Brooklyn Nets: Sequence of offseason moves key to maximizing space

Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets have finalized the Allen Crabbe trade, sent DeMarre Carroll to the San Antonio Spurs and signed DeAndre Jordan and Kyrie Irving.

The biggest move of the Brooklyn Nets offseason thus far became official on Sunday morning, when Kyrie Irving officially signed his four-year, $141 million deal and brought his six All-Star berths, two All-NBA selections and his NBA championship experience to the borough.

Irving’s signing is the fourth move the Nets have made since the NBA lifted its annual moratorium at noon Eastern on Saturday. On June 29, the league had announced the official salary cap figure for the 2019-20 season will be $109.14 million, with a luxury tax level of $132.627 million.

As Miami-based salary cap expert Albert Nahmad had explained on Twitter last week, the sequence of Brooklyn’s move will allow the Nets to create an additional $9.2 million in cap room, enough to make the signing of Jordan possible.

For months, when analysts had crunched the Nets salary numbers, they would arrive with the Nets short of the $70.8 million required to add Irving and former NBA MVP Kevin Durant without trading someone.

However, the Brooklyn front office — as many teams have done this offseason after the practice had nearly disappeared from the NBA landscape — strategically employed the sign-and-trade option to, in effect, create cap space.

The Carroll maneuver was part of that, with the Durant addition reportedly also to be done as a two-way sign sign-and-trade between the Nets and Golden State Warriors that will send All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell to the five-time defending Western Conference champs.

The first domino to fall was finalizing the trade of Allen Crabbe to the Atlanta Hawks official. The deal had been agreed to a month ago, on June 6, but had to be delayed to the start of the new league year so the Hawks could have the cap space to take on Crabbe’s $18.5 million salary.

Here’s how the deal broke down:

Crabbe goes to Atlanta along with the rights to 17th overall pick Nickeil Alexander-Walker from Virginia Tech and Brooklyn’s 2020 first-round pick, which is lottery protected in 2020, 2021 and 2022 in exchange for Taurean Prince and Atlanta’s 2021 second-round pick.

This opened $20.97 million in cap space for Brooklyn — Crabbe’s salary plus the $2.47 million cap hold for the No. 17 pick — with the Nets taking back Prince’s $3.48 million salary for 2019-20, a net gain (no pun intended) of $17.49 million in space for the Nets.

The second move in the sequence had not been previously reported. It was reported on June 30 that DeMarre Carroll had agreed to a two-year, $13 million deal to join the San Antonio Spurs, but that ended up being a sign-and-trade that included three teams.

Here’s the details of that trade:

Carroll goes to San Antonio as a sign-and-trade, which will hard-cap the Spurs next season at the luxury tax apron.

The Spurs sent the rights to 2015 second-round pick Nemanja Dangubic to the Nets and dispatched stretch 4 Davis Bertans to the Washington Wizards, who sent the rights to 2015 second-rounder Aaron White to Brooklyn.

Dangubic, now 26, is a Serbian small forward who was taken 54th overall in 2015 by the Philadelphia 76ers before being swapped to the Spurs on draft night in exchange for the rights to draft picks Cory Jefferson and Jordan McRae.

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Dangubic has yet to make an appearance on the NBA landscape, with the Spurs keeping him stashed overseas the last four seasons. He remained with Serbian club KK Crvena Zvezda for three seasons before spending last year with Bayern Munich in Germany.

In 70 games and 11 starts in Basketball Bundesliga, Euroleague and domestic cup competitions, Dangubic averaged 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game, shooting 42.2 percent overall and 34.5 percent on 2.0 3-point attempts per game.

So Dangubic seems to be a long way from being an NBA prospect and at 26, the clock is running out.

White, who will be 27 in September, played four seasons at the University of Iowa before being taken 49th overall by the Wizards in 2015.

He played in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with Washington’s entries in both 2015 and 2016, but hasn’t been back the last three years.

In 11 Summer League games, White averaged 4.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game while shooting 35.5 percent overall and 19.2 percent on 2.4 long-range tries a game.

He played with Telekom Baskets Bonn in Germany in 2015-16 before moving on to Zenit Saint Petersburg in Russia in 2016-17.

The last two seasons, White has been with Lithuanian club Zalgiris and last season in 74 games in the domestic LKL and in Euroleague play, he made 46 starts and averaged 8.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 21.9 minutes per game while shooting 53.0 percent overall and 40.3 percent on 1.7 deep attempts a game.

The next two moves were to sign unrestricted free agents DeAndre Jordan on Saturday and Irving Sunday morning.

Both players had announced on June 30 their intent to sign with Brooklyn. Jordan played last season with the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks after playing his first 10 years with the Clippers.

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Irving played with the Boston Celtics the last two seasons following a six-year stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers.