New Owner Can Revive the Nets Quickly
But the work personnel boss Rod Thorn did to clear the books for the Summer of 2010 has been admirable, the Carter trade in particular opening up a gaping payroll hole just when a gaping payroll hole will be a good thing. As of today, the Nets can expect to have upwards of $30 million of cap space next summer, as much as any other team in the league.
If new Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov -- a Russian billionaire who by no account will be shy about spending his fortune stateside -- wants to make a big splash in his first summer in the NBA, he will certainly have the opportunity.
According to figures provided by ShamSports, New Jersey is on the hook for only $18 million in salary for 2010-11. But the team has some key options it will pick up, and I'd expect (barring trades and not accounting for 2010 draft picks) the Nets will have $23 million of 2010-11 salary locked up.
If the most dire NBA projections come to pass, and the salary cap level is set at $52 million, the Nets would have $29 million of cap space to play with beginning July 1, 2010. Some expect the cap will only fall to $55 million, which would leave the Nets with $32 million in cap space.
What will rougly $30 million by you? Well, a max contract player with seven years in the league -- such candidates include LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade -- will pull up to $16 million in 2010-11 salary. Conceivably, if the cap does not fall as much as feared or if the Nets are able to jettison Eduardo Najera (who has $2.5 million in guaranteed salary for 2010-11) for an expiring contract, the Nets could be in play for two maximum contract players.
And of course, the Nets have the fairly desirable core of Devin Harris, an up-tempo point guard, and Brook Lopez, a talented and hard-working center. I'm not saying the team will be able to woo LeBron into spending a year in New Jersey before christening the Brooklyn Nets, or that a high-powered forward like Bosh or Amare Stoudemire will leap at the chance.
But Prokhorov will have one of the largest pots of cash to go along with the glitz of Brooklyn and the starry reputation he's quickly gaining. The Eastern powers ought to be watching behind them, because it shouldn't be take long for the New Nets to be breathing down their backs.