The Brooklyn Nets not so long ago were a bad team with a bad salary cap situation and few draft picks in the cupboard. It’s a very different outlook now.
Brooklyn’s lone deal on Thursday was to send cash considerations to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for center Greg Monroe and Toronto’s 2021 second-round pick. The Nets then placed Monroe on waivers.
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It is another in a series of deals Marks has made since becoming the Nets’ GM in February 2016 that have stabilized a listing franchise that had little talent, salary cap problems and little in the way of future draft assets.
Four trades made by former general manager Billy King had robbed the franchise of cap space and future assets.
In February 2011, King shipped the Nets’ 2010 first-round pick Derrick Favors along with the Nets’ 2011 first-rounder and a 2013 first-round pick that had been acquired from the Golden State Warriors to the Utah Jazz to get Deron Williams.
In March 2012, King sent a 2012 first-round pick and two players to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gerald Wallace.
With the move to Brooklyn done, in July 2012 King traded a 2013 first-round pick acquired from the Houston Rockets and a 2017 second-rounder to the Atlanta Hawks to get Joe Johnson.
Then came the doozy in July 2013.
First-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018 as well as the right to swap picks in 2015 and 2017 were sent to the Boston Celtics along with five players — including Wallace — to get Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, D.J. White and a 2017 second-round selection.
The Brooklyn dynasty never happened. The Nets won 44 games in 2013-14 and reached the second round of the playoffs. King ended up waiving White almost immediately and traded Terry to the Sacramento Kings for Marcus Thornton at the 2014 trade deadline.
Pierce left as a free agent after the season, Garnett was gone before the end of 2014-15 and all that was left was Thaddeus Young, acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Garnett.
Williams was bought out in July 2015.
Enter Marks. He bought out Johnson in February 2016, a week after he took the job, and opened the Nets up for business as a place for salary dumps — demanding future picks as the sweetener for taking on those unwanted deals.
In his first summer on the job, the salary cap exploded upward and huge contracts were going to almost every free agent.
And along the way, he even added some value to the trade with Boston, value that few recognize.
King landed Garnett, Pierce, Terry, White and a 2017 second-rounder, as well as Boston’s 2017 first-round pick. Terry became Thornton and Garnett became Young.
That’s what Marks inherited. Here’s what’s come out of that:
- Marks traded Young to the Indiana Pacers for a first-round pick in 2016 that was used to get Caris LeVert.
- Boston’s 2017 first-round pick, along with Brook Lopez, were flipped to the Los Angeles Lakers for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. Mozgov was sent a year later to the Charlotte Hornets for Dwight Howard and a pair of second-round picks.
LeVert and Russell aren’t a bad consolation prize from a horrible trade that the previous administration made.
And by making other moves, such as taking on the bad contract of Andrew Nicholson from the Washington Wizards at the trade deadline in 2017, he got the first-round pick used in 2017 to take Jarrett Allen.
By taking on the contract of DeMarre Carroll in the summer of 2017 from the Toronto Raptors, Marks got the first-round pick used in 2018 to select Dzanan Musa as well as the second-rounder that became Rodions Kurucs.
And as far as future assets? The Nets have the following picks accumulated:
The Nets have their own first-round pick this year, the first time that has been the case since Mason Plumlee was chosen in 2013. That pick is currently in the 17th overall position.
But because of a salary dump from the Denver Nuggets last summer, they also have Denver’s pick, which is top-12 protected but currently would be 27th overall.
While their own second-round pick was sent to Charlotte in a 2015 trade and is now set to go to the Orlando Magic, the Nets have the second-round pick of the New York Knicks that would currently be the 31st overall selection.
That pick came in the trade in December 2017 that sent Booker to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Indiana’s second-round pick, which hasn’t conveyed because of its 45-60 protection the last two years, would defer for another year. That pick was acquired in the Young trade in 2016 and becomes unprotected in 2023 if not conveyed before then.
Brooklyn has its own 2020 first-round pick to go with a second-round that was originally Portland’s (top 55 protected) and Denver’s 2020 second-round pick.
Their own second-round pick is owed to the 76ers from the 2014 trade for Brandon Davies and could end up moving on to Charlotte, via Orlando, as the 76ers owe the Magic the least-favorable of the Brooklyn and New York second-round picks that year. Orlando sent that pick on to the Hornets.
The Nets have their own first round pick and a top-35 protected second-rounder from the Phoenix Suns that was acquired in last summer’s trade for Jared Dudley.
Their own second-round pick was traded to the Hornets as part of the Mozgov deal last summer.
2022 (2), 2024 (2) and 2026 (2)
The Nets have both of their own picks for all three of these drafts.
Brooklyn owns its first-round selection in 2023. It’s second-round pick could be swapped at the choice of the Hawks as part of the Jeremy Lin trade last summer.
The Nets have their first-round pick, but sent their second-round selection to Atlanta in the Lin trade.
That’s a total of 18 picks over the next eight drafts. It’s not the 76ers during Sam Hinkie’s famous Process or what Danny Ainge has done in Boston, but it’s a far brighter outlook than Brooklyn had three years ago.
Right now, the Nets are a legitimate playoff contender, with solid cap space available this summer and a drawer full of draft picks — including all of their first-rounders — over the next eight years.
That’s a pretty bright future that Marks has cobbled together in a relatively short time.