Free agents of every kind will be heavily considering the Brooklyn Nets after the impressive season they just had. D’Angelo Russell made a substantial leap en route to earning an All-Star berth and playoff spot. Caris LeVert came back from a devastating injury earlier than expected, and the team gave the Philadelphia 76ers a legit scare in the first round.
Free Agents The Brooklyn Nets Should Target This Offseason
Brooklyn Nets Team Needs
The Brooklyn Nets have a ton of people going off the books this summer. DeMarre Carroll, Jared Dudley, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Ed Davis are all unrestricted free agents. Ed Davis is already rumored to be looking elsewhere for a contract. This Nets team was known for its radiant chemistry, but they could be missing half of what made them so connected. Brooklyn’s front office should seriously consider bringing back one of Dudley ($9.53 million last year) or Carrol ($15.4 million last year) if they both aren’t willing to take discounts to stay. They’re both Small Forwards who can dependably drain threes and contribute a veteran presence.
The Nets should be well-covered in the point guard department. They already have Spencer Dinwiddie under contract, and will trot out a star point guard in D’Angelo Russell or Kyrie Irving. Brooklyn also has a potential cornerstone shot creator in Caris LeVert and a solid big man in Jarrett Allen. The most glaring positional need is Power Forward. Jarrett Allen plays there, but there are a couple PF’s in free agency that would justify sliding Allen into Center full-time.
The Nets have $68 million in cap space if they renounce the rights to D’Angelo Russell. That’s enough for two max-level free agents or one max contract and several quality role players. Russell is a restricted free agent, so that means Brooklyn has the right to match other team’s offers. However, they may not bring back Russell if they know Irving is on the way. Here are some free agent targets the team should consider.
Free Agents The Brooklyn Nets Should Target
Kyrie Irving seems like such a sure shot to come to the Brooklyn that we shouldn’t be surprised if he’s caught grabbing brunch in Williamsburg tomorrow. On Tuesday, a handful of high profile journalists reported that they were hearing musings of Irving’s impending move to the Brooklyn Nets. His presence would undoubtedly take this team up a notch in the realm of contention.
If Irving comes alone, he would step in as the team’s de-facto leader. Whether he can lead a team to the championship as the head guy is still up in the air. He put up some amazing numbers last year for the Boston Celtics (23.8 points, five rebounds, and 6.9 assists on 40.1 percent from three), but didn’t behave like the stable leader the team needed. The Nets are his shot at flipping the narrative, and he’s their legitimate shot at a title.
Jimmy Butler would be a welcome addition on almost any NBA team. Butler’s ability to defend the wing, facilitate, and create his own shot would surely mesh with whoever else the Nets acquire. Sometimes he gets a little demanding about running the offense through him, but his penchant for hitting clutch playoff shots somewhat validates that.
If Kyrie Irving doesn’t make it to the Nets, Butler should be their top free agent target. If he does come along, then the Nets still have the flexibility to sign both of them. It’s hard to imagine how shots would be distributed between Irving, Butler, Dinwiddie, and LeVert, but Butler gained experience with superteams last year. He’s familiar with navigating the dynamics of a lineup with a surplus of guys who need their shots.
Tobias Harris would cover all their bases at the forward slot. The 6’9 sharpshooter played admirably during stretches for last year’s 76ers, but their top-heavy lineup never truly gelled as it could have. Harris did show off his fantastic shooting in his final year before free agency (39.7 percent from three, 86.6 percent from the line), which the Nets could surely use. You can never have too many floor-stretchers in this league. Tobias Harris would address that while filling a positional need.
Harris made $14.8 million last year, but can certainly command a max contract. This could shape up to be his biggest payday in the league at 26 years of age. He may be prioritizing financial security to set him and his family up long term, but he’s still going to aim for joining a competent team. In all honesty, he’s probably worth a little less than the max as evidenced by his non-superstar-level production (20.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists). He’d still be a perfect floor-stretching, complementary piece if the Nets bring in Irving or Butler.
Julius Randle would be a bruising addition to the Nets frontcourt. Randle made great strides in his fourth year in the league for the New Orleans Pelicans (21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists). He has the muscle to bang with the strongest rebounders down low but can still run the floor like a charging rhino in transition. Randle feasts on smaller defenders in the post and has great touch around the rim despite the frantic appearance of his shots. His three-point shooting took a promising leap (22.2 percent in 2017-18 to 34.4 percent 2018-19), which makes him a decent perimeter threat.
Randle made $9 million last year but could easily command a salary of at least $15 million per year. He’d be another promising piece to pair with an incoming superstar. At only 24 years of age, he still has a few years before he hits his true prime. A mid-sized, long term deal may look like a steal if the positive trends continue.
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