Brooklyn Nets center Nic Claxton is poised to be a very rich man this summer. But will he remain with the Nets?
NBA Rumors: Several Teams Expected To Covet Nic Claxton This Summer, Will He Leave Brooklyn?
Claxton is expected to be one of the most sought-after 2024 free agents. He is already ranked among the top free agents in the class by HoopsHype, Bleacher Report, and NBA.com.
According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, Brooklyn wants to keep Claxton, and he has said that he wants to stay with the Nets.
“In our business, you never really know what’s going to happen as far as trades, contracts and everything,” Claxton said. “But I’ve been here four years, and Brooklyn has been … huge, played a huge role in my growth, and I’d love to be here. But we’ll see how that shakes out. I’m just taking it day-by-day … and figure all that stuff out later.”
However, teams are always looking for size, rebounding, rim protection, and Claxton’s athleticism. It is believed that teams needing a center could throw more money than the Nets want to pay for someone who is limited offensively.
Lewis said a player’s agent told him that Claxton might land a four-year, $90 million deal. Similarly, Lewis said other league sources have indicated that the value could be more in line with the five-year, $100 million contract that Jarrett Allen got from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Brooklyn Reportedly Preparing Offer To Keep Claxton
Brooklyn currently sits in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with a 16-22 record, but their position in the race for a play-in spot is very much in peril. The Nets are one game clear of Atlanta and one-and-a-half games ahead of Toronto. The Nets have lost two straight and 14 of 18.
Ben Simmons has been out since Nov. 6 due to a left lower back nerve impingement, though he is still weeks away from returning. Simmons has recently progressed to 3-on-3 work and will continue to be assessed periodically, but is getting to the “home stretch” of returning to action, per Simmons’ agent Bernard Lee.
With the Nets having no draft pick this year, the biggest decision Brooklyn will have to make is on the future of Claxton. However, the 24-year-old will hit the open market as the Nets can’t extend him till July because of the vagaries of his contract. The Nets do hold the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent’s Bird Rights.
In his HoopsHype article a couple of days ago, Michael Scotto said that he has heard that the Nets are making it seem like they’re preparing to pay Claxton. Scotto kind of confirmed what Lewis said that Claxton will get.
“I have him somewhere in the $20-25 million range,”
While Brooklyn appears to be fine giving Claxton around $20 million a year, it could get a little dicey if the price gets closer to $25 million a season, according to Nets Daily.
“The Nets are in a crunch regarding the luxury tax threshold next season, just as they are in this one. Ownership and management do not want to go over that threshold and wind up having to pay the repeater tax in 2025-26 when free agents will abound and beyond. The repeater tax and other restrictions under the new CBA get assessed when teams are over threshold three years out of four.”
Brooklyn currently has eight players under contract for 2024-25. If Claxton re-signs with the Nets, it will give them nine players with a cap figure between $136.5 million and $141.5 million, depending on whether Claxton gets $20 or $25 million.
Claxton’s re-upping with the Nets also would give them four players making more than $20 million.
Given the projected numbers of Claxton, Brooklyn would have between $29-$34 million and five or six roster spots to fill, depending on whether they want to carry 14 or 15 players. Theoretically, the Nets would have $3-to-$7 million to spend on other free agents to stay below the luxury tax.
Lonnie Walker IV, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Royce O’Neale will also be unrestricted free agents. Dinwiddie has a $30 million cap hold, and O’Neale has an $18 million hold. It would be a surprise that either player will get close to those numbers.
However, Walker IV is someone who the Nets should bring back. Walker is making just $2.2 million this season and is due for a decent raise. Still just 25 years old, Walker is having a career season. Walker’s best attribute is as a scorer off the bench, though he has improved his shooting over the last two years.
So, Who Could Make A Run At Claxton This Offseason?
The Detroit Pistons project to have the most cap space this offseason. The Pistons have a lot of needs and have spent a lot on the center position over the last few years –whether contract or in the draft. But Claxton paired with Jalen Duren in the frontcourt with Isaiah Stewart coming off the bench is very intriguing.
The Philadelphia 76ers project to have the second most cap space, although they only have three players signed for next season. But don’t count the Sixers out, particularly if they don’t re-sign Tobias Harris.
The Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets, and possibly Washington Wizards are other possible suitors with available cap space. Still, July is a long way away, and plenty of things can happen between now and then.