Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Brooklyn Nets Offseason Overhaul Plan Involves Cam Johnson and Potential Trades

The Brooklyn Nets are still transitioning into a new era. The Nets tried to go the superstar route the last few years, and the only thing that got for their efforts was three first-round exits and one trip to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Now the Nets appear ready to start a rebuild around Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges.

Brooklyn Nets Offseason Plan

The Overhaul

Brooklyn began their purge early in the season, firing head coach Steve Nash just seven contests into the campaign. They replaced him with Jacque Vaughn, who has since been inserted as the full-time coach after leading the team to a 43-32 record. The Nets, of course, also unloaded Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at the NBA trade deadline.

While the Nets got an excellent return on those trades, they don’t appear done overhauling the team. Under contract through 2027, Vaughn shook up his coaching staff on Monday as he let go of three assistants.

Brooklyn will now look to reshape the roster. The Nets are heavy on wings and light on big men, which was part of their downfall against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first of the playoffs. Philadelphia out-rebounded Brooklyn by 13.5 boards a game, including 7.5 caroms on the offensive end.

Brooklyn’s inability to rebound the ball in the playoffs was just a microcosm of their biggest weakness all season long. The Nets finished next-to-last in the NBA in rebound percentage and defensive rebound percentage.

As a result, Nets general manager Sean Marks said, on April 24, that one of the organization’s goals this offseason was to get bigger and meaner.

“Without a doubt we need to make some changes in terms of adding some size. I think [Jacque Vaughn] said it [Saturday] night, add a little nastiness. Without a doubt we need to make some changes. Add a little bit of the Brooklyn grit that we’ve talked about for sort of six years.”

The Nets have plenty of other areas to improve on this offseason. Getting to the free throw line, not fouling defensively, depth, and forcing turnovers.

Nets Salary Cap Situation

Brooklyn is in a tough spot financially. The Nets are over the cap with just 11 players on the roster. They could save around $10 million in cap space by purging the non-guaranteed contracts of Royce O’Neale and Edmond Sumner. However, that is unlikely to happen as the Net would still be over the cap.

Brooklyn is also just $16 million from going over the luxury tax threshold yet again. The Nets’ key free agents are Johnson, Seth Curry, and Yuta Watanabe. The Nets own two first-round picks (No. 21 and No. 22) in this year’s draft. Spencer Dinwiddie is eligible for a four-year, $128 million contract extension this fall.

Cam Johnson

Keeping Johnson is the team’s top priority, as Brooklyn plans to match any offer sheet for the restricted free agent.

“High character. His IQ is off the charts. That’s exciting to be around,” Marks said of Johnson. “He adds a lot to our group, not just on the court. Everybody sees what he delivers on the court, but when you see him in the locker room, it’s certainly refreshing to be around. Hopefully, he’s here, but he’s gonna have decisions to make, so at the right time, we will certainly be having those discussions with him and his agent, and we hope that Cam will be back. He’s a big priority for us. There’s no question.”

Johnson was excellent after coming over in the Durant trade. The 27-year-old forward produced 16.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.4 steals in 25 games for the Nets. He compiled a shooting slash line of .468/.373/. 851. Johnson was also spectacular in the playoff series against the Sixers.

Johnson is expected to have a lot of suitors this summer. Houston, Orlando, Utah, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio are among the teams to persuade him to leave Brooklyn. Johnson is projected to sign a four-year, $90 million deal. So, the Nets will likely have to go over the luxury tax threshold to keep him.

If the Nets retain Johnson, it likely means Curry and Watanabe will walk. Unless the Nets make trades.

Nets To Field Offers For Royce O’Neale and Dorian Finney-Smith

Re-signing Johnson and keeping their two first-round draft choices, it will be hard for the Nets to add relevant big men as those transactions to give them 14 players under contract. However, the Nets have plenty of trade chips to accomplish their off-season goals.

Royce O’Neale and Dorian Finney-Smith are two players expected to receive interest from other teams on the trade market, per Marc Stein’s substack. Both are good role-players.

O’Neale, who is on an expiring contract, is a tough-nose player who is an above-average 3-point shooter and solid defender. Meanwhile, Finney-Smith is an athletic combo forward who is an average 3-point shooter though he struggled after coming to the Nets from Dallas.

It is conceivable that Brooklyn will trade one or both of their 2023 first-rounders. While the Nets don’t own a first-round draft choice in 2024 and 2026, they own multiple first-round selections in 2028 and 2029. The Nets also have five trade exceptions, including $18.1 million from the Durant trade and $4.49 million from the Irving deal.







More Posts

Send Us A Message