Markel Brown

Report: Nets doing Earl Clark a favor and waiving him

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Earl Clark, after spending most of the season in China, was looking for an NBA contract late last season.

The Nets obliged, but they made the deal a little more advantageous for themselves. In addition to signing Clark for the rest of the season, they added a unguaranteed year to his contract. That would allow them to test him at training camp this year – at no cap cost – before deciding whether to keep him

Clark’s contract would have become $200,000 on Oct. 26, according to Basketball Insiders.

Clark, of course, didn’t want to get stuck going through training camp only to get cut at its conclusion. He wants to pursue overseas deals now if he wasn’t going to make Brooklyn’s team.

So, the Nets are doing him a favor.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

Waiving Clark would give Brooklyn 16 players, one more than the regular-season limit. Four players without fully guaranteed contracts – Willie Reed ($500,000 guaranteed), Markel Brown ($150,000 guaranteed), Ryan Boatright ($75,000 guaranteed) and Quincy Miller ($50,000 guaranteed) – are probably competing for the final three roster spots.

That race gets a little easier for them with Clark bowing out.

In letter to fans about future plans, Nets conspicuously leave out Deron Williams, Joe Johnson

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Joe Johnson is set to make $24.9 million next season. He led the Brooklyn Nets in scoring last season, averaging 14.4 points per game, then upped that to 16.5 points per game in the playoffs.

Deron Williams is set to make $21 million next season (and $22.3 million the season after that). The Nets’ point guard, he averaged 13 points and 6.6 assists per game.

They are owners of two of the worst contracts in the NBA, deals that are anchors on the rebuilding of the Brooklyn Nets. These were guys sold as part of a “big three” a couple years ago but now are not part of the future — in fact they are two guys the Nets would love to trade this summer. They will be shopped. Hard.

So maybe it shouldn’t be a shock that when the Nets sent a letter to season ticket holders this week, Williams and Johnson didn’t get mentioned, reports the New York Post.

(GM Billy) King and (CEO Brett) Yormark stated the Nets have plans to re-sign Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young “to keep our core leadership together.” They stated they wanted to “build on our emerging young core,” mentioning Mason Plumlee, Bojan Bogdanovic, Markel Brown and Sergey Karasev. They mentioned their two draft picks — Nos. 29 and 41 — and a desire in “purchasing’’ another pick.

But King and Yormark made no mention of Williams and Johnson — omissions that can be taken as an ominous sign for the duo. It’s unclear if either Williams or Johnson has requested a trade.

Whether they’ve requested one or not, the implication the duo will not be back is clear. And that’s the right move. Blame injuries or whatever you wish, the Nets have not gotten the Williams they thought they traded for. Johnson had a contract everyone around the league knew would be bad in those final couple years.

However, finding a trade partner is not going to be that simple.

Johnson will be the easier to move — and it’s not going to be that easy. He’s in the final year of his contract, and while expiring deals mean less under the current CBA than the previous one, a team that takes him on wouldn’t be stuck with him. Plus Johnson can still produce, still knock down shots, and has done so in big moments. Still, there are not a lot of teams with the cap space to take him on, fewer still would send anything back to Brooklyn of real quality. Rather, most will want to dump their own bad deals. One team to watch is Charlotte, with Lance Stephenson coming home to Brooklyn (that deal was discussed last trade deadline). If I were a team contacted, I would be asking for a young player or picks to sweeten this deal, Johnson alone is not enough.

Williams will be even harder to move because he is owed money for two more seasons, plus he has a lengthy injury history, his game is in decline, and he’s on the wrong side of 30. Never say never, but the Nets don’t have the young assets are willing to part with to get another team to take on Williams.

But expect the rumors about those two to be flying this summer.

Nets’ Markel Brown throws down 360 dunk (VIDEO)

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It’s not often we see a legitimate 360-degree slam dunk during live NBA action. But thanks to a steal by Brooklyn’s Markel Brown on the perimeter that gave him an open path to the basket, he had plenty of time to gather himself before deciding to put on a show.

[via The Brooklyn Game]

Report: Nets and Pistons discuss Joe Johnson-Brandon Jennings trade

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The Nets want to trade Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and/or Deron Williams.

Lopez has been most-mentioned in trade reports, but Johnson has also drawn interest from the Hornets.

Another team in the Eastern Conference playoff race could also be exploring a Johnson trade.

Ohm Youngmisuk and Mike Mazzeo of ESPN

The Detroit Pistons have reached out to the Brooklyn Nets to inquire about the availability of former All-Star swingman Joe Johnson, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPNNewYork.com that no deal is imminent but said the teams have had exploratory discussions in advance of Thursday’s trade deadline about a trade package built around injured point guard Brandon Jennings and expiring contracts in exchange for Johnson.

Such a deal would look something like this:

  • Brandon Jennings
  • Jonas Jerebko
  • Caron Butler
  • Joel Anthony or Luigi Datome

for

  • Joe Johnson

The Nets would also need to include or waive two players – most likely from the group of Jerome Jordan, Darius Morris, Markel Brown and Cory Jefferson, each of whom has an expiring minimum contract.

But why would the Pistons do this?

Johnson’s $24,894,863 salary next season would wipe out their cap space. And for what? A declining 33-year-old – plus the loss of Jennings, who was playing exceptionally before his season-ending injury.

Stan Van Gundy said the Pistons won’t sacrifice future assets to chase a playoff spot, so it’s hard to see him making this deal. Maybe the Nets can leverage a better offer from Charlotte, which wouldn’t want to see Detroit improve, but that’s probably the upside for Brooklyn.

Report: Rockets interested in Deron Williams and Goran Dragic

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The Mavericks landed Rajon Rondo, but before the Celtics traded the point to Dallas, the Rockets were in the running for him.

It’s unclear how serious Houston was. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey likes to inquire into any possible deal, regardless of feasibility.

But perhaps the Rockets are truly interested in upgrading at point guard.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:

Daryl Morey, no doubt, is burning up the phones, and the expectation is that he’s going to go hot and heavy after a point guard.

They love Patrick Beverley, but ideally, he is the third guard in that rotation.

And to give an indication of just how aggressive they might be, sources around the league are saying don’t count Deron Williams out from the Brooklyn Nets, even though he has that fat contract and right now has a rib injury

Far more likely is that they go back to a guy that they already know – Goran Dragic, who is in a crowded backcourt with the Phoenix Suns and could be got with that New Orleans No. 1 pick that the Rockets have right now.

Beyond Williams’ injury, there are major roadblocks for getting him to Houston.

Williams is so highly paid, it’s difficult to construct a trade that has the Rockets sending out enough salary to match. For example, a package of Jason Terry, Corey Brewer and Alexey Shved (the latter two can’t be dealt with other players until days before the trade deadline) would fall $2,360,879 short of meeting Collective Bargaining Agreement rules. Look at Houston’s roster and try finding $2,360,879 worth of salary to add without including players too valuable to deal for someone Brooklyn seemingly wants to dump. Also keep in mind the Nets can’t add more than one player than they send out in a trade, though they could waive minimum-salary players Jerome Jordan, Darius Morris, Cory Jefferson and/or Markel Brown if necessary beforehand to make room.

Houston is also less than $1 million below the luxury-tax line, so adding Williams would almost certainly prove quite expensive for the Rockets.

Dealing for the underpaid Dragic would be much simpler, though it would require Houston surrender much more desirable assets. A lot of teams are interested in Dragic, who previously played for the Rockets, and Phoenix could move him. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and he, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas haven’t always smoothly complemented each other.

At 22-16, the Suns are eighth in the Western Conference. As long as they remain in playoff position, they’ll probably keep Dragic and hope they can re-sign him this summer. But if the Thunder make a move and knock Phoenix down in the standings, the Suns would be more likely to get what they can for Dragic now.

Of course, Houston could also push Phoenix in that direction by making a substantial offer. The Rockets have the Pelicans’ first rounder (protected 1-3 and 20-30 the next four years and 1-3 and 25-30 the two after that). With New Orleans on pace to finish as the No. 14 seed in the lottery this season, that’s a reasonably valuable pick.

It shouldn’t be enough alone to net Dragic, but it’s a start, and the Rockets have plenty of other intriguing assets. It’s just a matter of whether they want to use them to upgrade at point guard when they have a very solid Beverley there already.