The Old and New Faces of Brooklyn Nets After 2017 NBA Draft


In 2017, Brooklyn Nets finally bid farewell to their storied franchise center, Brook Lopez, after he spent nine memorable seasons with New Jersey Nets and Brooklyn Nets. Brook has been the subject of trade rumors in the past few seasons but was only recently got traded for his $21.6M expiring contract to Los Angeles Lakers plus the 27th draft pick to bring Timothy Mozgov and D’Angelo Russell (a young PG/SG, 2015 2nd draft pick) to Brooklyn. GM Sean Marks received many praises around the league for orchestrating this “salary dump” trade to absorb Mozgov’s bad contract of $16M/yr for the next three years but receiving an undervalued 2015 2nd draft pick in Russell as a valuable asset. The Nets does not have many first round draft picks until 2019 as a result of trade with Boston Celtics so they need to be creative to rebuild their franchise through undervalued players and Free Agency.

The Nets also drafted Jarrett Allen, 6”11″ Center/Forward, with their 22nd pick. He has the highest Max Vertical at 12’1″ in 2017 Draft prospects and will provide defense and rim protection. In the 2nd round, the Nets used their 57th pick to draft Aleksandar Vezenkov, 6’9″ PF who played for FC Barcelona in Spain but he might be stashed for some time in Europe.

Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell Combo-Guard Backcourt

Jeremy reached out to D’Angelo through text and expressed his excitement to work together as a combo guard (PG/SG) like he previously did with Kemba Walker and Patrick Beverley

I’ve always loved two combo guards playing together. I’ve always been an advocate of that, whether it’s me playing alongside Patrick Beverley or playing alongside Kemba [Walker],” Lin told The Post, referring to his time with the Rockets and Hornets, respectively. “Me and Kemba’s pairing was the most fun I’ve had.

“Playing alongside another person who is dynamic makes the game easier. … I’m excited to share the backcourt with him. I’ve already reached out to him. We’ve texted a bit, so it should be cool.”

Brook Lopez departure essentially means that the offense will be focused to the backcourt duo. D’Angelo will be the youngest Nets at 21 years old and has expressed his comfort to play as a shooting guard (SG) after scoring his career-high 40 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 21, 2017 in his first game as SG. So their style of play can be complementary.

There has been no discussion if the 21-year old Russell will eventually be the future point guard of the Nets but it is understandable that the Nets want to find multiple playmakers similar to the style of the modern NBA teams such as Golden State Warriors (Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Greene, and Klay Thompson) and Cleveland Cavaliers (LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love). Lin has a player option the following 2018-19 season so he can decide if it would be better for him as a 30-year old player to join a playoff contender to pursue championships or stay a few more years to rebuild Brooklyn Nets with younger teammates.

There was no discussion of how Russell, the overall No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft, could ultimately being Lin’s successor. Lin’s contract includes a player option at the end of this season while Russell’s has two years to run on rookie money.

How It Impacts Jeremy Lin

As Jeremy Lin fans, we should expect that both Lin and the Nets are fully aware that he will most likely opt out of his 3rd year player option in 2018 to consider a longer-term contract. His $12M year salary is considered quite a bargain for a starting PG in the new NBA salary cap. He will be 30 years old and will most likely consider signing with a contender to pursue championships as one of his NBA goals while the Nets is taking the 76ers route to go with youth movement. The Nets also needs a PG insurance if Lin leaves whether it is Russell or another young PG.

However, it is entirely possible that Jeremy Lin values his relationship with Coach Kenny Atkinson and GM Sean Marks that he decides to stay to continue rebuilding Brooklyn Nets as a startup. In the mean time, Jeremy Lin provides much needed veteran leadership and mentoring to the young Brooklyn Nets in the new ways of high-character culture that Sean Marks tries to cultivate.

For 2017-18 season, we can only hope Lin to be healthy and post near All-Star numbers that he can have more options with multiple offers from contenders and the Nets for the next 3-4 years of his career.

Next Nets Offseason Moves

The Nets is not done yet with their offseason moves as they have roughly $30M in their cap space to set their sights on the upcoming Free Agency. They still have a pressing need for an experienced starting Power Forward (PF) who can shoot 3s so they might try to steal Otto Porter Jr (Restricted FA) from Washington Wizards although it will likely get matched. Other candidates could be Joe Ingles (RFA) from Utah Jazz or Ed Davis from Portland Blazers who has shown strong Pick-and-Roll chemistry with Jeremy Lin in their Lakers days.