The Brooklyn Nets were not a good team last year, nor was there a chance they would become good overnight and be contenders this upcoming season. The plan that Sean Marks set in motion was not meant to be a quick fix but Nets fans can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Brooklyn Nets off-season involved a few trades and smart signings that have given the Nets some draft picks and cap space for next summer.
Recapping the Brooklyn Nets Off-Season
The Nets’ free agent signings
Brooklyn brought back Joe Harris on a two-year, $16 million deal. Harris is a great example of Kenny Atkinson‘s player development ability. During the 2017-18 season, Harris shot 41.9 percent from three-point territory while attempting 4.6 threes per game. In both of his years in Brooklyn, Harris has improved his game; no one can definitively say Harris has peaked. This was a good move by Marks and the Nets.
One of Brooklyn’s big weaknesses last season was its rebounding ability. The Nets grabbed 77 percent of defensive rebounds available, putting them 19th in the league in defensive rebounding percentage. Their offensive rebounding percentage was 21 percent, good for 24th in the league. Brooklyn’s signing of Ed Davis addresses this problem. Davis is a tenacious rebounder who gives maximum effort on the glass. His 14.1 rebounds per 36 minutes will definitely improve the Nets’ rebounding ability. Another plus is that his contract is only a cheap one-year deal.
Brooklyn’s signings of Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier are two additional low-risk moves but a little puzzling. Napier’s deal has a team option for the second year, and Graham’s second year is not fully guaranteed. Graham is a good shooter and can defend multiple positions, while Napier played well last year for the Portland Trail Blazers. However, they are both likely to be behind D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Allen Crabbe, and Caris LeVert in the rotation.
The Nets came away from the draft with two players from overseas: Dzanan Musa with the 29th pick and Rodions Kurucs with the 40th pick. Musa will likely get some playing time off the bench and be given the opportunity to showcase his scoring ability. Kurucs will likely need the year to develop but can turn into a three-and-D type of player. Kenny Atkinson is one of the better coaches at developing young talent and will undoubtedly help Musa and Kurucs improve.
Trades and clearing cap space for 2019
The first order of business for Marks was to clear cap space for the 2019 off-season. Marks sent Timofey Mozgov to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Dwight Howard (who has since had his contract bought out) and two second-round picks. In trading Mozgov, the Nets cleared $17 million from the books for the 2019 off-season, giving them room to pursue big-time free agents.
Next, Marks started clearing some of the logjam in the backcourt by dealing Jeremy Lin, a 2025 second-round pick, and the right to swap second-round picks in 2023 to the Atlanta Hawks for a future second-round pick and the rights to Isaia Cordinier. By trading Lin, Marks created room to take on Kenneth Faried‘s and Darrell Arthur‘s contracts from the Denver Nuggets, who sent the Nets two draft picks to sweeten the deal.
The Nets sent Isaiah Whitehead to Denver for a 2019 protected first-round pick (1-12), an unprotected 2020 second-rounder, Faried, and Arthur.
Darrell Arthur was then sent to Phoenix for Jared Dudley and a protected 2021 second-round pick. Dudley supplies the Nets with a veteran four who can shoot, something they lacked last season.
Sean Marks has done a very nice job setting the Nets up to at least be players in the 2019 off-season. In the process, he’s improved the current team a little bit and added some solid assets for the future.
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