The Brooklyn Nets have shown that they’re not afraid to throw money into the free agency pool, and don’t expect it to change this summer.
For being as bad as they are, the Nets are talked about a lot, and it’s surprising considering how they were actually better last season. Upon getting hired, Sean Marks initiated their rebuild almost immediately, and Allen Crabbe and Tyler Johnson were two guys who saw massive offer sheets sent their way before they both got matched by their original teams.
Brooklyn will have a ton of cap space once the dreadful New York winter passes, and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst pointed out to Zach Lowe on The Lowe Post that the Nets (and Philadelphia 76ers) can be major players when it comes to recruiting free agent point guards:
“When it comes to this summer, Brooklyn and Philadelphia for all guards, look out, especially Brooklyn. [They] showed last year they’ll offer Allen Crabbe $75 million. ‘George Hill, here’s a bunch, here’s a huge offer. Kyle Lowry, here’s a huge offer.'”
I’m getting giddy with excitement as I write this because the prospect of either Hill or Lowry suiting up in black and white is incredible.
Lowry would be a much harder sign than Hill because it would be really foolish for someone in their prime to abandon a potential Eastern Conference champion for a team who’s going to struggle for 15 wins. Hill, on the other hand, is entirely obtainable.
Both guards have proven that they can produce from the starting point guard spot and that’s huge. The Jeremy Lin experiment is off to a shaky start because of hamstring troubles and whoever they sign would need to be ready to lead from the jump if the injuries persist.
I pray three times a day that they won’t.
If Lin were to stay healthy, the Nets would be able to do one of two things — move Lin to the bench or run a two point guard backcourt.
Modern coaches have the luxury of running obscure lineups because basketball is virtually positionless now, and Hill (or Lowry) and Lin are polar opposites regarding playstyle.
One is a lethal shooter from behind the arc, and the other loves to slash to the basket out of the pick-and-roll. This season, Hill’s averaging 17.5 points on 47.5 percent shooting overall and 39.4 percent from three.
It’d be great to add a reliable deep threat into Kenny Atkinson’s long-range-bomb-centric offense, and Hill should be music to the ears of Nets fans everywhere since they’re more in love with three than Chance The Rapper.
The potential deal gets even sweeter, though. Over the years, Hill has built up the reputation of being a lockdown defender. And the Nets have managed to be worse than every other team at stopping buckets.
Of course, one player isn’t going to reverse the fortunes of the entire team, but it’s a start. Furthermore, they would have a teacher for the young guards. The implied addition of Lowry would do the same thing, and his gritty, bulldog way of playing defense is more New York City-like.
As Jordan Belfort said, “money talks and [expletive] takes the bus.” Right off the bat, Lowry is going to command a lot of cash. After this season, he’s got a player option worth $12 million. Safe to say he’ll decline that to get what he’s worth. Thanks to the new CBA, players with 10-plus years of experience are eligible for max contracts with yearly payouts of $36 million.
At the start of 2017-18, Lowry will be in his 12th pro campaign, and the Nets would have to commit upwards of $30 million annually to land the three-time All-Star.
Hill, an eight-year vet, would be able to sign for $31 million if someone offered it to him, but that’s unrealistic — actually, that sounds like something the Sacramento Kings would do.
The level of play at his position across the board waters down his stats, but they’re undoubtedly solid for a starter, and he’d fetch somewhere between $20-22 million a year.
Of course, none of this is guaranteed.