Nets Rumors

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Draft, Anunoby

The Sixers want to select someone in the mold of Landry Shamet with the No. 24 overall pick.

“[Shamet has] always been an overcomer and mature and very very self-aware,” senior director of scouting Vince Rozman said (via Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer). “…I think those are the guys that tend to make it in that range, because they know their role and they know what’s going to be asked of them.”

Pompey suggests that Cameron Johnson fits the profile and speculates that the UNC product may slip in the draft because of his age. Johnson turned 23 in March.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

Latest From Charania: Davis, Beal, Irving, Conley, Suns

The Knicks discussed a trade package for Anthony Davis that included Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith, Thursday’s No. 3 overall pick and other draft compensation, but they never fully offered forward Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. The Pelicans weren’t particularly high on either Knox or Robinson anyway but the Knicks were reluctant to jeopardize their future flexibility because they weren’t convinced Davis would re-sign with them.

Contrary to other reports, the Celtics were open to discussing Jayson Tatum and the future first-rounder owed by the Grizzlies in a trade package for Davis but didn’t want to part with both of those assets, Charania continues. Boston’s unwillingness to give up multiple major assets tipped the scale in the Lakers’ favor. The Nets also made a bid, Charania adds, but the Pelicans weren’t enamored with their available assets, especially since the Nets couldn’t include restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell.

Here are more highlights from Charania:

  • The Rockets were willing to get involved in three-team scenarios in Davis trade talks with Clint Capela being dangled.
  • The Pelicans are monitoring the Wizards’ interest in trading All-Star guard Bradley Beal.
  • The Celtics and impending free agent Kyrie Irving will meet soon, possibly before the draft, to discuss his future with the organization.
  • The Grizzlies have ramped up trade talks involving point guard Mike Conley. The Jazz are the leading contenders for Conley’s services.
  • The Suns have discussed moving the No. 6 pick, as well as forwards T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, in separate trade packages.

Nets Won’t Make Qualifying Offer To Hollis-Jefferson

The Nets will not make a qualifying offer to forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who will become an unrestricted free agent, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. By letting Hollis-Jefferson walk, the Nets will have approximately $46MM in cap space this summer, Wojnarowski adds.

Brooklyn would have needed to extend a $3,594,369 qualifying offer to Hollis-Jefferson to make him a restricted free agent. The Nets are looking to open up as much as cap space as possible to bring in two high-level free agents.

A 2015 first-round selection, Hollis-Jefferson has spent all four of his seasons with Brooklyn. He averaged 8.9 PPG and 5.3 RPG in 20.9 MPG last season after posting career bests of 13.9 PPG and 6.8 RPG in 28.3 MPG during the 2017/18 campaign. Adductor and groin injuries limited him to 59 games this past season.

In 234 career games, he’s averaged 9.9 PPG and 5.9 RPG.

The 24-year-old Hollis-Jefferson is well-regarded for his defensive versatility and should attract interest from multiple teams on the open market.

Lakers Optimistic About Adding Kyrie Irving?

The Nets appear to be the favorite to land Kyrie Irving, but other teams still hold out hope that they can sign the point guard. The Lakers remain optimistic that they could sign Irving, a source close to LeBron James told Sam Amick of The Athletic prior to the Anthony Davis deal.

For months, Irving has expressed a desire to play alongside Davis, sources tell David Aldridge of The Athletic. While the Lakers intend to bring in a third star, adding to the Davis-James pairing, it’s unclear where Irving ranks in the franchise’s preferred signings.

Kemba Walker is reportedly the top target. Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard are other options, though both could be hard to pry from their incumbent team (and in Leonard’s case, the Lakers appear to be trailing the Clippers if he does depart Toronto).

Inking one of those players to a full max deal will be a challenge for the Lakers. The franchise is projected to have between $23.6MM and 27.7MM in cap space depending on whether Davis waives his trade bonus. If the team finds a taker for Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga (could be the Pelicans in revised Davis deal), the Lakers are looking at upwards of $29.4MM in room. The starting salary on a max deal for players like Irving or Walker is $32.7MM.

A path to opening up the amount needed to offer a full max deal involves the Lakers signing a free agent with cap space and then waiting until July 30 to officially complete the Davis trade. That would allow Los Angeles to aggregate the No. 4 pick’s salary in the Davis deal and operate as an over-the-cap team. Such a strategy would bring the Lakers roughly $32.5MM in room, assuming Davis waives his trade bonus. The figure remains slightly short of the max for this tier of players, though Los Angeles could make additional moves to get all the way there.

Brooklyn will have no issue offering Irving a full max deal. The Hornets possess Walker’s Bird rights and can offer him a super-max deal that tops out around $221MM in total value. Butler believes he’s getting a full max no matter which team signs him and the Raptors will hand Leonard whatever contract he wants should the Finals MVP decide to remain in the North.

The Lakers have an attractive situation for a star on the market. They can offer a title contender in one of the league’s premier markets and depending on Rob Pelinka‘s salary cap gymnastics, they may have to hope a star believes the situation is worth forgoing potential earnings.

Rodions Kurucs Expected To Play At Summer League

  • Nets forward Rodions Kurucs is planning on playing summer league with the team, he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “My focus this summer is just working on my game, my all-around game, my handle, my shot, defense, rebounding, physicality for sure,” Kurucs said. “Everything, basically, because I will need them next season.” Kurucs is coming off a rookie season where he averaged 8.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 20.5 minutes in 63 games.

Five Key Offseason Questions: Brooklyn Nets

After spending several years mired in NBA obscurity as the ramifications of an ill-fated trade with Boston limited their ability to acquire impact talent, the Nets finally broke through in 2018/19, earning their first playoff berth since 2015.

Suddenly, with the weight of the Celtics trade off their shoulders (Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick was the final piece of that deal), the Nets have a bright future ahead of them. They managed to add young talent like D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, and Jarrett Allen in recent years despite a dearth of lottery picks, and they’re now positioned to bring in one or two star free agents to complement their young core.

Here are five key questions facing the franchise this summer:

1. What does the Nets’ Allen Crabbe trade signify?

It’s rare for two NBA teams to reach an agreement on a trade before the NBA Finals end, but the Nets and Hawks did just that last week, agreeing to a swap that will send Crabbe to Atlanta along with two first-round picks (this year’s No. 17 overall selection and next year’s top-14 protected pick). In return, Brooklyn will receive solid young wing Taurean Prince, Atlanta’s 2021 second-round pick, and – most importantly – additional cap flexibility.

The trade can’t officially be completed until July for cap reasons. But after removing the cap hold for the No. 17 pick ($2.96MM) and Crabbe’s expiring salary ($18.5MM) from their books and replacing it with Prince’s expiring deal ($3.48MM) and an empty roster charge ($897K), the Nets will have created about $17MM in extra cap space.

Before the deal, the Nets had no path to two maximum-salary slots and wouldn’t have had enough space for even a single max free agent if they’d retained Russell’s cap hold. Now, even if Russell sticks around, the club can comfortably afford a max-level player along with a second free agent above the mid-level. Renouncing Russell would clear a path to two max slots (with a caveat, as we’ll explain in the next section).

Teams generally don’t make this sort of move unless they know something — the Nets aren’t giving up two first-round picks to shed salary unless they’re pretty confident that the extra cap space will come in handy.

It’s probably not a coincidence that rumors linking Kyrie Irving to Brooklyn heated up right around the same time this deal was agreed upon. While things could change in the next few weeks, the possibility of Irving becoming a Net looks increasingly likely in the wake of the Crabbe trade, as a Thursday report suggested.

Read more

Draft Updates: Oni, Langford, Bitadze, Bone, Harris

Yale wing Miye Oni returned to the Bucks’ practice facility for a second workout on Saturday, ESPN’s Jordan Schultz tweets. Oni averaged 17.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 3.6 APG during his junior season. The 6’6” Oni is hoping to become the first Ivy Leaguer drafted since 1995, Schultz adds.

We have more draft info:

  • Indiana freshman swingman Romeo Langford is meeting with the Heat this weekend, Schultz reports in another tweet. Miami possesses the No. 13 pick and Langford is ranked No. 14 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
  • International prospect Goga Bitadze is visiting the Celtics, Pistons and Hornets in the days leading up to Thursday’s draft. according to a tweet from Hawks website writer Kevin Chouinard. The 6’11” Bitadze, 19, led the EuroLeague and Adriatic League in blocks on both a per-game and per-minute basis. He is ranked No. 17 overall by Givony.
  • The Wizards worked out Tennessee guard Jordan Bone on Saturday, according to a team press release. The point guard is No. 56 on Givony’s list.
  • Forward Terry Harris worked out for the Knicks on Thursday, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets. He also visited the Nets this week and will work out for the Mavericks and Jazz, Bondy adds in another tweet. He played for North Carolina A&T in his senior year, averaging 8.1 PPG. He is the younger brother of Sixers free agent forward Tobias Harris.

Is Pursuing A RFA Worth The Risk For Sixers?

The Sixers have said that their primary plan this summer is to re-sign both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. But, it’s been reported that both players are open to looking at other options (the Clippers, Knicks, Lakers, and Nets come to mind).

If Butler or Harris end up signing elsewhere, Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon, Nets guard D’Angelo Russell, or Celtics guard Terry Rozier could be other options for Philadelphia. But, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic writes, pursuing a restricted free agent complicates matters.

In order to submit an offer sheet to Brogdon, Russell, or Rozier, the Sixers would first need to create the requisite cap space necessary to sign one of them. The cap holds of Butler and Harris combined with the 2019/20 salaries of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons eat up just under $88.5MM of a projected $109MM cap, leaving a little more than $20.5MM in cap space. Adding in the $1MM in guaranteed salary owed to Jonathan Simmons, the salaries for Zhaire Smith and Jonah Bolden, and six incomplete roster holds equates to about $99.6MM.

Therefore, even if the Sixers renounced all of their free agents besides Butler and Harris (which seems unlikely given they would ideally like to re-sign J.J. Redick as well), renounced all their exceptions, and traded the No. 24 overall pick, they’d still only have about $9.4MM in cap space, which is likely not enough to offer Brogdon, Russell, or Rozier a contract commensurate with their value.

As such, the Sixers would ultimately need to also renounce their rights to Harris or Butler in order to pursue one of the aforementioned guards. They won’t do this with Butler, so it would have to be Harris. But here’s the risk: even if the Sixers negotiate a deal with Brogdon, Russell, or Rozier right at 6:00pm on June 30, the Bucks, Nets, or Celtics (all Eastern Conference rivals to the Sixers) would have until 12:00pm on July 8 – two days after the July moratorium ends – to decide whether to match the Sixers’ offer for Brogdon.

In other words, the two-day deadline to match an offer sheet does not commence until the moratorium is over, and you can be sure Milwaukee, Boston, or Brooklyn would take all of their allotted time. During the time period between the Sixers’ agreement with Brogdon, Russell, or Rozier and the opposing team’s ultimate decision – 7 days and 18 hours – the Sixers’ cap space would be completely tied up. It’s entirely possible that both Harris and Redick sign elsewhere during this time, as deals often get done at a breakneck speed during the first week of free agency.

If the Bucks, Nets, or Celtics decline to match, no harm done. But what if they match the offer sheet? The Sixers are left with a relatively significant amount of cap space with no free agents left to sign. And even if Harris and Redick are still available, they may be frustrated/resentful by the Sixers’ decision to go after Brogdon, Russell, or Rozier at their expense.

Ultimately, a decision like this comes down to how much the Sixers like the player for whom they’re incurring the risk. If the Sixers think Brogdon, Russell, Rozier, or any other restricted free agent can put them over the top, the risk may be worthwhile. If the player being pursued is just another piece, however, the risk is probably too much to bear.

And-Ones: Durant, Superteams, French National Team

Multiple teams around the NBA still consider Kevin Durant a talent worth investing max money in, despite the ruptured Achilles that will sideline him through 2019/20. Ben Golliver of the Washington Post weighs in on several franchises that could entertain the idea this summer.

Golliver writes that the Clippers, backed by billionaire Steve Ballmer could afford to sign Durant, tinker with the impressive lineup that led them to the postseason this spring, and then hit the ground running with Durant in 2020/21. That’s a scenario that would be ever dreamier if they were able to land Kawhi Leonard this summer as well.

Of course Durant’s absence next season will still have some impact on his value. Could the revelation that Durant won’t play in 2019/20 derail a potential pairing with Kyrie Irving in New York? Would Irving prefer instead to work with a different star in Brooklyn?

These are questions we’ll get answers to eventually but for now one thing is clear, Durant’s value remains high but that’s not to say that his Achilles hasn’t still thrown the league for a loop.

There’s more from around the league:

  • Is this the beginning of the end of the Superteam Era? Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN wonders as much in a video released on Instagram, suggesting players around the league are showing a greater interest in leading their own teams. For the past decade, star players have seemingly gravitated to one another to stack the deck and win championships but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, if the Raptors’ 2019 title plays a small role in the ushering out the Superteam Era, they’ll be walking right back into a climate that saw former Raptor star Tracy McGrady bolt the franchise for the chance to get out of Vince Carter‘s shadow and lead his own Magic squad.
  • Former Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas has received interest from a number of NBA teams and has several offers to join teams on non-guaranteed pre-season camp deals, international basketball reported Donatas Urbonas tweets.
  • The preliminary French national team for the 2019 World Cup has been revealed and a number of household NBA names will fortify a competitive roster. As seen at Sportando, Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum and Evan Fournier are the biggest names on the preliminary roster but they’re not the only ones with big league credentials.

Russell Unlikely To Stay If Irving Signs With Nets

D’Angelo Russell is highly unlikely to remain with the Nets if Kyrie Irving signs with Brooklyn, sources told Ian Begley of SNY TV.

The Nets are considered the favorites to land the Celtics’ point guard, though there’s no indication that other potential suitors have been ruled out, Begley continues.

The Nets can open up as much as $66MM of cap space to sign two major free agents if they renounce Russell’s rights. They can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $9.16MM qualifying offer but renouncing him would clear his $21MM cap hold.

The Pacers, who are shopping for a point guard, are keenly interested in Russell, Begley adds. The Magic, Timberwolves and Jazz are also expected to pursue him in free agency.

Begley’s story contradicts a previous report that suggested the Nets were willing to pair up Russell and Irving as their starting backcourt.