whole tax invoice will rely on the place the their staff wage lands at season’s finish. The league assesses a penalty of $1.50 per greenback for the primary $5MM over the tax line, however that quantity continues to rise as staff wage climbs additional and additional. If the Nets carry a staff wage $30MM over the tax threshold, they’ll owe $85MM in tax penalties on high of their $177MMish in participant salaries.
Cap Exceptions Accessible
- Taxpayer mid-level exception: $5,890,000 5
- Johnson’s wage turns into partially assured ($100K) after September 4.
- As a result of he has been on a two-way contract with the Nets for 2 seasons, Chiozza is eligible for the standard minimum-salary qualifying provide.
- Dinwiddie turned an unrestricted free agent by declining his $12.3MM participant choice.
- The cap maintain for Chandler stays on the Nets’ books from a previous season as a result of it hasn’t been renounced. He can’t be utilized in a sign-and-trade deal.
- It is a projected worth.