Will the Brooklyn Nets extend or cash in Jarret Allen?
This is one of the biggest questions that Net’s general manager Sean Marks would have to address aside from re-signing Joe Harris and finding the third star to complement the returning Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Allen’s contract extension talks could be tied with the last one as his name constantly pops up in trade rumors.
Conventional wisdom says the Nets would likely play out Allen’s rookie deal and have him as a restricted free agent next year. But that would be tempting Allen to walk away after this season without getting anything in return.
Former Nets’ assistant general manager and now ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks recently weighed in on Allen’s contract situation.
“He’s looking for a Clint Capela-type of money,” Marks said on Brian Windhorst and the Hoop Collective Podcast.
Capela signed a five-year, $90-million extension deal with the Houston Rockets in 2018 before he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks last season. Capela was 24 at the time of the deal.
But would Allen agree to a discount in a reduced role for the next three to four years?
“I would think it’s hard for me to extend him to that type of number and the other thing is if you extend these guys, you’re basically off the board for a year because of the poison pill restriction in your contract. So it’s not like he’s tradeable so I think if I’m Brooklyn and if I can get him in that $12-14 million range, I’m looking for a below-market type of deal here,” Marks added.
Marks and Windhorst’s ESPN colleague Tim MacMahon chimed in, suggesting that it’s more complicated than it seems.
“The other thing is the strange dynamic with KD and Kyrie’s guy, DeAndre Jordan, as $10-million a year dude, paying him that much to play 18-20 minutes a game. Do they want DeAndre in the starting lineup? You can’t ignore that whole dynamic when you’re making these decisions and obviously, the Nets’ front office isn’t ignoring anything that KD and Kyrie have to say when it comes to making major decisions,” MacMahon said.
The 22-year old Allen was one of the homegrown Nets but could see himself as another casualty of the new order with the team’s championship window arriving.
The markings were on the wall when Irving left him out of their core during a controversial post-game talk early this year.
“Collectively, I feel like we have great pieces, but it’s pretty glaring we need one more piece or two more pieces that will complement myself, [Kevin Durant], DJ, GT, Spence [Dinwiddie], Caris [LeVert], and we’ll see how that evolves,” Irving said after losing to the Philadelphia 76ers in January.
Allen subsequently lost the starting job to Jordan after Kenny Atkinson, his biggest backer, left the team. While Allen has said all the right things since the demotion, it’s still a bitter pill to swallow after showing he’s a capable starter on a playoff team before last season.
Would he want to play as a backup in a championship contender or secure the bag and play as a starter with another team?
Nets owner and Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai has no qualms about paying the luxury tax. Still, Bobby Marks, speaking from his experience with former Nets’ owner Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, warned that Sean Marks and the Nets’ front office could be courting trouble if they flame out while being the league’s top taxpayer.
“Here’s the deal with these guys (rich owners). They may be making 20 billion dollars a year and I’ve said this all along. When you’ve got to write a luxury tax cheque, or wire money for $40 or $50 million and you lose in the second round or conference finals, it’s not a pleasant meeting with the ownership. So I don’t care what they’re worth. Nobody wants to spend $50 million on tax,” Marks said.
Earlier, Marks told Empire Sports Media that a Harris deal worth $12 million annually would net the Nets a $50-million tax bill. A lucrative Allen extension would push Tsai to dig deeper into his pocket.
Even with a healthy Durant and Irving, the Nets are not a surefire favorite. They would have to contend in a crowded East with at least five more solid contenders in Miami, Milwaukee, Toronto, Philadelphia, and Boston.
Sean Marks showed his chops as an executive pulling the Nets out of the rabbit hole by extracting value out of nothing.
Now that he’s got something, will he keep it or flip it?
Marks has his work cut out for him.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo