Nets Rumors: BK 'Comfortable Matching' Nic Claxton's Contract Offers in Free Agency

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 22, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 10: Nic Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the first half against the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center on April 10, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
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Nic Claxton is set to be a restricted free agent this summer, and at least one Eastern Conference general manager believes he'll remain with the Brooklyn Nets. 

"He is not going to get more than a midlevel offer from a team like Charlotte or Chicago, and if that is the case, they're comfortable matching it," he told Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. "He is restricted; they can match anything another team gives him. He is looking at something like three years, $35 million."

Claxton, 23, has steadily improved since being a second-round pick for the Nets in the 2019 NBA draft. 

He had his best season in the 2021-22 campaign, averaging 8.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game, though injuries limited him to 47 appearances (19 starts) in the regular season. 

He was even better in Brooklyn's four-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics, averaging 10.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks off the bench as Andre Drummond's backup. 

“They are not sold on him as the big guy of the future, but at that number, they'd keep him around, and know they can move him in a deal next summer if they have something better in mind," the general manager added. "Trouble is, they've got a short window here so they can't wait for him too long. But Sean [Marks] is a believer in development, and they are not going to give up on him that fast."

Heading into the 2022-23 campaign, the Nets have some pretty big questions on the roster, namely at the center position. Drummond, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin are all unrestricted free agents, while Claxton is restricted. 

But there are also questions surrounding when Ben Simmons will return to play, what Kyrie Irving's future might hold—he has a $36.5 million player option—and whether or not the team will be able to retain another free agent, Bruce Brown, who has been a Swiss Army knife for the Nets the past two seasons. 

At the moment, only Kevin Durant, Simmons, Joe Harris, Seth Curry and young players Cam Thomas and Day'Ron Sharpe are definitely under contract for next season, while Irving and Patty Mills have player options.

The Nets, at least partially, will have a new look in the 2022-23 campaign. It remains to be seen if Claxton will be a part of that, though it seems likely.