As we have written about before, the Brooklyn Nets have three players whose contracts are guaranteed for next season: Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, and MarShon Brooks. Additionally, they have three players with a ‘player option': Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, and Jordan Farmar. They also have a ‘team option’ on Damion James and Brook Lopez is a restricted free agent. All the other players on last year’s team are currently unrestricted free agents. I will discuss what all this means and how I expect the Nets to proceed.
The Player Options: Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Jordan Farmar
I really do not expect any of these three players to exercise their player options.
Gerald Wallace: Would receive $11.4 million for one season if he exercises player option.
Gerald Wallace publically stated that he does not want to play on an expiring contract (his current one ends next offseason). As a result, Wallace will become an unrestricted free agent. Billy King told the press that he plans to pursue Wallace and offer him a long-term deal should he enter free agency. $11.4 million, his current salary, is a lot to pay for an aging veteran like Wallace. In the best case scenario, Wallace would choose to enter free agency, then sign with the Nets for a manageable three year deal, and play good, injury free basketball for three seasons.
Wallace has not expressed any commitment to the Nets, even though he expressed excitement about the move to Brooklyn. Also, Andrei Kirilenko must be considered. AK47 seems fairly interested in joining the Nets. There are many similarities between Kirilenko and Wallace. They both play small forward, have ten years of NBA experience, play good defense, are injury prone, and will likely command unmanageable contracts.
It is really hard to know how this will all unfold.
Jordan Farmar: Would receive $4.2 million for one season if he accepts player option.
Jordan Farmar should be upset with coach Avery Johnson. He started the season as the third string point guard, behind Sundiata Gaines, who is terrible. Farmar had many nice games and moments with the Nets during his two year stint with them. He would be a welcome addition to plenty of teams around the league because he is a capable backup point guard/combo guard with a knack for scoring.
Farmar has not committed to returning to the Nets and I fully expect him to walk away from his contract this offseason. As a free agent, I do not expect the Nets to make a run at him because he spent a lot of time in Avery Johnson’s doghouse this past season. It would be sad to say goodbye to Farmar.
Deron Williams: Would receive $17.8 million for one season if he accepts player option.
As we all know, Deron Williams already declared that he will not exercise his player option. He will enter free agency and earn a multi-year, maximum contract from whatever team he chooses. He will almost certainly choose to play for a highly talented team because he loves winning basketball games. He has expressed excitement about the Nets’ move to Brooklyn.
Obviously, the Nets are focused on re-signing Williams. Therefore, they are doubly concerned with bringing in other great players this offseason, such as Dwight Howard. Over the past few months, We have written very frequently about Williams’ decision.
The Team Option
Damion James: Would receive $1.3 million if Nets exercise his team option.
As I wrote about here, the Nets must really love Damion James’ contract. It is very cheap and it features a team option each of the next two offseasons. Therefore, the Nets essentially have a cheap contract that they can dump whenever they choose. James is a pretty hopeless basketball player, but the Nets may stash him on the bench anyway because his contract is so friendly.
The Restricted Free Agent
Brook Lopez: Has a minimum qualifying offer of $4.2 million for one season.
Brook Lopez is worth a whole lot more than $4.2 million per year. As a restricted free agent, every team around the league can make an offer to sign him. Then, the Nets will have an option to match their offers and retain Lopez or walk away and let another team have him. Lopez will definitely receive some high offers from other teams and the Nets will have to make a decision whether to commit a ton of salary cap space to keep Lopez. Lopez is an awesome offensive player. However, his rebounding and defensive play are very underwhelming.
Lopez has repeatedly pledged his allegiance to the Nets this offseason. He wants to stay. The Nets will probably match whatever offers other teams make for him and keep him for now. They offered him in a trade for Dwight Howard at last season’s trade deadline and may package him in trades this offseason as well.
The Guaranteed Players
I wrote an article about these players here.
Johan Petro: Will be paid $3.5 million for one year.
I really expect him to be traded this offseason. The Nets really do not want him.
Anthony Morrow: Will be paid $4 million for one year.
The Nets would rather not have to commit $4 million of cap space to Morrow this summer, but they have had no luck trading him. Morrow is excited to play for Brooklyn.
MarShon Brooks: Will be paid $1.2 million next season. Has a team option next offseason.
MarShon will probably not be traded. He should have little trade value and still may develop into a really nice player. He also has a very friendly contract that features two team options in the 2013 and 2014 offseasons.
The Unrestricted Free Agents
We should feel confident that the Nets will part ways with Keith Bogans, Sundiata Gaines, and Armon Johnson. At this point, it is very hard to know how aggressively the Nets will pursue Kris Humphries, Gerald Green, DeShawn Stevenson, Shelden Williams, and Jordan Williams.