Sean Marks wisely being patient this offseason
Sean Marks is making his way through this offseason with a vision for 2019.
The Nets have refrained from making a splash in free agency for good reason.
The Dwight Howard trade that unloaded Timofey Mozgov's contract became official Friday. The Nets can now have close to $70 million in cap space next offseason, enough for two max salary players.
The Nets reached a buyout with Howard on Tuesday. Howard agreed to leave $5M on the table, giving the Nets $11.6M in cap space to work with.
Marks can go a number of directions with that cap space. He could buy low on a talented player like Jabari Parker, bring in a mid-level player on a cheap deal, or take on a salary with a draft pick.
Parker fits a need for the Nets as a versatile power forward. Marks could look to move a player like Jeremy Lin or DeMarre Carroll then overpay for Parker to pry him away from the Bucks.
A one-year deal for a young, talented player like Parker would be the type of low risk, high reward signing that Marks is likely looking for.
There are still several low-level free agents at frontcourt positions that the Nets could target. Noah Vonleh and Davis Bertans both remain on the market as stretch fours.
If no free agent catches Marks' eye, salary dumps remain an option. Denver may still entertain the idea of packaging a draft pick with Kenneth Fareid's expiring contract.
Whichever direction Marks decides to go, it is clear that he wants to maintain cap flexibility for the 2019 offseason.
Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler have voiced desires to play together in the Eastern Conference. There have also been rumors that Irving would like to play in the New York market.
With the Nets having room for two max players next offseason, Irving and Butler would have an easy path to play together in Brooklyn. Whether or not that scenario comes to fruition, $70M in cap space gives the Nets several routes to acquire talent.
Marks wisely resisted overpaying for players in free agency's opening week. Many were highly anticipating whether or not the Nets would make a run at Julius Randle.
The Lakers renounced the power forward, but Marks did not jump at the idea of acquiring the 23-year-old. The Nets would have had to overpay to land Randle over the Pelicans following heavy recruitment from Anthony Davis.
Overpaying for Randle would not have been a smart move as he is not the best fit in Brooklyn. Randle struggles to shoot in any capacity, limiting his upside in the Nets' pace and space style.
Marks also stayed away from RFA Zach Lavine, who signed a hefty four-year, $78M offer sheet with Sacramento. The offer was promptly matched by Chicago, surprising many.
Rather than overpay for these unproven free agents who did not fit in well, Marks has been patient and played it safe.
He resigned Joe Harris to a two-year, $16M deal and brought in a respected backup center in Ed Davis for one-year, $4.4M.
Harris is coming off a breakout season in which he shot 41.9% from three. With the Nets fast-paced style providing plenty of open looks from three, a sharpshooter like Harris cannot be undervalued.
Ed Davis proved to be one of the best backup centers in the NBA throughout his tenure in Portland. Damien Lillard and C.J. McCollum, along with other players and media, voiced their displeasure with Davis' departure.
Marks signed Harris using his early bird rights and Davis using the room mid-level exception, leaving minimal impact on cap space.
If there's one thing these past few years have proved it's that the "superteam" is here to stay.
Players want to choose who they play with via trade or free agency. If you want to give yourself a chance to be that destination where stars team up, you need cap space.
Marks has been wise to be patient and resist the urge of overpaying for below elite level talent this offseason.
The 2019 offseason will bring an opportunity and buzz surrounding the Nets, Marks won't do anything to jeopardize that.