When the Brooklyn Nets shipped Mason Plumlee out the door on draft night, trading him to Portland, it was a sign they were very confident they could bring back free agents Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young. As New York Post Nets writer Tim Bontemps noted, the only other bigs on the roster are Cory Jefferson, Earl Clark, and Chris McCullough.
The Nets need Lopez and Young back, and the sense around the league is they will get just that.
From Marc Stein and Mike Mazzeo of ESPN:
Rival teams interested in Brooklyn Nets free agents Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young are increasingly convinced that they have no shot at luring either one away from the incumbent Nets, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that both Lopez and Young are widely expected to reach verbal agreements on new deals with the Nets early in free agency, which officially begins Wednesday at midnight.
Not long after free agency opens, the Nets are expected to reach a verbal agreement with Lopez for three-years, $60 million, while Young will get in the neighborhood of four years, $50 million, according to multiple reports. The two sides can start negotiating on July 1, but no deal can be signed around the league until July 9 (there is a moratorium).
The Nets are active on other fronts as well. They are trying to trade Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, both guys are making more than $20 million next season and the Nets want to reduce or eliminate their luxury tax.
Mazzeo also added this about another Nets free agent.
Memphis needs more help on the wings. They have an excellent, old-school front like with Marc Gasol — who almost certainly will re-sign in Memphis — and Zach Randolph, but they need to space the floor with shooting. They traded for Matt Barnes, who fits their grit-and-grind style but also shot 36 percent from three last season. They’ve been linked to talks for Denver’s Danilo Gallinari.
And they went after the Nets’ Joe Johnson.
However, the deal fell apart, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.
The teams could not find a workable deal and have tabled discussions, but sources told ESPN.com that the Nets were encouraged enough in general to believe that they will ultimately find a trade taker for Johnson’s mammoth contract, which only has one season left to run but at a massive $24.9 million in 2015-16.
The Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons are among the other teams, like Memphis, to register exploratory interest in Johnson in recent months, but trades made recently by both teams — with the Hornets acquiring Nicolas Batum from Portland and the Pistons nabbing Ersan Ilyasova from Milwaukee — would appear to take them out of the Johnson mix.
The first takeaway here is that the Grizzles are serious about getting some more firepower on the wings this season. Finally.
The other (and it’s not a surprise, it’s been talked about before) is that the Nets want to move both Johnson and Deron Williams this summer as they remake their roster and work to get under the luxury tax line. It was always more likely that Johnson would be traded — while he is owed $24.9 million next season it is the last year of that deal. Plus he still provides value on the court, scoring 14.4 points a game and shooting 35.9 percent from three last season. While his game has slipped from its peak and he’s not super efficient, he can still make some plays.
Moving Deron Williams — whose game has slid farther and who is owed $43 million over the next two seasons — will be more challenging. Brooklyn also is shopping point guard Jarrett Jack.
The Brooklyn Nets are not going to just buy Deron Williams out of his contract. Try desperately to trade him? You bet. But not buy him out.
That’s essentially what Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King said on Wednesday.
There have been rumors the Nets would waive Deron Williams, using the stretch provision to essentially buy him out. That will not happen, reports Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game.
And, by the way, no change on the “we want to keep Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young” front, either.
This is all pretty much what was expected from the Nets.
Williams is owed $43 million over the next couple years. If the Nets used the stretch provision on him, they could extend that pain out over five years of the cap — but that’s still nearly $9 million a year for five years. Better to bite the bullet.
The Nets would love to trade Johnson and Williams this summer. I would love to have Eric Ripert as my personal chef. To quote Mick Jagger, you can’t always get what you want.