Good morning. Okay, it’s a morning, if not a good one, and it’s the day of the trade deadline.
With Kyrie Irving gone, Kevin Durant gone and Ben Simmons still trying to find his way after a season off and the continuing effects of summer back surgery, things are in flux, fans are in shock and the future looks if not bleak then uncertain … for a long time.
ALL that said, here’s where we stand at 10:00 a.m. ET, five hours before the trade deadline.
PLAYERS UNDER CONTRACT
Once the trade call is complete, the Nets will have 15 players on standard contracts and two on two-ways. Here’s the roster 1 through 5, with their age and contract status, including this season:
Spencer Dinwiddie, PG, 29, two years left, $26.8 million
Ben Simmons, PG, 26, three years left, $113.7 million
Cam Thomas, SG, 21, three years left, $8.4 million
Patty Mills, SG, 33, two years left, $13.3 million
Seth Curry, SG, 32, expiring at $8.5 million
Joe Harris, SF/SG, 31, two years left, $38.6 million
Mikal Bridges, SF/SG, 26, four years left, $77.1 million
Cam Johnson, SF/SG 26, expiring at $2.0 million
Dorian Finney-Smith, SF, 29, four years left, $47.6 million
Royce O’Neale, SF, 29, two years left $18.7 million (with a partial guarantee in 2023-24)
Jae Crowder, SF, 32, expiring at $10.2 million
Yuta Watanabe, SF/PF, 28, expiring at $2.0 million
Edmond Sumner, SF, 28, two years left, $4.2 million (with no guarantee in 2023-24)
Nic Claxton, C, 23, two years left, $18.5 million
Day’Ron Sharpe, C, 21, three years left. $8.3 million.
David Duke Jr., expiring at $502,000
Dru Smith, PG, expiring at $502,000
The only player with All-Star or All-NBA credentials on the roster is Simmons and he is struggling, to be kind. Bridges was all-Defense first team last season as was Simmons in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Combine that with Claxton’s legitimate shot at Defensive Player of the Year and Finney-Smith’s defensive skills and you can see defense as the Nets way forward, a kernel of hope?
What stands out, still, is the surfeit of wings and lack of bigs. The Nets are reportedly marketing Crowder and it’s unlikely he’ll ever play for the Nets. Cleveland has reportedly expressed interest in O’Neale and it’s hard to imagine there won’t be a deal that addresses the imbalance.
None of the new players — Dinwiddie, Finney-Smith, Bridges, Johnson or Crowder — can be traded other than in one-for-one deals.
The Nets now have picks galore, more than they have had since they sent all their picks to Houston in the first James Harden trade back in January 2021.
The Suns picks acquired by Brooklyn are unprotected firsts in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029 and a swap pick in 2028. The Nets also have their own picks in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029 as well as the 76ers first in 2027, protected 1-8, and the Mavericks unprotected first in 2029.
They still owe the Rockets their first rounders in 2024 and 2026 and if the Nets fall behind the Rockets in the standings in 2023, 2025 or 2027, the Rockets have the option of swapping picks in those years. The Nets also have six second rounders they can trade.
The Suns picks will not be available until after the trade call Thursday morning. And the picks can be used not only to bring in new players but packaged with a player whose contract the Nets want to dump. Would the Nets use picks to dump Simmons, Harris or Mills?
The Nets have generated four trade exceptions in the past four days: a $5.0 million and a $1.8 million exception from the Irving trade and a $7.9 million and $1.8 million from the Durant trade. They also have two exceptions left over from the Harden trade, one for $2.5 million, the other for $1.7 million. Both expire on Friday. The two largest ones, the $5.0 million and the $7.9 million, will be available for a year and are the most likely to be used.
The Nets also have roughly $5.7 million left on the taxpayers MLE that can be used to sign players.
Despite all player movement, the Nets remain over the luxury tax threshold. The Nets have saved more than $60 million in luxury tax since Sunday, $22.8 million in the Irving deal, $6 million in the Kessler Edwards trade to the Kings and $36 million in the Durant deal.
Where do the Nets stand in terms of good will with NBA players as they embark on a long rebuild? They are much better shape than when Sean Marks walked in the doors of the HSS Training Center in February 2016. He had no picks, not firsts, not seconds, just Mikhail Prokhorov’s millions and a belief that New York would be a big lure. Now, after the debacle that began in the summer and continued through Thursday morning, Marks and Tsai’s reputations are in shambles. Do players want to join Brooklyn? It will take a while for that to be known.