The Nets, as of Tuesday night, the Nets appear to have fallen to the last few spots on the list…except for the trade, of course.
Assuming the Markieff Morris deal is completed (the agreement was actually pending), the Nets would have:
- 12 players on fully guaranteed NBA contracts;
- one on a partially secured contract (Edmund Sumner);
- two with an unsecured contract (Utah Watanabe and Markive Morris);
- one in two directions (Alondes Williams);
- One on Exhibit 10 (Donovan Williams) contract.
The Nets and David Duke Jr. have yet to agree to a deal – the Nets would prefer to give him another two-way deal; He wants a record deal – but putting that aside, the Nets now have 17 players under some kind of contract. That’s less than the maximum 20 NBA teams can bring to training camp, which begins with Media Day on September 26.
Last week, after the Nets and Kevin Durant agreed to “continue their partnership,” the Nets agreed to sign Watanabe, Maurice and Donovan Williams, the first two, and Alex Schaefer of The Athletic reports, with connections to the networks. It’s about familiarity and insurance:
Watanabe averaged just 3.8 points per game in his career on 41 percent of shots. But he has the ingredients of a classic Marks Project: an international player with the potential to develop into a respected role like Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot in 2020. The Nets don’t need to count on Watanabe to sign up for a team with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Simmons, TJ Warren, Joe Harris and Seth Curry, but for all the attrition that Brooklyn has had in recent years, every spot on the list has proven to matter at one point or another.
Morris offers similar insurance. The producer from Philadelphia and Kansas missed last season’s months with the Heat after injuring his neck when Nikola Jokic shoved him in the back in early November. Morris returned in March, but played frugally, scoring less than four minutes in the 18-game playoff in Miami. Morris’ signing with Brooklyn is his reunion. A decade ago, his rookie year in Phoenix coincided with the last year of current Nets coach Steve Nash playing in the desert…
Newly appointed assistant coach Igor Kokoshkov has been on Alvin Gentry’s bench this season as well, giving Morris another familiar face on the team.
Of course, we’re talking about the players at the end of the roster who might not make the team under certain circumstances. What matters is that the “Big Three” seem to have finally made up their minds.
That being said, there is always the possibility of adding or removing players from the roster before camp starts…or even before the season. Luwawu-Cabarrot, for example, was signed two-way on opening night two years ago.
As of now, Zhou Tsai’s luxury salary and tax burden is approaching $300 million. Nets payroll is now just under $185 million and tax is just under $100 million ($99.3 million per Yossi Gozlan of Hoopshype).
Could the nets make a deal, maybe add a big amount and subtract the shooter? Or add a point of protection? surely. Schaefer notes that Dennis Schroeder, who plays well for Germany’s FIBA team in Europe, has connections in the Nets front office.
Andy Birdsong and Jeff Peterson, Marks’ assistant general manager, were with the German point guard in Atlanta as members of the Hawks’ front office.
Schaefer also wonders aloud if Sean Marks is interested in his reunion with Bojan Bogdanovich who is said to be being marketed by Danny Ainge in Utah.
So, we’ll have to wait, but again a lot better than it was on August 22, the day KD and partner Rich Kleiman met Marks, Steve Nash, Joe and Clara Wu Tsai.