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Complete Guide to Brooklyn Nets' Salary Cap Situation

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Complete Guide to Brooklyn Nets' Salary Cap Situation
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Will Andray Blatche take a minimum contract and stay in Brooklyn?

Owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s $330 million spending spree last summer pushed the Brooklyn Nets well over the NBA’s $58,044,000 million 2012-13 salary cap.

The Nets had a total team salary of $83,154,808 in 2012-13. Only the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat spent more.

The Nets also spent well over the $70,307,000 luxury tax threshold.

Because they’re over the salary cap and deep in the luxury tax, the Nets can only offer minimum contracts or the taxpayer mini mid-level exception to their free agents. This could make it difficult to bring back key bench contributors Andray Blatche and C.J. Watson, especially if the team decides to use its $3,090,000 mid-level exception on Croatian sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic.

Blatche, who was amnestied by the Washington Wizards, still stands to make $16 million over the next two seasons. Watson isn’t likely to stick around for a $1,106,942 player option.

It will be interesting to see if a one-year, $1,375,604 minimum contract and a chance to start at power forward will be enough to convince Blatche to stay in Brooklyn.

The Nets are paying $4 million over the next two seasons to their own amnestied player, Travis Outlaw. Fortunately, Outlaw’s contract doesn’t count against the salary cap or luxury tax.

USA TODAY Sports
Dumping Kris Humphries' $12 million expiring contract would give the Nets some financial relief.

Brooklyn could give itself a little wiggle room by finding a way to dump Kris Humphries’ $12 million expiring contract in a trade.

The Nets could offer a package that includes Humphries’ expiring contract, MarShon Brooks and future first-round picks. If the Nets are serious about upgrading the power forward position, they could offer this package to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Carlos Boozer or to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for David Lee.

Shedding $12 million will soften the blow Prokhorov is about to receive from the new luxury tax system that’s set to begin in 2013-14. The new system, which was established in the collective bargaining agreement in 2011, will hit teams that exceed the luxury tax threshold with increased penalties.

These financial penalties are set to increase exponentially.

In years past, teams were charged $1.00 for every $1.00 that they were over the threshold. In 2013-14, these teams will be charged $1.50 for every $1.00 over the threshold up to $5 million, and $1.75 for every $1.00 from $5 million to $10 million and so on.

The Nets have $86,340,962 committed to 12 players next season, so the tax penalties are sure to be heavy.

With veteran Jerry Stackhouse set to retire and the possibility of C.J. Watson and 33-year-old Keith Bogans leaving in free agency, general manager Billy King must find a way to replenish the bench mob for next season.

Some players the Nets might sign on the cheap include Nazr Mohammed, Ryan Hollins, DeJuan Blair and Daniel Gibson.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The Nets first-round pick will make $1,082,200 in the first year of his rookie contract. Will that player be Gorgui Dieng?

Then there’s the draft.

Brooklyn owns the 22nd pick in this year’s draft, which will take place at the Barclays Center on Thursday, June 27.

The Nets, if they use their mid-level exception on Bogdanovic, will probably use the 22nd pick on a backup center. According to ESPNNewYork.com, the team will work out 7-footer Jeff Withey from Kansas and former Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng.

According to the 2013-14 NBA rookie salary scale, the 22nd pick will be owed $1,082,200 in his first year.

Prokhorov also has to worry about signing a new head coach, who will surely be granted a nice contract. Luckily for the Nets, this won’t count against the cap or the tax.

According to Max Weisberg of TheBrooklynGame.com, the Nets paid $12,847,808 in taxes last season. With tax penalties set to increase in 2013-14, the team is going to take an even greater financial hit.

Fortunately for the Nets, Prokhorov is worth an estimated $13 billion, so these tax penalties will hardly put a dent in his bank account and probably won’t deter the Russian from continuing to spend.

The main focus for the Nets this offseason will be re-signing Blatche, replenishing the bench and finding an impact player in the draft. Even under unfavorable financial circumstances, Prokhorov and King should be able to find a way to get this done and keep the team moving in the right direction.

All team salary data in this article was gathered from ShamSports.com and HoopsWorld.com.

For more Brooklyn Nets analysis, follow Andrew on Twitter

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