Free agents talk. And it’s becoming increasingly clear throughout the NBA that the Nets are in the conversation as a possible destination for one of the top-tier free agents.
Making the playoffs isn’t a requirement for a seat at the table for the free-agent bidding wars this summer. It’s enough the Nets are in playoff contention and have a young core of talent in place as the foundation to add a superstar with their projected $30 million of salary cap space.
A variety of news reports have said the Nets might receive consideration from the likes of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving. That public buzz is supported by what some Nets veterans themselves hear from peers around the league.
As Ed Davis told Newsday, “Guys talk for sure. They want to know how is the medical staff, how is the coach, how is the GM, how’s living in the city. All those little things, guys for sure want to know.”
Jared Dudley doesn’t wait to be asked. He told Newsday he takes a more proactive approach.
“It’s more me talking to them,” Dudley said. “I’m usually telling them, ‘Man, they just do it the right way here. Taking care of your body, preparing you, being able to live in the city, the facilities. The reason why Brooklyn is in the conversation is because they’re winning.”
The progress made under general manager Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson in just three seasons is a remarkable story that has turned heads across the league. Players understand they took over a complete disaster in the wake of the 2013 trade that brought Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets, who mortgaged their future. The 2019 draft will mark the first time in four drafts that Marks will be able to exercise the Nets’ true first-round pick.