The Brooklyn Nets are reportedly unlikely to match a standard mid-level offer to Nic Claxton, who is set to become a restricted free agent.
Houston Chronicle’s Dan Feigen listed Claxton as one of the potential free-agent targets for the Rockets after trading away Christian Wood.
“The free-agent class at center is considered unusually deep with players that might be available to teams, including the Rockets, that are over the cap but can offer the full mid-level exception, starting at $10.5 million.
The Nets are considered unlikely to match a mid-level offer to Nic Claxton,” Feigen wrote.
Claxton, who threw away his dreadlocks for a cleaner, cropped hairdo, is determined to bounce back after an injury-riddled season. He was limited to 47 games but posted decent numbers (8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds). When healthy, he was a decent rim protector and a constant lob threat for the Nets. But his poor free shooting (58.1 percent) could be a turn-off to potential suitors.
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In May, one Eastern Conference general manager told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that Claxton “is looking at something like three years, $35 million.” The Nets have Claxton’s Bird Rights, so they could match any offer and go over the cap. However, what could hold them back is the staggering cost of bringing back the roster that flamed out in the first round.
Nets’ owner Joe Tsai paid $266 million in salary and luxury tax this past season, second behind NBA champion Golden State Warriors. But with Alibaba, Tsai’s primary source of income, bouncing back in the stocks market, there is hope that the Nets ownership would likely keep footing the costly bill of retaining the core that is expected to compete for the championship when all are healthy. That includes keeping Claxton, one of the bright spots in the Nets’ first-round sweep at the hands of eventual Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics.
The Nets are expected to tender a one-year qualifying offer to Claxton ($2.3 million) to make him a restricted free agent on June 29.
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