Nets News: A Trade, A Buyout and Two Rookies


A day after a “blockbuster deal,” which landed the Nets former eight time All Star center Dwight Howard, who is expected to be bought out, General Manager Sean Marks drafts two European wings to continue the rebuild in Brooklyn.

News broke on Wednesday morning that the Brooklyn Nets acquired three-time Defensive Player of the year from the Charlotte Hornets for two second-round picks — No. 45 overall in Thursday’s draft and a 2021 selection — and Timofey Mozgov, who has $32.7 million left on his contract over the next two seasons.

Dwight Howard

It was a move that could have put the Nets into contention for the post season in the 2018-19 NBA season, but just as quick as the deal, which is not official until July 6, happened it fell apart. Almost 24 hours later news broke again that the Nets and Howard will negotiate a buyout of his $23.5 million contract. Though it is unclear what that amount could be.

The truth is the Nets locker room might be better off without Howard and the baggage he has been carrying since forcing his way out of Orlando where he played for eight seasons.

Rumors have emerged that on the court Howard “simply wouldn’t run the play that was called, sometimes in key last-minute situations,” according to Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer.

Adding to the Howard reputation dumpster fire is the perception other NBA players around the league have of the future Hall of Fame center. During a charity event in Chinatown on Wednesday evening, one NBA player openly told one of the young budding Net players in attendance, “You’re going to f–king hate playing with Dwight.”

Last season after being traded from the Atlanta Hawks it was reported that his former teammates rejoiced after hearing the news that he was sent to Charlotte.

These are a clear sign for the Nets to steer clear of the center, who averaged 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game in the 2017-18 season.

But Marks understands this and buyout or not the trade is a clear salary dump for a team in the midst of a culture change and a focus on the future. With Howard’s contract coming off the books the nets will free up $65 million in cap space, which could help them land two max-salary free agents next summer.

No comment was offered on the trade or buyout situation with the Hornets and Howard, and Marks probably won’t say anything until after July 6.

As of right now though, Marks has a clear goal of rebuilding through youth and “building equity” amongst players in the franchise to show Brooklyn as a real free agent destination going forward.

On Thursday night the Nets took another step towards that youth movement when they drafted 19-year-old forward Dzanan Musa with the No. 29 overall pick and 20-year-old Latvian forward Rodions Kurucsin with the No. 40 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft at Barclays Center.

Musa is a 6’9” wing from Bosnia and has played the past three seasons for Cedevita Zagreb of Croatia A1, where he averaged 12.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists per game. Musa is also is a member of the Bosnian senior national team. Second round pick Kurucs is a 6’9” forward from Cesis, Latvia, and has played the past three seasons for FC Barcelona II of Spanish LEB Gold where he averaged 10.7 points, 2.6 rebounds per game.

While the draft picks lacked enthusiasm of some of the others during Thursday nights draft, Marks is enthusiastic about the two young wings.

“There’s a lot of development with both guys. They’re both really great development pieces for our coaching staff and performance staff to get their hands on,” said Marks during his press conference after the draft. “Both guys are pretty dynamic offensive players. We’ve scouted them enough and evaluated some areas we think we can make some gains for them.”

Last season the Nets were a three-point shooting team averaging around 36 shots a game from behind the arc, and with the addition of Musa and Kurucs, Marks believes the fit the mold of their offense.

“Shooting is obviously at a premium in this league, and we think both guys will be able to contribute in that way as well as others,” added Marks who expects both players to come to buyout agreements with their European teams.

The Nets also added Theo Pinson, a 6-6 combo guard from North Carolina with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, on a two-way deal with their G-League affiliate.