After what was alleged to be a title contender was undone by accidents, a Nets season that ended with a bunch of ‘What ifs’ now turns the web page to ‘What’s subsequent?’
“I don’t really even know,” Kevin Durant stated after Saturday’s Game 7 ouster. “I wasn’t even planning on losing — so I don’t know how I’m going to feel. I’m always thinking about our team and how we can get better and what we can do individually. I want to take a few days off. I don’t know man, s- -t — I don’t know.”
The Nets got here into the playoffs as title favorites, however exited within the second spherical with James Harden hamstrung and Kyrie Irving out with a sprained ankle.
Injuries restricted the Big 3 to simply 202 minutes collectively within the regular-season and 130 extra within the postseason. A high precedence for subsequent season will probably be getting them wholesome — and getting them prolonged and surrounded by the correct supporting forged.
“Of course we try to improve every single year. That’s the goal,” stated Harden. “We by no means wish to keep the identical. We attempt to enhance, attempt to get higher and maintain getting higher.
“If we’re not injured, and me and Ky are on the floor, [this season] is a totally different conversation. … Just got to try to stay healthy. I’m sure the front office and the top guys will try to bring in more players around me, KD and Ky and continue to improve.”
Durant acknowledged continuity is necessary, since “GMs, owners, they move players all the time.” But he and Harden each gave the impression of males intent on constructing long-term.
The Nets can solely hope so.
“You talk to Steve [Nash], you talk to other people, there are a lot of us, especially me, hoping that I’ll be around for a while,” Joe Harris stated. “This thing is far from over.”
That would require maneuvering from GM Sean Marks, and cash from proprietor Joe Tsai. Neither have been missing in these departments.
Brooklyn has a projected $53.4 million tax invoice based on ex-Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks, now with ESPN. But Tsai is price $13 billion, and has proven no worry of spending in terms of constructing a contender.
Priority No. 1 (and sure Nos. 2 and three as nicely) for extending his staff’s window will probably be opening negotiations on four-year extensions for the Big 3 that might kick in after subsequent season.
Harden can signal a deal that maxes out at a staggering $252.8 million. Durant’s would high out at $234.5 million, Irving’s at $217.0 million.
The Nets can open negotiations with the trio on Aug. 6, in addition to Nic Claxton and Landry Shamet, whose rookie deal expires after subsequent season.
Even earlier than that, Marks has to make calls on 9 free brokers beginning in August: Bruce Brown, Chris Chiozza, Jeff Green, Blake Griffin, Mike James, Tyler Johnson, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Reggie Perry. Brown, Chiozza and James are all restricted.
Spencer Dinwiddie stated final month he’ll decline his $12 million participant choice for subsequent 12 months. An indication-and-trade might be within the playing cards, however that might double the Nets’ tax invoice. And there are calls to make on whether or not to purchase out DeAndre Jordan’s contract, or assure Alize Johnson’s.
Griffin and Green are each large males of their 30s, however the former is about to make $29.8 million from his Detroit buyout it doesn’t matter what the Nets (or anyone else) pay him, whereas the latter is on his fourth straight veteran minimal. Brown might reportedly earn as much as $9 million in free company.
“I hope I’m here. I know my contract is up, but I hope I’m staying in Brooklyn,” Brown stated. “I love playing with these guys: They made me better this year. I worked on a lot of things. I’ve got a lot to work on this summer and I’ll get better. But I hope I’m here for sure.”
Like the flicks, locking up the celebs long-term is step one towards success, after which placing collectively the correct supporting forged the subsequent. The story would be the similar for the Nets.