Brooklyn Nets 2017 Offseason Preview
The Brooklyn Nets will look to take the next step in their rebuild this offseason.
Brooklyn will have an abundance of cap space to attract free agents. The the question is, who will be willing to sign with a team that had the worst record in the NBA the previous season?
Sean Marks will have several decisions to make regarding the Nets current roster. K.J. McDaniels has a team option that can earn him close to $3.5 Million next year. The Nets will have to inform him whether or not they will keep him by June 24. Brooklyn also has five players with non guaranteed contracts. These players will look to prove themselves in the summer league and training camp. Brooklyn has eight returning players with guaranteed contracts. The Nets will have three draft picks which will bring their roster to 11 players. However, Sean Marks may look to deal Justin Hamilton's expiring contract ($3 million) on draft day. With a plethora of cap space, Brooklyn will attempt to attract free agents, which may lead to the departure of several players with non guaranteed deals.
Free Agents (2): Randy Foye (Unrestricted), K.J. McDaniels (Team Option)
Non Guaranteed (5): Sean Kilpatrick, Joe Harris, Quincy Acy, Spencer Dinwiddie, Archie Goodwin
Guaranteed (8): Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin, Trevor Booker, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert, Isaiah Whitehead, Justin Hamilton, Andrew Nicholson
NBA Draft Preview
Once again, the 2013 Billy King trade with the Boston Celtics will haunt the Brooklyn Nets come draft day. Boston will swap picks with the Nets and receive what will likely be the first pick in the draft. Brooklyn will acquire the Celtics second round pick as a result of this swap. Sean Marks acquired another first round pick when he dealt Bojan Bogdanovich to the Wizards at the deadline. The Nets will have picks 22, 27, and 57 in this years draft.
Needs: Power Forward, Small Forward, Shooting Guard
Potential Draft Targets
Harry Giles - PF - Duke: Coming off a disappointing freshman season at Duke, Giles has fallen to the bottom of the first round in most mock drafts. Giles averaged 3.9 PPG in 11.5 MPG this past season. Despite his lackluster stats, Giles still possesses a great deal of raw talent. The 6'11" Power Forward displayed a soft touch around the rim as well as superb shot blocking ability. Giles may need a few years in the NBA to develop his skills, but that plays right into the Brooklyn rebuild. If available, don't be surprised if the Nets make a gamble on the former #1 recruit.
Ivan Rabb - PF - California: Rabb declared for the draft following a solid season at California. The 6'11" Power Forward averaged 14 PPG in 32.6 MPG his sophomore year. Rabb possesses exceptional post moves as well as an ability to run the floor. The Oakland product could be the Power Forward the Nets have been looking for. Sean Marks may be inclined to pull the trigger if Rabb is available late in the first round.
Luke Kennard - SG - Duke: Luke Kennard declared for the draft following a stellar sophomore season at Duke. The 6'6" shooting guard averaged 19.5 PPG in 35.5 MPG this past season. Kennard possesses an ability to score in a variety of ways. The Ohio native displayed a smooth stroke from mid range as well as the three point line. Kennard shot 43.8% from three during his sophomore campaign. If the Nets were to pair Kennard with Caris LeVert, Brooklyn could potentially have a very dangerous 1-2 punch at shooting guard and small forward.
T.J. Leaf - PF - UCLA: Leaf declared for the draft following a promising freshman year at UCLA. The 6'10" Power Forward averaged 16.3 PPG and 8.2 RPG in 29.9 MPG. Leaf displayed an ability to penetrate and finish, complimented by a soft touch from mid range. The power forward also has potential from beyond the arch shooting 46.6% from three on 58 attempts. Leaf would be an excellent compliment to Brook Lopez as another big man who can score in a variety of ways.
Isaiah Hartenstein - PF - Lithuania: Isaiah Hartenstein is an 18-year-old German power forward for those of you who did not know. Hartenstein possesses explosive jumping ability as well at potential to stretch the floor with a solid three point shot. The German does all of this while standing at an impressive 7'1". Hartenstein showed promise while playing at the Nike Hoop Summit, but has not been tested with NBA level talent throughout his short career. However, the German has ties to the Nets organization through assistant coach Chris Fleming. Fleming serves as an assistant under Kenny Atkinson as well as Germany's U20 and national head coach. The Nets could take a chance on a young prospect with plenty of projection in the late 1st round of this years draft.
Rodions Kurucs - SF - Latvia: Rodions Kurucs is a 19-year-old Latvian small forward. Kurucs offers immense versatility on the court. The 6'9" small forward can score driving to the basket, pulling up from mid range, or shooting the three point shot. However, similar to Hartenstein, Kurucs has not been tested with NBA talent while playing in Europe. The Latvian would also need to add to his 200 pound frame if he wants to guard NBA small forwards. Look for the Nets to consider Kurucs at 27 come draft night.
Free Agency Preview
Sean Marks will likely look to employ a similar free agency strategy to last summer's. Marks will attempt to sign restricted free agents to pricey offer sheets forcing opposing teams to match. Brooklyn will have trouble drawing interest from top-tier free agents looking to win now. However, the Nets will still attempt to sell top of the line players on Sean Marks' future plans.
Potential Free Agent Targets
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (RFA) - SG - Detroit: Caldwell-Pope is among the top guards available in this year's free agent class. The 6'5" shooting guard averaged 13.8 PPG with Detroit this past season. Caldwell-Pope has flashed his ability to run the floor and finish at the rim with superb athleticism throughout his career. The Georgia native also shot 35% from three and displayed an ability to pull up off the dribble. With Jeremy Lin running the point, Caldwell-Pope would likely get more open looks rather than having to create shots for himself. At 24 years old, Caldwell-Pope is the right age player for the Nets to give big money. Expect Sean Marks to aggressively pursue Caldwell-Pope come free agency.
Otto Porter Jr. (RFA) - SF - Washington: Otto Porter Jr. is having his best year in nearly every statistical category this season. The 6'8" small forward averaged 13.4 PPG and 6.4 RPG in 32.6 MPG during the regular season. Porter also shot 43.4% from three this year, making 50 more threes than last season and improving his three point field goal percentage by nearly 7%. The former Georgetown Hoya impacts the game in a variety of ways. He can wreak havoc on the defensive end using his length and athleticism, rebound extremely well for a small forward, and score the basketball from all parts of the court. If Brooklyn is able to sign Porter to a hefty offer sheet and draft a skilled power forward, it will have been an extremely productive offseason.
Milos Teodosic - PG - CSKA Moscow: With attracting top-tier free agents unlikely, Sean Marks and the Nets will look overseas for talent. Milos Teodosic is a 6'5" point guard who currently plays for CSKA Moscow. Earlier this year, NBA GMs voted Teodosic the best player outside the league. The most polished part of Teodosic's game is undoubtedly his passing. Teodosic has a knack for finding the open man with flashy passes that remind you of Ricky Rubio. Teodosic has no problems scoring the basketball to compliment his passing ability, the point guard is currently averaging 16.3 PPG in the Euroleague. The Brooklyn front office has ties to CSKA Moscow through owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who financially supported the team for several years. Sean Marks has already visited Moscow to watch Teodosic play. Don't be suprised if the Nets make a run at the Serbian star.
Shabazz Muhammad (RFA) - SF - Minnesota: Shabazz Muhammad is set to hit restricted free agency this summer. The 6'6" swingman is coming off a season in which he averaged 9.9 PPG in 19.4 MPG and shot 33.6% from three. Muhammad is an athletic player who is comfortable playing with his back to the basket, using his 223-pound frame to back down defenders. The former UCLA Bruin can also run the fast break and finish in transition. Muhammad has struggled on the defensive end and has been average at best from beyond the arch. However, Muhammad is still a superb athlete who has the ability to score the basketball. At 24-years-old, Muhammad could be a nice piece to fit into the Brooklyn rebuild. Sean Marks may force the Timberwolves hand by signing Muhammad to an offer sheet this summer.
Nikola Mirotic (RFA) - PF - Chicago: Nikola Mitotic is currently playing out his third year in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls. The 6'10" power forward averaged 10.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG while shooting 34.2% from beyond the arch. Mirotic has struggled to produce consistently throughout his short career, but can catch fire in a hurry. Having a power forward who can space the floor may allow Brook Lopez to play in the post more often. At 26-years-old and only having played three seasons in the NBA, Mirotic would have time to develop his game and potentially blossom with the Nets. Sean Marks may entertain the idea of bringing Mirotic to Brooklyn this offseason.
Sean Marks will look to take the next step in his Nets rebuild this offseason. Brooklyn's front office will search the draft, free agency, and Europe for young talent. The Draft will prove to be huge for the Nets development and Brooklyn will hope free agents will buy into the Sean Marks' future plans