Summer agenda: Brooklyn Nets

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·The Vertical
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The Vertical Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks, a 20-year executive with the Nets, examines the off-season plans for teams that didn’t make the postseason.

THE PLAN GOING FORWARD
Head coach and player development
The Nets need to find the best coach for them and not the most popular name.

The new coach will need to focus heavily on player development, which is something Brooklyn has lacked the last few years. With a nice core of young players in Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough, player development – not attempting to make the playoffs next season – should be the priority going forward.

Creativity

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson appears to be a solid piece for the Nets. (AP)
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson appears to be a solid piece for the Nets. (AP)

Even with cap space this summer, the Nets will find the open market in July lean with big-name stars. The below-average free-agent class, however, could be a blessing based on how many needs the Nets have at each position. Instead of chasing big-name players, Brooklyn has an opportunity to build its roster from the ground up. Progress started in March, when the Nets tapped the NBA Development League pool to sign Sean Kilpatrick. The shooting guard blossomed in a reserve role and landed a guaranteed contract for next season.

The Nets will need to explore every option in July and look into the international market for players. The Nets should also take a page out of the Portland Trail Blazers’ playbook from last summer and target unrestricted free agents in the ages 25-27 range. Portland cornered the market by locking up players to long-term contracts that at the time were above market rate.

Proactive plan
The Nets need to come up with a plan that involves more than a one- or two-year window. They need to develop and sustain their product for the long haul. Brooklyn cannot afford to be in the same situation five years from now.

TEAM NEEDS
Besides addressing the head-coaching position, the Nets need to fill holes across the board.

The Nets have a top-10 center in Brook Lopez and a versatile and reliable power forward in Thaddeus Young.

Hollis-Jefferson and McCullough are nice pieces who have yet to scratch the surface of their abilities. How they develop will play a key role in the Nets’ future.

The key questions for Brooklyn involve Bogdanovic.

Can Bogdanovic carry over his second-half performance into next season? Is he reliable enough to slot into the starting two-guard spot? The 27-year-old has shown flashes in his first two seasons but has not been able to string together a consistent body of work.

With ample cap space, Brooklyn will need to focus on finding a starting point guard and filling out the bench. In a free-agent class lacking proven names, Brooklyn will need to be patient and not overspend out of necessity.

NETS SUMMER CAP BREAKDOWN 

Guaranteed

'16-17 salary

Insider info

1. Brook Lopez

$21,165,675

None

2. Thaddeus Young

$12,078,652

Trade bonus

3. Bojan Bogdanovic

$3,573,020

Trade bonus

4. Shane Larkin

$1,567,500

Player option

5. Wayne Ellington

$1,567,500

Player option

6. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

$1,395,600

None

7. Chris McCullough

$1,191,480

None

8. Thomas Robinson

$1,015,696

Player option

9. Sean Kilpatrick

$980,431

None

Non/partial

'16-17 salary

Guarantee/date

10. Jarrett Jack

$6,300,000

$500,000/Full after June 30

FA cap holds

'16-17 salary

Free-agent status

11. Sergey Karasev

$2,463,754

Fourth-year rookie salary

12. Donald Sloan

$980,431

Non-Bird rights

13. Willie Reed

$1,215,696

Restricted/early Bird rights

14. Markel Brown

$1,180,431

Restricted/early Bird rights

15. Henry Sims

$980,431

Non-Bird rights

16. Jason Collins

$980,431

 

17.  Jerry Stackhouse

$980,431

 

18.  Andray Blatche

$1,788,000

 

First-round holds
None

Dead money
Deron Williams (stretch provision): $5,474,787

Andrea Bargnani (buyout): $323,599

Cap picture

 Guaranteed:

 $45,035,554

 Non/partial:

 $5,800,000

 FA cap holds:

 $10,569,605

 First-round holds:

 0

 Roster charge:

 0

 Dead money:

 $5,801,386

 Total:

 $67,241,810

 Salary cap:

 $92,000,000

 Cap space:

 $24,758,190

PROJECTED CAP SPACE
Right now the Nets the have $24.7 million in room this summer. If everything breaks right – Larkin, Ellington, Robinson opt out and Jack is waived – Brooklyn will have close to $40 million in cap space.

JUNE DRAFT PICKS
First round: to Boston

Second round: have Clippers’ pick

FUTURE PICKS
First-round
2017: Boston can swap

2018: to Boston

Own all first-round picks starting in 2019.

Rights to: Juan Vaulet (2015, pick No. 39)

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