Nets: Losing Jeff Green and Otto Porter is a brutal start to free agency

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 15: Jeff Green #8 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 15: Jeff Green #8 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

In a league where shooting is at a premium, the stretch power forward is increasingly in demand. Players like Brooklyn Nets vet Jeff Green have been able to extend their careers, while even average NBA 4s like Otto Porter Jr. and Robert Covington have been able to get some life-changing money.

Green arrived in Brooklyn on an extremely cheap deal last year, as the thought of providing some veteran moxie and rebounding alongside former teammate Kevin Durant on a team geared to win a title had some appeal. While they fell short of that goal, Green’s 11.0 points per game made him a perfect bench player.

However, the nomadic Green has chosen to sign for his 11th NBA franchise, and the move could leave a Nets team that is already struggling with depth in the paint even more desperate.

ESPN is reporting that Green has agreed to sign a two-year, $10 million deal with the Denver Nuggets, making him an ideal veteran bench piece that can supplement reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic. As painful as that sounds, the Nets had a fallback option all ready to go.

The Nets had their eyes set on Porter, a player Sean Marks signed to an offer sheet back when he was a restricted free agent with the Wizards. The Utah Jazz were also hot on his trail, but Brooklyn may have had an edge, per Tony Jones of The Athletic.

However, Sean Marks’ master plan was derailed by the Golden State Warriors, as Porter reportedly chose to play on a veteran’s minimum contract in San Francisco rather than be a mid-level exception target elsewhere. Should the Nets have gone out of their way to make sure that Porter ended up in white and black?

Could Otto Porter Jr. have replaced Jeff Green on the Brooklyn Nets?

After almost six seasons of solid, if somewhat disappointing, play from the former No. 3 overall pick, the Georgetown alum was dealt to Chicago. His Bulls tenure was marred by injuries, as he played in just 54 games in almost three seasons. Injuries limited him to just three contests with the Magic in 2021.

Porter’s stats are a study in extremes. Detractors will look at the fact he has averaged just 10.9 points per game for his career as evidence that he was a major bust, beginning to end. However, his shooting percentages show that he could be an effective role player on a contending team if he stays healthy.

Porter has made 48% of his shots in his career and 40% of his 3-point attempts. From 2017-2019, Porter’s best three-season stretch, he made almost 50% of his shots and 43% of his 3-pointers while playing solid defense. The Nets could use a player with Porter’s skillset.

Porter can, at the very least, impede some of the bigger post players while using his bulk and length to make it almost impossible for wing players to consistently blow by them on defense. What the Nets lost in Green’s veteran savvy and clutch shooting they could’ve gained in expert 3-point marksmanship, youth, and athleticism thanks to Porter.

The Nets whiffed on a promising Green replacement in Porter.

Replacing a sure thing like Green with a question mark like Porter could create some opposition within the Nets’ roster. However, given that this team started Blake Griffin at center and was willing to put a 6-4 guard in Bruce Brown down in the post, the Nets are clearly willing to try anything and everything for the sake of an offensive edge.

Porter spurnign them means that finding another power forward with the ability to stroke it from deep and play passable defense should be at the top of Brooklyn’s priority list. After failing to address that position in the draft, the Nets might find it difficult to replicate what Green brought to the table now that Porter is in blue and gold.