Best Bargain-Bin NBA 2014 Free Agency Options for Brooklyn Nets
While many teams are busy signing big-name free agents and acquiring valuable role players, the Brooklyn Nets have been relegated to more thumb-twiddling than people who don't dance at weddings.
Entering the free agency fray with nine players locked into guaranteed contracts in 2014-15, Brooklyn will be limited to using its taxpayer’s mini midlevel exception (starting at $3.3 million) and offering veteran’s minimum deals, per ESPN New York’s Mike Mazzeo.
Getting ahold of youngsters like Markel Brown, Xavier Thomas and Cory Jefferson in the 2014 draft could bolster the aging roster, but can't be the only improvement the Nets make this offseason.
So, as the team stares down a financial situation tighter than a Kim Kardashian dress, what can the Nets really do to get better this summer?
Off to the clearance rack we go.
After a folk tale of a college career at BYU, the 25-year-old was drafted and predominantly benched by the Sacramento Kings for the first two-and-a-half years of his professional career. After getting waived this past March, Fredette signed with the offensively-starved Chicago Bulls.
And got benched again.
Fredette, an unrestricted free agent this offseason, will never be the star that he was in college. But the kid can flat-out shoot.
In four years as a pro, Fredette has knocked down over 40 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc and nearly 43 percent from his shots from the field.
He can’t play defense, isn’t really a playmaker and stands at an underwhelming 6’2”. But his long-range shooting will pay his bills for years to come.
“People need shooting, they need scoring,” Fredette told the Post-Star, a small paper near his hometown. “I’m able to provide that and during flashes of my career they’ve been able to see that I can do it. So hopefully I’m able to find a spot where I can do it consistently and get consistent playing time.”
Brooklyn could sign Fredette, a native of Glens Falls, N.Y., to a small deal and camp him out around the three-point line. No ball-handling, distributing or defensive responsibilities—just firing from downtown.
Pairing Fredette with Mirza Teletovic would give the team two long-range assassins, opening up the paint and improving ball movement on the perimeter.
Isolation players like Joe Johnson need to be surrounded with snipers in order to truly be effective, and in Brooklyn, Fredette would be able to stretch the floor with the best of ‘em.
According to Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express, Bonner has re-signed with the Spurs.
With the Red Rocket now off the market, Brooklyn's best option to find perimeter players would be to dip into the summer league.
Undrafted rookies like C.J. Fair, Langston Hall or Fuquan Edwin could all be obtained at a discount, and would provide athleticism and defense for a Nets team that's primarily devoid of youth.
…Speaking of shooters.
It’s just weird.
But it’s a possibility. Bonner, who has spent eight of his 10 professional seasons in San Antonio, is an unrestricted free agent this summer. And with the Spurs reportedly pursuing Pau Gasol, Bonner may end up as the odd man out.
Aside from being arguably the coolest player in the NBA, Bonner does one thing and one thing only—shoots.
Call him a system player, call him a beneficiary of playing with stars, call him whatever you wish. The fact is that the 34-year-old is one of the best three-point assassins in the NBA.
For his career, Bonner has knocked down nearly 42 percent of his attempts from downtown, including a league-leading clip of 45.7 in 2010-11.
Throwing the Red Mamba, who made less than $4 million last season, into the mix with Brooklyn would stretch the floor and give the Nets one of the best three-point attacks in the Association.
Is Bonner going to find his way back to the Spurs? Probably. But he's definitely a name that Nets general manager Billy King should keep an eye on.
Robbed of a potentially great NBA career, the injury-plagued Joel Embiid Greg Oden will hit the open market this summer. And it won’t require a whole lot for Brooklyn to land him.
Oden, hampered by the same injuries in 2013-14 that have haunted him throughout his career, plans on getting healthier and better next year.
Per Chris Hayes of CSN Northwest, who talked to the 26-year-old after Game 3 of the 2014 NBA Finals:
Yeah, I’m sure I’m playing again next year but honestly I haven’t even gave it much thought. I’m trying to concentrate on this and getting this ring first and after that, that’s part of the thought process. My body feels good. I can still play. I’ll be alright.
Even with Brook Lopez returning from a broken foot, the Nets are still relatively diminutive on the interior and got consistently abused on the boards last season.
Adding a cheap 7-footer wouldn’t hurt.
Oden is never going to reach the level of stardom that he seemed destined for when he was healthy. Mainly because he’s never going to be 100 percent healthy again.
But he can still contribute in small spurts, and the risk that comes along with signing him is greatly outmatched by the potential reward.
Has Ed Davis proven himself to be a reliable NBA player? Nope—not yet, at least.
But the Nets should take a look at him anyway.
The 6’10” Davis is long and athletic, and would be a welcomed addition to a relatively porous defensive frontcourt for Brooklyn.
According to Synergy Sports, the former UNC Tar Heel held opponents to 31.6 percent shooting in isolation situations last season, something that Brooklyn’s bigs struggled mightily with.
While he’s far from being an explosive scorer, Davis is efficient. For his career, the 25-year-old has hit 54.2 percent of his field goal attempts, which, to be fair, consist primarily of layups, putbacks and alley-oops.
When Lopez went down early in the year, the Nets were downright tiny, and as a result the team got destroyed on the glass seemingly every night.
Adding Davis, who won’t garner a whole lot of free agency buzz this summer, for a low-budget deal would give the Nets an efficient offensive player with great defensive upside.
Kenyon Martin began his career with the Nets in New Jersey 14 years ago, and could finish his career with the team in Brooklyn.
The chest-pounding veteran could retire after missing 50 games with the New York Knicks, but if he finds some more fuel in the tank, Martin will be a free agent this offseason.
Pierce and Kevin Garnett brought a lot of nastiness to Brooklyn last season, a team rightfully criticized for being soft in recent years, and the culture change was noticeable.
Brooklyn let Pierce walk and sign with the Washington Wizards, and the 36-year-old Garnett is coming off of the worst season in his career. With that in mind, it’d be a good move for the Nets to bring in another battle-tested warrior.
Martin, who will be 37 next year, was serviceable during his first stint with the Knicks in 2012-13, averaging 7.2 points on 60.2 percent shooting, 5.3 rebounds and nearly a block per game.
Last season was a bit different, as K-Mart managed to put up just 4.3 points while shooting 51.2 percent from the field to go along. In less than 20 minutes a game, Martin also added 4.2 boards.
In a minor role with Brooklyn, Martin would be able to bring rebounding, shot-blocking and efficient scoring.
But most of all, he’d bring an added element of much-needed toughness.