Brooklyn Nets

It’s Time for Brooklyn Nets Fans to get Excited

The start of a new season usually means optimistic thoughts for every single NBA fan base. Nets fans, for the first time in a long time, are finally allowed to hope again. The Mikhail Prokhorov era started in 2010, and has resulted in the team winning 39% of their regular season games and a single playoff victory over seven seasons. There was the Jason Kidd situation, the trade of trades, and endless missed promises from the owner. Injuries, bad contracts, and no draft picks led to one of the most hopeless situations in NBA history. The 2017-2018 season is the last time the Nets will be losing on behalf of another team. The team’s future draft picks, cap space, young core and Coach/GM combination mean there is a real reason to be excited about Brooklyn in the future.

The Draft

Yes, it is possible to be hopeful about a year where your draft pick will likely be in the top three and going to go play in Cleveland. Since Prokhorov came around and started promising championships and marriages the Nets got into the business of trading away their future.  If you add up what the Nets traded for Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce the only appropriate response is to call the authorities. Brooklyn had the opportunity to have Derrick Favors, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, Rudy Gobert, Gary Harris, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and the player Cleveland takes in the first round this year on their roster. At this point, the damage is done and knowing this is the last year where some other team will benefit from Brooklyn’s ineptitude means there is some light at the end of the tunnel. The Nets have Toronto’s lottery protected first round pick and have been very busy during the Sean Marks era on draft day. There is no doubt this team will be at the bottom of league standings for the next few years but at least, finally, there might be a reward for all the losses. Oh and maybe Jarrett Allen, last year’s first-rounder, is a good pick.

Cap Space

To get D’Angelo Russell and a first-round pick this year the Nets had to take on the contracts of Timofey Mozgov and DeMarre Carroll. The Nets are only now fully getting out from under one of the worst cap situations as well. In fact, the team will still be paying Deron Williams over five million a year in dead money until the 2019 season. Russel and Hollis-Jefferson both hit restricted free-agency in 2019 while Levert will be on his rookie deal until 2020. The Nets won’t be paying any player more than 18 million a year over the next few years so they will still have some cap flexibility. Expect more trades involving draft picks and young players as the Nets will be one of the NBA’s main dumpsters for horrible contracts.

 

2017/2018

2018/2019

2019/2020

2020/2021

Allen Crabbe

$19,332,500

$18,500,000

$18,500,000

 

Timofey Mozgov

$15,280,000

$16,000,000

$16,720,000

 

DeMarre Carroll

$14,800,000

$15,400,000

 

 

Jeremy Lin

$12,000,000

$12,516,746

 

 

Trevor Booker

$9,125,000

 

 

 

D’Angelo Russell

$5,562,360

$7,019,698

 

 

Jarrett Allen

$1,713,720

$2,034,120

$2,376,840

Tyler Zeller

$1,709,538

$1,933,941

 

 

Quincy Acy

$1,709,538

 

 

 

Caris Levert

$1,632,480

$1,702,800

$2,625,718

 

Spencer Dinwiddie

$1,524,305

$1,524,305

 

 

Sean Kilpatrick

$1,524,305

 

 

 

Joe Harris

$1,524,305

 

 

 

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

$1,471,382

$2,470,357

 

 

Isaiah Whitehead

$1,544,951

$1,676,735

 

(All salary info via Basketball Reference)

Young Core 

The Nets have a core of three guys that are 23 years old or younger that will all get significant opportunities to prove themselves this year. D’Angelo Russell, Caris Levert, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson make up the main staple of Brooklyn’s potential stars. Despite the team’s hopeless draft situation, they have been able to accumulate some good young talent. Watching these three develop over the next year will be the most important storyline for the Nets. Their development allows for either a potential star to begin blossoming or an essential trade piece to entice other teams into trade situations. The last few years the Nets planned everything around an aging and often injured Brook Lopez. This new team can now focus on rebuilding around a few players that all have bright futures.

Coach/GM 

Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks helped Brooklyn at least stop the downward spiral. Atkinson and Marks have already proven to be capable at their jobs in the brief amount of time they’ve been together. The Nets have a few young stars mixed in with some decent veterans and they all, at least through three preseason games, are playing a fun and exciting brand of basketball. The team is no longer focused on winning a championship but instead aware of where they are and what they need to do to get better. Hope for Nets fans comes in knowing that they’ve already hit rock bottom. No, the team won’t be going up anytime soon but at the very least, I think, it can’t get any worse.

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