Tag: Dallas Mavericks

Brooklyn Nets Deron Williams Paul Pierce Kevin Garnett

Nets finally taking responsible path to rebuilding, don’t expect another spending spree next summer


A few years back, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov knew he needed a winning team to open the Barclays’ Center, a team that could get New York’s attention. He ordered his GM to spend without concern for the luxury tax, he openly laughed at that demarcation line. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, trading for Joe Johnson, and the list goes on — Brooklyn bought a pretty good team, one that made the second round of the playoffs, but at a ridiculous price tag.

Now, times have changed — the Nets waived Deron Williams, traded Garnett, let Pierce bolt to the other coast, and made moves to get under (or at least close to) the luxury tax. Prokhorov is sending out letters to season ticket holders touting a younger, more athletic team. They are going to try and build in a more traditional way. Well, except without draft picks for a while.

That means next summer, when they have cap space again, don’t expect the Nets to spend like mad on one big free agent, reports Nets Daily.

One league source told NetsDaily it will be a long time, if ever, before the Nets pay the luxuy tax again. Part of his thinking is that they will go into next summer with $40 million in cap space, enough to pursue a star or more likely, pay two of three good players … some of whom may be their own. The other reason is they think with a longer term strategy and some good fortune, they can win while being fiscally frugal. They’re putting a LOT of stock in continuity, particularly with the coaching staff. (The insider said that he could foresee the Nets maxing out only one of their current playes, Bojan Bogdanovic, two years from now if he breaks out.)

They are going to act like 29 other teams.

The general rule of thumb around the league is not to go into the tax — especially avoid the dreaded repeater tax (for being above the tax line three out of four years) — unless you are in a window of title contention. The Cavaliers are about to do it to keep LeBron James happy, but they should — with him they are contenders for the next five years (at least). But you don’t  see even the big market money machines like the Lakers and Knicks willing to spend way over the line right now, at least until they get somewhere near contender status again. You can’t just buy a team.

What this likely means for the Nets is some short term pain. They certainly still have the talent to make the bottom half of the playoffs in the East — they did spend this summer to retain Brook  Lopez and Thaddeus Young — but the rebuilding is going to take a little time. Especially considering all the draft picks they sent away during the “win now” era (Boston will be picking for the Nets a lot in the coming years).

The Nets have learned how to build patiently, while their owner has learned how to dodge marriage promises. They may be getting things right, but there is still a price to be paid for their win-now era.

Report: Joe Johnson “pumped” that Deron Williams bought out by Nets

joe johnson nets sleeved alternates

When Brooklyn bought out Deron Williams and waived him, the primary reason discussed was all the money the Nets would save as they worked to get out of the luxury tax.

But there were other reasons — William’s melancholy demeanor had worn on the Nets locker room, according to people close to the team. Moving him would mean an improved chemistry.

That starts with Joe Johnson. The Nets have tried to move him (no matter they spin now), but with Williams gone the plan has shifted to keep him, and the team expects a bounce back season from Johnson and other Nets returnees, reports Nets Daily.

Moreover, various sources inside the Nets have suggested that the departure of D-Will is likely to help Johnson rebound. It was no secret that Brooklyn’s Backcourt didn’t get along….

One insider, asked after the buyout if the Nets were still pursuing a Johnson trade, firmly said no. He volunteered there was probably no one more pumped about the buyout than Johnson.  “I am sure Joe will have a tremendous season,” he added with a smile.

It’s also the last year of Johnosn’s contract, his play this year will set the tone for what he gets paid next summer — which will be less than the $24.9 million he is owed this year. Johnson was solid last season, averaging 14.4 points per game, hitting 35 percent from three, and with a true shooting percentage pf 52.3 percent right near the league average. In the playoffs, he averaged 16.5 points per game.

His massive salary, by the way, is the other key reason the Nets didn’t move Johnson — that’s a lot of money to move. Teams willing to take it on were going to want to send players and contracts back that were going to last beyond just one season. The Nets didn’t want that.

What they want is to get out of the tax and spend money on a few quality but not max players, not one superstar.

But that’s next summer. First comes a season where we will see what Jarrett Jack can do for them at the point, and if just re-signed Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez can stay healthy and take a step forward.


Wesley Matthews says Trail Blazers never made him an offer, “I was pissed off”

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three

Wesley Matthews brings his “3&D” game — and his ruptured Achilles still on the mend — to Dallas next season.

Matthews had been a vital part of Portland’s success the past few seasons. So much so that when he injured his Achilles last season the team went from everybody’s favorite dark horse contender in the West to the team that still got the four seed and made Adam Silver and the NBA rethink rewarding division winners. It wasn’t just his on the court play, his leadership in the locker room was huge in Portland.

Which is why he thought they would try to keep him, but they didn’t Matthews told Jason Quick and the Oregonian. And that ticked him off.

He had hoped he could return to the city that had embraced him, to the team with players he considered brothers, to the franchise where he grew into one of the NBA’s most well-rounded and respected shooting guards. But in the end, after five seasons, the feeling was not mutual. He was greeted with silence. No phone call. No text messages. The Blazers never made an offer.

“I was pissed off,” Matthews said. “I felt disrespected….”

The only chance the Blazers would pursue Matthews, top executive Neil Olshey later explained, was if free agent LaMarcus Aldridge chose to return, maintaining Portland as a playoff-caliber team. When Aldridge chose San Antonio, the Blazers decided to rebuild. Paying big money to a 29-year-old shooting guard coming off major surgery didn’t make long-term sense.

For Portland, this makes total sense. Once Aldridge chose to go home to Texas they needed to strip the entire thing down and make Damian Lillard the focus of a rebuild. And if Blazers owner Paul Allen is hesitant about paying big money to injured players, it’s hard to blame him (Greg Oden, Brandon Roy).

That Portland never made a phone call means by July 1 Olshey knew Aldridge was long gone.

Matthews makes sense for Dallas, a team that when it first contacted Matthews thought it might get the pieces this summer to give Dirk Nowitzki one more run at a ring. While that didn’t work out (in dramatic fashion), Cuban pitched Matthews as being a cornerstone of the future in Dallas. That sold Matthews, he told the Oregonian in this fantastic story detailing his summer recruitment.

History of players coming back from an Achilles injury suggests this is going to be a challenging season for Matthews. Even if he can stay healthy — which is not always easy, see Kobe Bryant for example — it’s an adjustment learning what your body can and can’t do the same way. His game will need to adapt.

Where Matthews really may start to pay off for Dallas is next summer — he’s the kind of person and player other guys want on their team. Having him in house is a good recruiting tool when Mark Cuban and the Mavericks knock on the doors of the next big free agents.