Brooklyn Nets rumors: Ed Davis likely to sign multi-year deal elsewhere

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Ed Davis #17 of the Brooklyn Nets poses for a portrait during Media Day at the HSS Training Facility on September 24, 2018 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Ed Davis #17 of the Brooklyn Nets poses for a portrait during Media Day at the HSS Training Facility on September 24, 2018 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

According to a report, Brooklyn Nets backup center Ed Davis is likely to have a robust market in free agency and could land a multi-year deal elsewhere.

The latest Brooklyn Nets rumors say that backup center Ed Davis is likely headed elsewhere, as a report indicates the veteran backup big man will be a sought-after commodity in free agency.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (subscription required), Davis is likely to get a multi-year deal with another club when free agency opens on June 30.

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It’s not surprising this rumor has surfaced. Ed Davis had a good season with the Brooklyn Nets.

This is bittersweet news. While it’s nice that Davis is receiving league-wide attention for his efforts, it makes the notion of re-signing him to a reasonable contract less likely for Brooklyn.

The Nets would love to retain the services of Ed Davis. However, with several teams now reportedly interested in the unrestricted free agent, the Nets could find themselves in a bidding war over Davis when free agency starts.

This could prove to be a bidding war the Nets simply won’t be able to afford if they continue their rumored pursuit of two stars for maximum contracts in free-agency.

Davis was signed to a one-year deal last July. coming to Brooklyn for the $4.45 million biannual exception amount. The 30-year-old was the 13th pick of the 2010 draft and averaged 5.8 points and a team-leading 8.6 rebounds per game for the Nets last season.

He was a critical piece for the Nets who finished as a surprise sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 42-40.

Davis played one great game against Philly in the first round of the playoffs before he was hobbled by an ankle injury early in the series. The Nets won that game, but lost four straight without Davis at full strength.

After a dominating season on the glass, most Nets fans realized Davis would be due for a bigger contract. The hope was he would fly under-the-radar in free agency due to his low scoring average and inability to shoot 3-pointers.

Now that other teams have him on their radar, the question shifts to: How much is Davis going to fetch on the open market?

It’s hard to imagine a bench player who only scores 5.8 points per game could get a four-year deal worth over $8 million to $10 million per year, but that appears to be the situation Davis is currently in.

Perhaps another team has plans to start Davis at center. With Jarrett Allen looking like a cornerstone piece of the Nets core, Davis doesn’t figure to start for the Nets even if they do re-sign him next season.

That begs the question: Will Brooklyn spend $7 million or upwards per year on a backup center like Ed Davis for four years?

Furthermore, if a bidding war for Davis begins that figure could climb as high as $12 million per year for him. Charania’s report indicates that a bidding war for Davis is unavoidable.

The timing of such a bidding war would be terrible for Brooklyn as other teams will be making offers for Davis while the Nets are simultaneously going after other free agents.

Bidding wars take time which is a luxury the Nets might not have during free agency. Davis could be the first Net signed to another team if it plays out like this.

The sudden interest in Davis is undoubtedly due to the weak center market in this year’s free-agent crop, coupled with the fact he averaged 8.6 rebounds in just roughly 18 minutes per game last season.

Last season, the Nets ranked 10th in both offensive and defensive rebounding. Davis’ rebounding played a major factor in that respectable team ranking.

The potential loss of Davis would almost certainly make the Nets drop in those rebound rankings next season. Without question, Davis is very valuable to the Nets. He will likely be valuable to any team that signs him.

This multi-team interest in Davis certainly puts more pressure on the Nets to sign prolific rebounders now. This is problematic because the Nets appear primed to pair two stars in free agency.

If the Nets lose Davis, they will certainly have problems rebounding next season unless he is replaced by someone as good or better, which also could be expensive in free agency.

This creates a new problem for Nets general manager Sean Marks.

Since Davis is an unrestricted free agent coming off a one-year deal, the Nets have no way of keeping him — there are no Bird rights involved with a one-year deal — unless they outbid other teams vying for Davis and convince him to stay in a reserve role

Unless Marks plans to trade or bench Allen in favor of Davis.

It’s very possible that Davis will want to start next season. A four-year offer for over $10 million per year from another team, also offering him a starting position, could be enough to acquire Davis.

If Marks really wants to keep Davis and chase two stars he will have to clear even more cap space to try and re-sign him. He would have to do this before free agency begins just to prepare for a bidding war over Davis.

This makes Marks’ job more difficult. To clear this kind of cap space, Marks might have to trade Spencer Dinwiddie or Joe Harris. Dinwiddie’s salary for next season is roughly $10.34 million.

Harris is set to enter the final year of his contract making $7.67 million.

Marks might even have to move both players to try and re-sign Davis and still have enough cap space left to go after two stars for maximum contracts in free-agency.

In that scenario, the Nets would be losing the league’s best 3-point shooter by percentage in Harris. They would also be losing a potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Dinwiddie just to have the cap-space to be able to negotiate with Davis and two maximum contract stars.

While possible, this is unlikely to happen.

Another option for Marks would be to not sign two stars to maximum contracts and use the remaining cap space to keep Davis and go after lesser players in free agency.

While also possible, this is also unlikely to happen.

This is a difficult position for Marks as he already knows the Nets desperately need big men who can rebound. If Davis was lost, Marks would have to make signing rebounders a top priority.

The weak free agency crop at the power forward position doesn’t help matters much for Brooklyn either.

Tobias Harris and Julius Randle are options, but Harris is seeking a maximum contract and is nowhere close to the rebounder Davis is. Randle could fetch a contract close to $20 million a year for four years as well, possibly more.

As good a rebounder as Randle is, he doesn’t rebound as well as Davis does. Randle averaged 8.7 rebounds per game last season, but played 12.1 more minutes per game than Davis.

Granted, Randle’s offensive game is better than Davis’ by a considerable margin, but the rebounding department would take a hit either way for Brooklyn, with or without Randle.

This makes Randle a more attractive option for the Nets than he was previously if he can be signed for roughly $20 million per year for four years.

If Davis commands close to $12 million annually on the free agency market, it might make more sense to just sign Randle instead of bidding over Davis. Randle is also only 24 years old.

While the Nets would ultimately lose some of the rebounding Davis provides, they could replace a large portion of it by adding Randle who would also improve their offense and fill the gap at power forward.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than heading into next season with just one good rebounder in Allen on the roster if Davis is lost in free-agency.

This could affect how the Nets approach the upcoming draft as well. The potential and likely loss of Davis in free agency may force the Nets to draft some big players who can rebound.

With the 27th and 31st overall picks in this year’s draft, it will be hard to replace Davis’ rebounding contributions, but it’s definitely worth exploring in light of recent news.

The realization of other teams showing interest in signing Davis to a multi-year contract is great for Ed Davis, but not so great for the Brooklyn Nets.

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It still remains to be seen where Davis will ultimately land but the likelihood of it being with the Nets just went down considerably.