The Brooklyn Nets had been playing the waiting game on Sunday, and unfortunately, Sean Marks and the Nets came up empty-handed.
Sunday was a difficult day for the Brooklyn Nets, as the team had been waiting patiently for decisions on both coasts. The Portland Trail Blazers had been mulling whether to match Allen Crabbe’s four-year $75 million offer, and the Miami Heat had the same decision to make on Tyler Johnson’s four-year, $50 million offer.
First came Portland’s decision. Early on Sunday, the Trail Blazers elected to spend big, and match Brooklyn’s offer for Crabbe, as reported by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
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In retaining Crabbe, the Trail Blazers keep a player who figures to continue to play a key reserve role for an emerging team. If Crabbe were to make his way to Brooklyn — which he will not — he would have had the opportunity to start with the Nets. Now, he’ll return to Portland, where he has spent his whole three-year career to this point.
Missing out on Allen Crabbe was a tough blow for the Nets, but Portland opted to spend big money to keep Crabbe in town. When the Crabbe news broke, the Nets still had a chance to get Johnson. In the hours since, though, Pat Riley and the Heat have made a decision. Wojnarowski reports the Heat will match Brooklyn’s four-year, $50 million offer and retain Johnson.
In Brooklyn’s case, it’s hard to say which of these moves hurts more. Crabbe is the more established player, but Brooklyn felt they made a solid offer that would make Portland hesitant to match. The Nets, some may feel, overpaid on Johnson’s offer sheet, because he is less established than Crabbe. In the end, though, Brooklyn ends up with neither.
Johnson could’ve seen time at both guard spots, and Crabbe could’ve started at shooting guard, providing the Nets with solid defense and consistent three-point shooting. Surely, the Nets would’ve loved to have signed both players, but one wouldn’t have been a bad consolation prize.
However, Brooklyn missed out on both, and with the time spent with potential money wrapped up in these offer sheets, there are now less-appealing options left on the free agent market. It’s a tough spot for Sean Marks to be in, but it’s the nature of free agency for a rebuilding team.
Brooklyn did add a few pieces, in Jeremy Lin and Trevor Booker, and the Nets still have some money to make other moves. But, needless to say, this could have been a much bigger-scale spending spree for the Nets, had Portland and/or Miami not matched Crabbe’s and Johnson’s offers. Marks is trying to rebuild this team by adding pieces the Nets deem viable. Brooklyn would have benefitted from adding at least one of these players, which makes Sunday’s news tough for the Nets and their fans.