Nets' projected payroll, luxury tax

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
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The Brooklyn Nets, with 15 players under contract, could head into training camp with a projected payroll of $94,045,708 and a projected luxury tax of $35,954,301 for a total of $130,000,009 -- $134,000,009 including Travis Outlaw's $4,000,000 amnesty payment.



Last season, the Nets spent $197,398,845, when you factor in their payroll ($102,828,064), NBA-record luxury taxes ($90,570,781) and amnesty payment to Outlaw ($4,000,000).

That’s a difference of $63,398,836. (I went over these numbers, and the motivation behind it, in greater detail here).

The Nets are $17,216,708 over the 2014-15 luxury tax line, which is $76,829,000, meaning they must pay progressive taxes on the difference.

These totals, mind you, assume that the contracts of Jorge Gutierrez and Cory Jefferson become fully guaranteed by the end of the season.

Also remember, from ESPN salary cap guru Larry Coon’s blog: The total amount of luxury tax paid depends on a team’s payroll as of its final regular season game.

Point being, there’s a lot of time for things to change. Nevertheless, this is a solid look at where the Nets stand from a financial standpoint -- at least as far as projected payroll and luxury taxes are concerned.

Nets sign 2nd rounders Brown, Jefferson

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
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The Nets got younger and more athletic this week as they filled out their roster with two more young and athletic signings.

A day after officially bringing over European prospect Bojan Bogdanovic, GM Billy King announced on Wednesday the signings of two of his three second-round picks -- Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown and Baylor forward Cory Jefferson.

The Nets acquired three second-round picks in June’s draft. They took Brown with the 44th pick and Jefferson with the 60th pick. San Diego State point guard Xavier Thames was the Nets’ other second-round pick at 59th overall.

Both Brown and Jefferson signed multi-year contracts.

The Nets are excited about Brown’s athleticism. The 6-3 Brown averaged 17.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists at Oklahoma State last season. Brown is the only player in school history to have 300 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocked shots in his career.

The 6-9 Jefferson averaged 13.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.30 steals and 1.30 blocks during his fifth and final season at Baylor. Baylor won a program-record 107 games with Jefferson.

The Nets’ roster now stands at Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic, Alan Anderson, Jarrett Jack, Andrei Kirilenko, Sergey Karasev, Bogdanovic, Brown, Jefferson, Jorge Gutierrez and Marquis Teague,

Brown and Jefferson provide the Nets with depth and two more young players to develop. Considering that Williams and Lopez are coming off surgeries and will take things slowly initially, Brown and Jefferson should have opportunities to show what they can do in training camp.

Nets sign Bojan Bogdanovic

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
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[+] EnlargeBojan Bogdanovic
Huseyin CaglarBojan Bogdanovic averaged 14.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 30.6 minutes per game during the 2013-14 season in the Euroleague while playing for Fenerbahçe Ülker.

The Brooklyn Nets' long wait for Bojan Bogdanovic is over.

The team officially signed the Croatian forward to a three-year deal on Tuesday. The contract is worth $10 million, according to league sources.

The 6-foot-8 forward was drafted 31st overall in 2011 by Miami before having his draft rights dealt to the Nets.

"Having drafted Bojan in 2011, it is rewarding to finally welcome him to the Nets," general manager Billy King said in a team statement. "We obviously have a high regard for his game, and we are glad he will now bring that talent to Brooklyn."

Bogdanovic, 25, spent the last three seasons with Fenerbahçe Ülker in the Turkish Basketball League. He averaged 14.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 30.6 minutes per game during the 2013-14 Euroleague season.

The Nets passed on making an offer to re-sign Paul Pierce earlier this month largely because they felt they wouldn't win a title even if they brought Pierce back. The Nets could have paid Pierce -- who signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Wizards -- more than any other team.


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Who will lead the Nets?

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
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As free agency winds down, the Brooklyn Nets have added some much-needed youth and athleticism.

But did the Nets sacrifice two major attributes that they seemed so intent on adding just a year ago? When Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were introduced as Nets seated alongside Jason Kidd in a press conference at Barclays last summer, Brooklyn felt it had added two critical missing ingredients -– leadership and toughness.

With Kidd and Pierce now gone, where will the Nets turn for the leadership and toughness when they need it most this season? It appears that the Nets will have rely heavily on new coach Lionel Hollins for both.

Remember, the Nets felt that they were a tad too soft and lacked toughness, leadership and experience with the core of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez after losing Game 7 in the first round to Chicago in 2013.

[+] EnlargeKevin Garnett
Elsa/Getty ImagesIf Kevin Garnett returns for a final season, he can provide the leadership and toughness.
"You saw it, there were certain games where things just happened that you can't allow to happen," Nets general manager Billy King said last year. "At some point, you've got to knock a guy on his ass if they're doing things. You've got to take a hard foul and let them know you just can't do that. And we didn't do it."

If Garnett returns, as the Nets expect, for a final season, he can provide the leadership and toughness. However, Garnett will be the first to tell you that he feels much more comfortable leading and infusing the team with toughness by playing on the court and playing well. And unfortunately for Garnett, the 38-year-old big man will likely be playing limited minutes and perhaps even limited games.

So who will provide it on the court for the majority of a game? The Nets are hoping that Pierce, Kidd and Garnett’s toughness and leadership rubbed off on Williams, Johnson and Lopez in the one season they all had together –- a disjointed season at that due to all the injuries to Pierce, Garnett, Williams and Lopez.

The Nets’ toughness will certainly be a question mark entering this season. Before Williams and Lopez can begin to push anybody back, they’ll need to have confidence that they can push off on their surgically-repaired ankles and feet, respectively. It could take a while to regain that type of confidence again.

After losing Shaun Livingston in free agency, the Nets did add Jarrett Jack, a hard-nosed guard who won’t back down and can rise in pressure-packed moments. Fellow role players like Andrei Kirilenko, Mirza Teletovic, Alan Anderson and Mason Plumlee also play with an edge.

And perhaps one of the new youthful additions -– Sergey Karasev, Markel Brown, Cory Jefferson or Bojan Bogdanovic –- will surprise and exceed expectations and offset some of their inexperience with some toughness.

But this is where losing Pierce hurts. While Pierce won’t average 20-something points nightly, the veteran set a tone on many nights for the Nets. Look no further than the regular-season games against the Heat that had a big-game feel to them along with the first-round series when Pierce came up big against the Raptors, particularly on the road when the Nets needed him most.

Johnson may be the Nets' best go-to option but Pierce was the guy they often looked to when the moment called for leadership or experience. Johnson displayed a quiet toughness last season with his stellar play but he’s not the vocal-type of leader to grab the team and take charge like Pierce could.

Kidd might’ve been inexperienced as a head coach last season but the players all respected his vast playing experience and he wasn't afraid to make some gutsy postseason moves such as putting Anderson in the starting lineup for Livingston against Toronto with the season on the line.

Hollins, though, brings a wealth of experience and he’s known as a tough, no-nonsense coach. He has to be the guy who provides the intangibles that Kidd and Pierce took with them to Milwaukee and Washington, respectively.

Garnett won’t be on the floor as much as he would like. Williams and Lopez will be on the mend and taking things slowly at the start.

It’s gotta be Lionel to provide the toughness and leadership. If not, this coming season might feel a lot like 2013 again.

McDermott, Butler picked for Select Team

July, 22, 2014
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Fresh off an impressive showing at the Las Vegas Summer League, rookie Doug McDermott will join Chicago Bulls teammate Jimmy Butler on the USA Select Team that will practice against the national team as it prepares for the FIBA World Cup.

Butler
McDermott
McDermott and Butler were chosen for the Select Team along with the Golden State Warriors' Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green, the Utah Jazz's Trey Burke (Utah Jazz), the New York Knicks' Tim Hardaway Jr., the Orlando Magic's Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo, the Brooklyn Nets' Mason Plumlee, the Phoenix Suns' Miles Plumlee, the Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart, the Cleveland Cavaliers' Dion Waiters and the Charlotte Hornets' Cody Zeller.

McDermott, drafted by the Denver Nuggets with the 11th pick in last month's draft and then traded for two picks to the Bulls, was a first-team pick for the summer league all-star team along with second-year swingman Tony Snell. McDermott averaged 18 points a game and shot 44 percent from three-point range in Vegas.

Butler, 24, averaged a career-best 13.1 points a game last season, his first as a starter. The young Bulls duo will train with teammate Derrick Rose, who is expected to participate in Team USA practices.

"USA Basketball's Select Teams are critical for getting some of the game's brightest and most promising young players experience at the USA National Team level, and getting them into our pipeline," USA Basketball National Team managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. "Again this summer, as was done in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012, the members of the USA Select Team will play an important role in helping prepare the USA National Team for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

"Being chosen for the Select Team is an honor and an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball's National Team program in the future. In the past, current national team players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, as well as many other outstanding players got their USA National Team start through the Select Team."

The Select Team will train with Team USA from July 28-31 in Las Vegas. The FIBA World Cup runs from Aug. 30-Sept.14 in Spain.

Nets: Exhibition games in Russia 'possible'

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
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MOSCOW -- Brooklyn Nets director Sergei Kushchenko is talking up the chances of the NBA club playing pre-season exhibitions against teams from the Russia-based VTB United League.

Kushchenko, who is also the VTB league president, suggests he could use his dual role to set up games.

NBA exhibitions against VTB teams are "possible," especially if "those Brooklyn Nets" are involved, he told Russia's Itar-TASS news agency.

The last NBA team to play a Russian team was the San Antonio Spurs, which beat CSKA Moscow 95-93 last year.

The VTB league has 22 teams from seven countries, all but one of which were part of the former Soviet Union. CSKA is the reigning champion and one of 10 Russian teams in the competition.

The Nets are owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.

Kirilenko: I have no negativity towards Kidd

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
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Brooklyn Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko said he does not harbor any animosity toward Jason Kidd for leaving the Nets to become the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Kirilenko was quoted as being critical of Kidd in an interview with Russian tabloid newspaper SovSport in its Sunday editions. His comments were translated by multiple American media outlets.

[+] EnlargeNets
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesAndrei Kirilenko said he doesn't harbor any animosity toward former coach Jason Kidd.
“It sounds in the article like I have a negativity [about Jason leaving], but that’s completely untrue,” Kirilenko told ESPNNewYork.com Monday by telephone. “We’ve been discussing why it happened -- because I don’t know why it happened -- but we’re just speculating. We don’t know what the real reason is from Jason’s point-of-view.”

“It’s tough to kind of judge him because he obviously came into a lot of pressure,” Kirilenko said. “New York is a city with a lot of legends and a lot of history, and every move you make is under a microscope. So I guess it’s easier for the coach to start [fresh] with a younger group of guys, with his own vision, in a smaller city where you don’t have that much pressure. And I think that’s what Jason’s doing now.”

Kidd was named head coach of the Nets last offseason just weeks after announcing his retirement as a player. The Nets, besieged by injury and struggling to adapt to Kidd’s system, got off to a 10-21 start. But they turned it around, going 34-17 the rest of the way and reaching the second round of the playoffs, where they were eliminated in five games by the Miami Heat.

In late June, Kidd approached Russian ownership about adding final say in player personnel decisions to his head coaching duties, but that request was denied. The Nets then granted Kidd permission to speak with the Bucks. Brooklyn ultimately traded Kidd’s coaching rights to Milwaukee in exchange for a pair of future second-round picks. The Nets quickly hired Lionel Hollins to replace Kidd.

Kirilenko signed a two-year contract with the Nets for $6.5 million, but he was plagued by injuries and sporadic playing time in his first season in Brooklyn. The 33-year-old, who gladly accepted a reserve role after being a starter throughout his career, missed 37 games during the regular season -- mostly due to back issues. He wasn’t able to have the same impact on the court that he did when playing for the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves.

“It’s tough when you’re sitting on the bench and you don’t have a chance to help your teammates,” said Kirilenko, who lives in Europe during the offseason. “But when I came to the team I was ready for this, and I spoke with Jason right at the beginning of the year, and I knew what I was sacrificing. We had a goal and all those veteran pieces came together, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Kirilenko, who opted into the second year of his contract for 2014-15, said he believes the Nets will be able to come back stronger this season.

“I think we still have the same goals,” Kirilenko said of the Nets trying to make a championship run. “I think we lost a key piece in Paul Pierce, but I still think with Brook [Lopez] healthy we can make that run.”

Kirilenko says he has not had much of a chance to speak with Hollins just yet, but spoke highly of his new head coach.

“[Lionel is] known as a defensive specialist,” said Kirilenko, who can guard multiple positions. “I know he was great in Memphis and built a great system, which they still play there with a lot of ball movement, using their bigs a lot, not just playing through the post but using them as passers kind of like what Chicago is doing with [Joakim] Noah right now. It’s very unselfish basketball, which I love to play. I like it, and hopefully we can do the same in Brooklyn.”

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Sources: Plumlee picked for Select Team

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
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Brooklyn Nets big man Mason Plumlee was chosen as a member of the USA Select Team, sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.

The USA Select Team will be training with the Men’s national team at its Las Vegas training camp

Plumlee’s brother, Miles, will also be on the USA Select Team.

Both Mason and Miles played for Men’s national team coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.

Mason Plumlee received All-Rookie First Team honors last season after a strong rookie campaign that saw him throw down 116 dunks.

The Nets hope Plumlee continues his development next season. This opportunity will certainly help in that regard.

Would this Nets deal have been a winner?

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
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What do you think of this “deal”?

Nets trade: Jason Kidd, Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston
Nets receive: Lionel Hollins, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev

Would you have considered it at the start of the offseason?

Obviously, the Nets did not make the trade above. But when you look at it, they basically did.

Out are Kidd, Pierce and Livingston. In are Hollins, Bogdanovic, Jack and Karasev.

On paper, it looks like the Nets got an upgrade at coach and a downgrade in personnel.

The games will have to be played, of course, to determine whether that is actually the case.

Early on, the Nets looked like a disaster last season. But then they got their act together, figured out who they were as a team, and began to thrive. Kidd, Pierce and Livingston all played a huge part in that. Kidd became a better coach with experience, Pierce’s leadership proved to be invaluable and Livingston was such a pivotal part of Brooklyn’s turnaround. It would’ve been nice if they all came back next season, with their system and identity already in place. But Kidd made his failed power play, and that was that.

Nevertheless, maybe Hollins will have an impact similar to a Steve Clifford or a Tom Thibodeau. Maybe Jack will revert back to being the dominant point guard he was in New Orleans and Golden State. Maybe Bogdanovic will live up to the hype.

We’ll just have to wait and see before determining whether this has all worked out in the end.

Question: How would you have viewed this “trade”? Let us know in the comments section below.

Christmas (jerseys) in July

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
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Paul Lukas, who is ESPN’s jersey expert, has posted a blog on his Uni Watch site with Christmas Day uniform combinations for every NBA team.

The Brooklyn Nets’ jersey is black with white trim and features the team’s alternate logo: a white basketball with a black “B.” The name on the back is under the number, which obviously deviates from the norm. And there are no sleeves.

One caveat here is that the 2014-15 schedule has yet to be released, so it’s unknown whether the Nets will play on Christmas. They have the last two seasons -- and been blown out both times.

Regardless, the Nets, one would think, will probably be wearing these alternate jerseys at some point this season.

Pierce's exit means opportunity for some

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16
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Paul Pierce’s departure means opportunity for other players on the Brooklyn Nets next season. Let’s take a look at five Nets who could have a greater impact in 2014-15.

Plumlee
Plumlee
Mason Plumlee: Plumlee continued where he left off last season during Summer League, showing his explosiveness and athleticism. The hope is that Plumlee will take another positive step forward, improving his rebounding and defense. Perhaps he'll be able to add the threat of a jump shot to his offensive arsenal, which mostly included efficient scoring in the paint -- mostly via dunks. With Brook Lopez coming off foot and ankle surgery and Kevin Garnett likely playing in his 20th NBA season, Plumlee should get plenty of minutes. Maybe he’ll even start.

Mirza Teletovic: Teletovic made quite the jump in his second year in the NBA. He didn’t play much early on, but got his opportunity as a result of injuries to some of his teammates. He took full advantage, shooting with confidence and displaying a swagger on the floor. Teletovic figures to be a nice asset for Hollins to have at his disposal.

Kirilenko
Kirilenko
Andrei Kirilenko: Kirilenko’s first season with the Nets was derailed by injuries in 2013-14. His playing time was inconsistent. But if he’s healthy, Kirilenko seems like a Lionel Hollins kind of player. He’s very versatile and capable of playing and guarding multiple positions. Kirilenko is an excellent facilitator and seems to always get his hands on the ball. He likes to wreak havoc on the court. You’d think he’ll have a more expansive role in 2014-15.

Bojan Bogdanovic: The key here is patience. Expectations should be tempered. The 25-year-old will likely need an adjustment period as he transitions from the European game to the NBA. If he does, he’ll be another floor-spacing threat. As Cotton Fitzsimmons told Hollins, “You can never have too many shooters.”

Alan Anderson: Anderson should provide solid depth and toughness, along with D-and-3 ability. He’s another Hollins-type player. It will be interesting to see where Anderson figures into the rotation, given that Hollins has so many options. Still, Anderson is a veteran, so you have to figure Hollins will utilize him in different situations.

Jason Terry: I bleed blue, I’m a Maverick 

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16
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Jason Terry was traded to the Sacramento Kings in February as part of a deal with the Brooklyn Nets and he clearly wants out. Terry never reported to the Kings as he was still dealing with a bad knee and he decided to continue his rehab in Dallas. If Terry could have his way he would not leave Texas.

“I won’t rule out returning back to Dallas,” Terry, 36, told a Dallas radio station, according to The Sacramento Bee. “It’s my home and my heart,” Terry said. “I bleed blue. I’m a Maverick."

The difference a Pierce makes in Brooklyn

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
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Paul PierceNathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesIn the span of a year, Paul Pierce helped revive a franchise that had meddled in mediocrity.
When you think about the Paul Pierce era in Brooklyn, you think about emotion.

You think about the stunned look Pierce wore on his face during a news conference on July 18, 2013, at Barclays Center, still struggling to come to the realization that he had been traded from Boston, the place he had spent the first 15 seasons of his future Hall of Fame career.

You think about Pierce fighting back tears the night he returned to TD Garden for the first time as a visitor on Jan. 26, 2014, the night he desperately needed in order to move on and be able to embrace his new home.

You think about Pierce screaming “That’s why they got me here!” after sticking the dagger in Toronto on April 19, 2014, silencing the raucous crowd at Air Canada Center and enabling the Nets to steal Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series against the Raptors.

Pierce may have spent only one season in Brooklyn, but he sure had his share of unforgettable moments with the Nets.

***

It all started on June 27, 2013, when Brooklyn and Boston agreed in principle on the blockbuster trade that sent Pierce and teammate Kevin Garnett from the Celtics to the Nets in exchange for five players, three future first-round draft picks (2014, 2016, 2018) and the right to swap first-rounders in 2017.

A little over two weeks later, the deal became official. “Today, the basketball gods smiled on the Nets,” owner Mikhail Prokhorov said.

“You spend your whole, almost half your life in one city, you get used to it,” Pierce told ESPNBoston.com’s Jackie MacMullan. “For you to make the move, it’s a huge adjustment. I mean, I know nothing else but Boston.”

video

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Jonas Valanciunas won't be charged

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
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TORONTO -- Drunken driving charges have been dropped against Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas.

Lawyer Alan Gold said in an email that authorities "agreed with us that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction."

Valanciunas was arrested in April in Wasaga Beach, Ontario, before the Raptors started a first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets.

Police had followed up on a report that a vehicle went through a drive-thru with open beer bottles visible. Police say officers located the vehicle at a home, where they arrested Valanciunas.

Valanciunas did not miss any playoff games. He averaged 10.9 points and 9.7 rebounds in seven games against the Nets.


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The math behind the Nets' moves

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
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In an effort to win at all costs, the Brooklyn Nets created a financial mess.

Now, they’re trying to get themselves out of it. They’re still going to spend. They just want to spend smarter.

Last season, the Nets paid out an NBA-record $90,570,781 in luxury taxes and $102,828,064 in player salaries, according to ShamSports.com .

Add those totals up, and you get $193,398,845. That’s a lot of money for a second-round playoff exit.

Also, as has been well-documented by now, Grantland reported that the Nets lost $144 million in basketball-related business in 2013-14 -- $131 million more than the next highest team. Again, a lot of money. Even if you take out the luxury taxes, the loss still comes to $53,429,219. Still, a lot of money even though, as Grantland pointed out, the figures above do not appear to do not appear to include benefits the Nets and owner Mikhail Prokhorov get from their ownership stake in Barclays Center.

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By now, you may be asking yourself the following: Wait, according to Forbes, isn’t Prokhorov worth $10.9 billion? Sure, but losing money is losing money. And remember this: Privately, according to a league source, Prokhorov is open to listening to offers from potential buyers. Publicly, he told reporters in a statement that he has no interest in selling the team. But in light of Steve Ballmer’s pending $2 billion bid to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers, Prokhorov figured he’d at least get a gauge and see what his team is worth on the open market. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll definitely sell. It just means, at the very least, that he’s curious as to his team’s valuation.

After the Grantland report came out, the Nets issued a statement via Irina Pavlova, President of ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment, the entity that oversees the franchise.

“Nets ownership has said from day one that the main goal was putting together a championship caliber team, and that no effort would be spared to this end,” Pavlova said. “So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that significant investments have been made in the roster and in upgrading basketball operations on all fronts. We are certain that the team will become profitable in time, as planned.”

The Nets did invest $45 million to build a brand-new practice facility in Brooklyn, which is slated to open in 2015-16. And they will, in all likelihood, lead the league in payroll again in 2014-15. But their decision-making when it came to deciding whether to retain Paul Pierce deviated from how they handled business in the past.

“We have the ability to pay him more than everybody else, but we are going to be a little bit more financially responsible at this point in time,” GM Billy King said.

By now, you know what happened. The Nets decided to pass on Pierce, and he signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Washington Wizards, which included a second-year player option.

Many, including myself, believed the Nets should’ve paid Pierce. Team brass, however, disagreed, determining that from both a basketball and a business perspective, according to league sources, it didn’t make sense. Pierce was turning 37 and the Nets felt like they were already set at power forward. They didn’t feel like they were going to win it all with him, and they wanted to give their younger players a chance. Pierce has yet to comment publicly. His take on the events that unfolded will be interesting.

Now let’s break down where the Nets are financially at this point. Here are their projected salary cap commitments in 2014-15.

The Nets currently have 12 players with guaranteed contracts. In our numbers in the chart on the right, we are assuming that Jorge Gutierrez’s non-guaranteed deal does become guaranteed and second-round pick Markel Brown signs. (The signings of Bojan Bogdanovic and Alan Anderson have yet to be made official by the team).

The tax line for 2014-15 was set at $76,829,000, meaning the Nets are over by $16,702,974, and must pay progressively on every dollar they exceed it (see ESPN salary cap guru Larry Coon’s blog and question 21 for more detailed information).

Total luxury taxes owed: $34,846,665.50
Total player salaries and luxury taxes: $128,378,639.50

Five years ago, when he first gained majority ownership of the Nets, Prokhorov said he wanted to win a championship by 2015. He was willing to do whatever it took to get there. Money wasn’t going to be an issue -- that is, until it became an issue.

Brooklyn’s ultimate plan is to have ample cap space in the summer of 2016, when the likes of Kevin Durant and Joakim Noah could become free agents. They would have to pay the repeater rate if they exceed the tax line in 2015-16, though they are unlikely to want to do that given they want to clear salary, not take money on.
Anyway, back to Pierce. Let’s say the Nets decided to pay him $6 million per season, bringing their total cap commitments up to $99,531,974. That would mean they would have to pay luxury taxes on $22,702,974, which means their total owed would be $55,386,152.50.

Add the player salaries and luxury taxes and you get $154,918,126.50.

So bringing back Pierce at $6 million would’ve cost the Nets an extra $26,539,487.

League sources told ESPNNewYork.com that the Nets have their eyes on the future, and don’t want their decision-making impacted by all the first-round picks they gave up in the blockbuster trade that brought Pierce and Garnett to Brooklyn. Letting Pierce walk, they ultimately felt, was the right decision.

Take $193,398,845, subtract $128,378,639.50 and the Nets are spending $65,020,205.50 less on this season’s roster. Whether you agree with their decision is another story. But that’s the math behind it.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Brook Lopez
PTS AST STL MIN
20.7 0.9 0.5 31.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsK. Garnett 6.6
AssistsD. Williams 6.1
StealsD. Williams 1.5
BlocksB. Lopez 1.8