Sean Marks sets up Nets for Future with more Brilliant Moves
It was late Thursday night on the East Coast, but Sean Marks was hard at work improving the Brooklyn Nets for this year and beyond.
The Brooklyn Nets GM pulled off two more brilliant moves that sets the Nets up beautifully heading into the 2019 offseason. If you think about it, he really has not made a bad move in his brief, but impactful tenure with the organization so far.
First, Marks traded point guard Jeremy Lin to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for a 2020 second-round draft pick via the Portland Trail Blazers, and the rights to prospect Isaia Cordinier. According to sources, the Nets will also send the Hawks a 2025 second-round pick and the right the swap second-round picks in 2023. The move allowed Brooklyn to shed Lin’s $12.5 million contract from their books and make their second move of the night.
After dealing away Lin, Marks had another trick up his sleeve. He acquired forwards Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur from the Denver Nuggets along with a protected 2019 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick in exchange for point guard Isaiah Whitehead, whom the Nuggets plan to waive. Faried is from New Jersey, so this is a bit of a homecoming for the veteran forward.
The Nuggets were desperate to unload a few of their larger contracts. The deal with the Nets frees $21 million in salary that will save Denver over $40 million in payroll and luxury tax for the 2018-19 season. This deal was also a no-brainer for the Nets. The 2019 first-rounder is reportedly protected 1-12, but the Nuggets will likely be a playoff team next season, meaning their pick will head to Brooklyn. Faried and Arthur can both help the Nets in the front court this season, particularly with defense, rebounding and rim protection. Going into free-agency, Jarrett Allen and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson were the only bigs on the roster. Now, they are joined by Faried, Arthur and Ed Davis, who the Nets signed away from the Trail Blazers last week.
For the second-consecutive Summer, Marks managed to obtain multiple draft picks in exchange for absorbing bad contracts into his team’s salary cap space. Last year, it was the trade for DeMarre Carroll that got the Nets 2018 first and second round picks from the Toronto Raptors. Toronto was looking to shed Carroll’s salary, and the Nets gladly took him in. Carroll had a career year and the two picks became current Nets rookies Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs. The trade with Denver was only made possible for the Nets because of the $1.5 million free-agent cap hold for Joe Harris. The Nets are waiting until after the remainder of their free-agency business is complete before officially re-signing Harris. This way, his $8 million cap hold won’t become official until after Marks has the entire roster under contract. All of these examples further illustrate that cap space should be considered a valuable asset in today’s NBA.
Lin’s tenure with the Nets will always be looked back on as a major disappointment, mostly because he was unable to stay healthy. The 29-year-old appeared in just 37 games during two seasons in Brooklyn. He suffered a season-ending ruptured patellar tendon on opening night last year, and had to watch from the bench as Spencer Dinwiddie developed and eventually took over his spot in Kenny Atkinson’s rotation. Marks also did a remarkable job clearing the logjam at the point guard position. Even if healthy, Lin likely would have been the odd-man out at the point for the Nets this season.
The Nets will return eight of their best rotation players from last season. D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert, Allen, Hollis-Jefferson, Dinwiddie, Carroll and Harris. Their depth will also be improved with the aforementioned additions of Faried, Arthur, Davis, Musa and Kurucs. The Nets still have about $2.6 million in cap space remaining, even with 14 players under contract.
It has been quite a productive offseason for Marks, whose moves have set the Nets up to be major players in the draft and free-agency in 2019. They should have between $50-$70 million in salary cap space next Summer, along with two first-round picks. When Marks took over for Billy King back in 2016, the Nets did not have any of their own first-round picks. Now, they are set up to return to contention much faster than anyone could have ever anticipated.
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