Nets reportedly will match restricted free agent offers for Nic Claxton

Indiana Pacers v Brooklyn Nets
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This is exactly the kind of rumor/report the Brooklyn Nets front office wants floating around. That doesn’t make it any less accurate.

Nets center Nicolas Claxton is a restricted free agent this summer. A few teams looking for an athletic, defensive center may consider making an offer and trying to poach him out of Brooklyn (Charlotte is looking for a center, for example). Especially teams that saw Claxton play more of a facilitator role in college at George and think he could bring a little of that to the NBA.

The Nets will match just about any offer, a GM told Sean Deveney of Heavy.com.

“He is not going to get more than a midlevel offer from a team like Charlotte or Chicago, and if that is the case, they’re comfortable matching it. He is restricted, they can match anything another team gives him. He is looking at something like three years, $35 million,” one Eastern Conference general manager told Heavy’s own Sean Deveney.

“They are not sold on him as the big guy of the future but at that number, they’d keep him around, and know they can move him in a deal next summer if they have something better in mind. Trouble is, they’ve got a short window here so they can’t wait for him too long. But Sean (Marks) is a believer in development and they are not going to give up on him that fast.”

Brooklyn doesn’t have the depth at center to let a 23-year-old who has improved every season just walk for nothing. Claxton averaged 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds a game last season, and while there is an injury history and he’s still a limited offensive player, he’s a plus defender and rim protector, and he’s improving. Besides, the Nets are not flush with other options, do they want to bring back Andre Drummond and let him be the lone guy at the five?

As the GM from the report notes, the Nets are better off re-signing or matching an offer for Claxton, see how he develops over the next year, then if nothing else they have a nice player on a tradable contract. However, for a Nets team whose defense was shredded by the Celtics in the first round, keeping Claxton around makes a lot of sense.