With the Nets looking to cut salary in order to avoid the financial penalties that come with being a repeated luxury taxpayer, the front office has been exploring all possible avenues in order to cut down costs. An ideal solution to reaching that goal would be ridding themselves of the contracts of Joe Johnson and/or Deron Williams. Yet those trade scenarious are easier said than done. If Brooklyn is intent on keeping Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young in the fold and consequently adding about $30 million worth of salary to the $60 million already committed, they’ll need to get creative in deals they offer to other teams.
Aside from Johnson and Williams the next highest yearly salary on the roster belongs to backup point guard Jarrett Jack. The 6’3 guard averaged 12 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in 28 minutes last season. Although Jack outperformed Williams on more than one occasion, his $6.3 million price tag for next season may be too high for Brooklyn to maintain. Although Jack’s value is likely around that number on the free agent market, the Nets will look to secure unguaranteed contracts for Jack and possibly a 2nd round pick or international stash from another team so they don’t have to deal with a monetary commitment. Because of that, here are three teams that could be interested in acquiring Jack.
- Phoenix Suns: The Suns have a plethora of young players and very few veterans. Jack would be an elder statesman on the team on a team that needs to add more than one this offseason. Aside from Danny Granger and PJ Tucker, Phoenix’s roster is composed of players under 30 who could use some guidance on how to win. Jack would provide them with leadership while giving them a solid backup for starting point guard Eric Bledsose who has an extensive injury history. In times of need he also has the ability to play alongside Bledsoe, which would allow Phoenix to develop 2015 draftee Devin Booker along slowly. With Jon Leuer having a team option next season and Phoenix’s stable of players with contracts close to the $2 million mark, they’d make an ideal partner for Brooklyn.
- Utah Jazz: Another young team who could use some leadership, the Jazz desperately need a point guard to help groom future starter Dante Exum. Exum has the defensive tools, but is still a project that needs to develop his mid-range game and learn to play in control. With Exum regarded as the future, backup point guard Trey Burke is expendable. Burke’s $2.66 million contract should be easily movable, especially if the Jazz consider including Grant Jerrett’s contract with a team option. More likely, however, is the inclusion of Trevor Booker in a deal for Jack. Booker’s $4.78 million team option could become a hot commodity should Utah decide to make a move and it would help the Nets cut at least $4 million while potentially taking a chance on Burke as a second piece in the deal.
- Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers acquiring a veteran who can contribute next season is an idea that many may scoff at, but their depth chart consists of Isaiah Canaan and Tony Wroten, neither of which is impressive. Philadelphia could take on Jack’s contract without any consideration as to price tag as they’re far below the salary floor with less than $25 million guaranteed for next season. They also have four unguaranteed contracts below the $3 million mark if Brooklyn chooses to acquire some for the purpose of using them in future deals. If Philadelphia wants to take a step forward next season they will need to make some moves to become somewhat competitive while also reaching the salary floor. Jack will help improve their team and only has a partially guaranteed deal the following season, allowing General Manager Sam Hinkie to regain the cap space he loses in the short-term.
Although none of these teams project to be in the playoffs next season, Brooklyn needs to explore all possible scenarios to trim their salary. Speaking with teams who need veteran leadership and have the cap space to take on Jack’s contract should be their first step and these franchises should be on the list.