Two Power Forwards the Brooklyn Nets should pursue in free agency

BROOKLYN, NY - FEBRUARY 4: Giannis Antetokounmpo
BROOKLYN, NY - FEBRUARY 4: Giannis Antetokounmpo /

The Brooklyn Nets are fighting to win games this season, and wins aren’t easy to come by. With the playoffs out of sight, the draft pick situation is still playing itself out. However, it’s never too early to look at potential free agents that could take this team to new heights.

The Brooklyn Nets guard depth, or logjam, has been well documented. A decision will need to be made sooner or later on that area of the rotation.

What the Nets have really lacked this year is a power forward who can space the floor, and more importantly, shoot. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been much improved, but isn’t a threat from the three point line. The Nets put up three pointers at such a high rate that they need that type of production out of the four spot.

There are two such forwards, who will both be restricted free agents this off season. The Nets need to do whatever it takes to offer them each max contracts.

Jabari Parker

People may forget that Jabari Parker was the second overall pick in the 2014 draft by the Bucks, because of his injury history. That history includes multiple ACL surgeries on his left knee. The injuries haven’t prevented Parker from producing when he is on the court, however.

Last season he broke out averaging 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists before going down with an injury.  In 51 games, he shot 49 percent overall and a much improved 36.5 from three. In 13 games back this year, he’s averaging 20.5 minutes per game, but producing.

11.3 points and 4.2 rebounds with an outstanding 46.2 percent from range, and 49 percent overall. And in case you were wondering, Parker turns 23 years old next week.

With Jarrett Allen as the starting center next year, Parker would be the perfect complement. There’s no doubt he would mesh well with D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie dropping dimes to him as well.

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In terms of how practical a Parker-Nets union could be, consider that the Bucks’ cap situation for next season is a mess. The way is stands right now, matching on Parker would take them beyond the luxury tax threshold.

There was also a disagreement last off season over Parker’s value, with him wanting a max contract, and the Bucks countering with $18 million annually. This combination of factors could lead to a Nets’ max offer not being matched.

Aaron Gordon

Gordon has really taken off this season. He was the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft behind Parker.  This season he’s averaging 18 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game for the Magic. His three point shooting has really improved to 34 percent, while his overall sits at 44 percent.

His shooting has improved, while his rebounding has improved considerably as well. Gordon is also a highlight reel when it comes to dunks. Still just 22 years old, he’ll continue develop his shooting and defending.

He profiles well with the Nets young core similar to the way Parker does. And let’s not forgot that he put up 41 against Brooklyn earlier this season, and showed off his three point range in the process.

Gordon is more likely to have an offer sheet matched because the Magic don’t have as much talent as the Bucks. Orlando really struggled this season, and might not want to lose it’s lone bright spot.

How the Nets would create cap space for a max offer

We reviewed some ideas when we did an early look at the team’s cap situation going into this off season. To begin with, the Nets would need to let all their pending free agents go. This includes Joe Harris and Jahlil Okafor.

At that point Brooklyn General Manager Sean Marks would have around $16 million in cap space to work with. Not enough for a max offer. He could look to trade the expiring contract of DeMarre Carroll, who a Parker or Gordon signing would replace in the rotation.

Perhaps he could trade RHJ and Toronto’s first round pick for a chance at the end of the lottery in the first round. That potential draft choice could entice Parker or Gordon to accept Brooklyn’s offer sheet and force their respective teams’ hands.

There are many ways these scenarios could play out, and still a lot of decisions that need to be made before getting there. Nevertheless, the addition of either of these power forwards for the Nets constitute a major improvement in both the short and long run for the franchise.

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