The 2018-19 season will be an important season for the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn has two options: tanking or playing to win. It is a clear answer, Brooklyn should play to win.
The Brooklyn Nets have a bright future heading into the 2018-19 season. The Nets will finally hold their own first-round pick since 2013.
This raises the question whether or not to tank in order to rise up in the draft.
"That’s certainly one aspect of it. We want to show we’re competing on a nightly basis. Kenny [Atkinson] and his staff are well aware of the expectations, myself included,” Marks said. “But at the end of the day, we’re not going to try and skip any steps in order to maybe fast-forward the wins and losses and then take away our flexibility in the future.”"
Now, if the Nets did tank the 2018-19 season, there is only one benefit behind that move; a high first-round pick which would likely be in the top five. That is really the only benefit for the tanking option.
Yes, the 2019 NBA Draft is projected to be loaded with talent with names such as Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett likely to be in that draft class. Now, let’s look at why winning is the clear option to go for.
Benefits of playing to win in 2018-19
Marks is correct on planning to play to win next season. The Brooklyn Nets, as it stands, will have a lot of cap space for the 2019 offseason. After the Dwight Howard buyout became official, the Nets can get to two max contract spots for 2019.
This is huge for a team that has been rebuilding for the past couple of seasons.
Now, the Nets planning to win does not mean making a championship run. That is an unrealistic approach for Brooklyn with the team that they have. The main goal for Brooklyn next season is to make the playoffs and go from there.
Brooklyn is not pressured to make it past the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs next season. The Nets, in many eyes, are expected to come up shy of the playoffs next season.
After the departure of LeBron James out of the Eastern Conference, this makes Brooklyn’s playoff hopes a little brighter. Marks has a young talented team that wants to bring winning back to Brooklyn.
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If Brooklyn shows that it is winning, it makes those 2019 max contract spots more appealing for top free agents. The 2019 free agency class has many talented names that can take Brooklyn from trying to make the playoffs to Eastern Conference contenders.
These four top free agents are likely not going to negotiate with teams that are not showing signs of winning. Brooklyn is a city that can attract many stars just on their surroundings; the New York City environment, big media market and a city lifestyle.
Add winning to those attractions, Brooklyn will definitely be considered to be a super team prospect to build. Especially with those two max contract spots for 2019, the Nets are projected to have $50 million to $70 million in cap space for 2019.
Well, Marks and the Nets did not wait until 2019 to make moves. This offseason, Marks made some interesting trades and signings that will not only benefit their chances of winning next season but for their future. This is what Brooklyn’s 2018 offseason has looked like so far.
- Joe Harris (re-signed two-year $16 million with early Bird rights)
- Ed Davis (one-year $4.5 million, bi-annual exception)
- Dzanan Musa (drafted 29th overall in 2018 NBA Draft, four-year deal)
- Rodions Kurucs (drafted 40th overall in 2018 NBA Draft, four-year deal)
- Kenneth Faried (acquired in trade from Denver)
- Darrell Arthur (acquired in trade from Denver)
- Denver Nuggets first-round pick (protected 1-12 in 2019)
- Shabazz Napier (unrestricted free agent, two years, $3.5 million)
- Treveon Graham (unrestricted free agent, two years, veteran’s minimum)
- Timofey Mozgov (traded to Charlotte)
- Nik Stauskas (signed with Portland)
- Jeremy Lin (traded to Atlanta)
- Dante Cunningham (signed with San Antonio)
- Jahlil Okafor (renounced rights)
- Quincy Acy (renounced rights)
Brooklyn are currently a little more than $200,000 over the cap according to Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights.
Despite being over the cap, the Nets can still offer minimum deals to up to three players and still have their two two-way contract slots available, which do not count under the cap.
If Marks does sign Summer League players to minimum deal the likely candidates will be Theo Pinson, Yuta Watanabe or Shawn Dawson.
Overall, Marks has done a great job with Brooklyn’s 2018 offseason. He traded away big cap space players and brought in young pieces.
This gives the impression that Brooklyn is closing in on its long-term plan and ready to bring back winning to the Nets organization and make some big splashes in 2019. With all this being said, it is important for the Brooklyn Nets to play to win in 2018-19.