As the Brooklyn Nets continue their 2015-2016 season, I continue my look at free agents around the league, team by team, to evaluate who the Nets could be interested in. The series continues with a look at the Pistons and Bucks, which will conclude my look at the Atlantic and Central Divisions
Andre Drummond: Drummond is a free agent in name only. He is a restricted free agent who chose not to sign a preseason extension. Detroit is building around him and will not decline to match an offer. The Nets surely can place a call to his representation and with a talent of his level, they had better. But the likelihood he leaves Detroit is remote.
Brandon Jennings: Jennings is an unrestricted free agent, and the Pistons gave Reggie Jackson $80 million to play his position. He could be on the move. And the Nets obviously need a point guard: Jennings is a clear upgrade over Jack and Larkin and the Nets will likely express some interest. Still, it must be noted. Jennings is extremely popular in a manner that exceeds his production. He has never shot 42% in a season. The Bucks were clear winners when dealing him away, the Pistons ready to cast him away. He’s a bottom tier starter at this point. But he is worth a look if he is affordable.
Ersan Ilyasova: The Pistons have a team option to retain Ilyasova, who has fit well next to Andre Drummond, and Stan Van Gundy has stated his intent to keep him around. If he chooses not to keep Ilyasova, he is unlikely to be a target, as he plays Thaddeus Young’s position and is going to command $10-$15 million per season when he hits the market.
Jerryd Bayless: Bayless is a solid piece the Nets can look at to fill their guard rotation. He’s shooting 43% from 3. As the Bucks have dealt with ups and downs from MCW, he has been reliable in relief, and spot starting on occasion. And given he is a career reserve at this point, he may have reasonable salary demands. Can Lionel Hollins and Bayless move past this?
Johnny O’Bryant: O’Bryant is a second round pick from 2014, who plays hard, plays with purpose, and has snuck his way into the back end of Jason Kidd’s rotation. With just a $980,000 team option for 2016-2017, I expected the Bucks to keep him. If they do not, he can be an intriguing fourth or fifth big in Brooklyn, should the Nets want him.
Miles Plumlee: Plumlee’s value has plummeted in Milwaukee; he is barely playing, and the Bucks made him available, according to ESPN, in trades. Still, Plumlee is a young piece. Development is not linear, and he started 79 games in 2014 for a 48 win Suns team. He is an intriguing buy low candidate for Brooklyn. While he is a prospective restricted free agent, the Bucks may renounce him given their current stance on looking at deals. Even if they do not, he is a player they may balk on matching on.
OJ Mayo: Mayo is never a player that has impressed me. He’s shooting 39% this season, and finds himself distinctly behind multiple players in the Bucks’ hierarchy. I think they’ll let him walk, and for good reason. I do not see him as someone the Nets should be interested in. He’s been around the block now with several teams and is yet to show he is a true NBA starter. And if the Nets keep Hollins, the relationship there is poor.
Greivis Vasquez: Vasquez has been a disappointment in Milwaukee. He was a very useful reserve guard for Toronto the past two years, but is struggling mightily this year. Jason Kidd wanted the big guard and dealt a 2017 first for him, so he may decide to hold onto him. He makes $6.6 million, and may command that figure again this summer. For a clear reserve, I do not believe he is worth it.
Damien Inglis: There could be traction for the Nets to look at here. Inglis is a forward who can play the 3 and 4. While he has not done anything as a second rounder in Milwaukee, there are some who like his potential. The Bucks have a $980,000 team option and, given how small it is and the fact Inglis has upside, they should exercise it. If they do not, the Nets may look into offering him a back end roster spot.
Anthony Tolliver: Tolliver is a decent role playing reserve at the 4, but the Nets should look elsewhere. Tolliver is at best average defensively, and his best skill – shooting the basketball – isn’t that great of a strength, as he is a 35.6% three point shooter and 41% shooter overall, for his career, with similar or worse numbers the past two seasons. Tolliver could be a fringe rotation player in Brooklyn but is certainly no priority.
Steve Blake: Blake is a heady backup guard, but is on the decline, and is shooting under 40% (low) and approximately 33% from 3 (relatively low) on the year. The Nets also had him, as he came in the RHJ deal, but quickly dumped him for Quincy Miller, who did not even make the team. That is indicative of the Nets’ opinion of his services.
Darrun Hilliard: A second rounder, Hilliard has shown nothing early in his career. The Pistons have an $875,000 team option to retain him and I suspect they will permit him a second developmental year at such a low figure. A young swingman, at a spot where the Nets have need, perhaps they express interest in the event Detroit lets him go.
Chris Copeland: Copeland never lived up to the contract he received after his breakout 2012-2013 in New York, and has not recovered from a stabbing which occurred in April, 2015. Copeland is likely not a player the Nets will show any interest in.
Spencer Dinwiddie: Dinwiddie was a popular second round pick, but is barely getting playing time in Detroit, and is struggling shooting the ball, particularly from 3. The Nets have enough fringe youth on the roster that Dinwiddie should not be a priority. The Pistons do have a $980,000 team option to retain him.
Joel Anthony: Anthony is essentially finished as an NBA player. The Pistons have a $2.5 million team option they really should decline. The Heat traded draft picks just to dump Anthony in 2014. He is truly not rosterable at this point.
Trades: You would be hard pressed to find one that makes sense between the Nets and these two teams.