Rapid Reaction: Wade to Chicago, Tyler Johnson, Calderon

Dwyane Wade is a Chicago Bull.  From the Nets perspective, in light of their verbally agreed upon offer to Heat guard Tyler Johnson, and their near miss on acquiring Jose Calderon from Chicago in a salary dump to facilitate Wade’s deal, much developed in their free agency plans.

Here are my Rapid Reactions.

I. The Nets could not ensure Wade stayed a Miami Heat by taking on Josh McRoberts

Let’s nip this in the bud.  Yes, the Heat, per some educated speculation, may have considered salary dumping Josh McRoberts upon any number of teams, to alleviate their books a little to offer Wade more money. The Nets – NOR ANYONE – took McRoberts on, so to say the Nets missed an opportunity nobody had, is simply untrue.

Wade was a Heat for 13 years.  Leaving for Chicago — home for him — is a significant, monumental life decision. The Nets — or anyone else — were not going to make that choice for him by taking on McRoberts.  When one considers that the Heat could have upped their offer without dumping McRoberts, this line of reasoning plays off even worse.

Wade wanted to become a Bull.  Nothing the Nets would or could do would have changed that. To get angry about not acquiring Josh McRoberts, when (1) we have no idea if it would have changed Wade’s mind (and I don’t believe it would have); and (2) nobody dealt for McRoberts, which hints that no such deal was made available by Miami — look how quickly the Bulls shedded Calderon and Dunleavy, is off base.

II. The Heat matching on Tyler Johnson becomes more likely but no automatic.

If the Heat paid Wade, that would have eaten much present and some future flexibility, as to make matching on Johnson a tough proposition.  Now, the Heat clearly have more cap flexibility in considering the offer.

Matching is no sure thing, still, however.  The Heat may simply decide the Nets’ offer, and its poison pill structure, is too rich and backloaded for their blood.

Like most all restricted free agent offer sheets, matching is possible, and frankly most all offer sheets are matched by incumbents in the process.  The Nets can do nothing but wait.

To clarify: the Heat’s 3 day clock runs from the delivery of Johnson’s SIGNED sheet, and offer sheets cannot be signed until midnight tonight — when the moratorium lifts and players may put pen to paper.  The Heat will have until sometime Sunday to match — or decline to match — in all likelihood.

For the Nets, sign Johnson or not, this was a worthy gamble — restricted free agents are difficult to obtain due to matching rights, and the Nets did well in targeting one of the more obtainable free agents on the market. How many people expected the Heat to lose Wade Deng and Joe Johnson this summer to have all this money to burn?

III. The Nets apparent (refuted by the Vertical) near miss on Calderon is simply not gradeable, until the next week or so plays out.

Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Nets never discussed getting Calderon from Chicago, when Chicago dealt him as a cap opening move to add Wade’s new salary.

Regardless, let’s delve in.

It was initially reported by ESPN the Nets were in the lead for Calderon.  Calderon, to clarify, is essentially on a 1 year, $7.7 million deal, but is totally worthless as a basketball player, especially for a 21-61 team mired in a rebuild.  If the Nets were to get him, it only would have made sense if they got an unprotected or lightly protected second round pick — the only purpose of the deal would be to charge the Bulls for its use of the Nets’ cap space by demanding a pick in return. Calderon has zero value to the Nets, himself.

The Lakers however, wound up getting Calderon instead.  Was this good or bad for Brooklyn?

The answer: it depends.  The Nets apparent, or potential, election to sit by idly and let Calderon go cannot be graded until we see the results.  First, what type of asset did the Lakers get?  If they got a first round pick, for example (all hypothetical), this is a loss.  If they got a top 55 protected second rounder, as we sometimes see in salary dumps?  Then this is a win, because that is the equivalent of getting nothing.  While neither is all that likely, that represents the two extremes.  Second, by not adding Calderon to their 2016-2017 books, the Nets have retained $7.7 million in salary cap space. Before judging the no deal, it does remain to be seen how the Nets use that space, and how they use it should factor into how the Nets decision is evaluated.  With Johnson’s number held on their books until Miami’s decision on (likely) Sunday, the Nets have $21 million in cap space without Calderon on their books.  If the Nets sign Allen Crabbe, a move Calderon precludes, then this is a huge win.  If they sit on the money and do nothing?  That is the other extreme, and could represent a loss.

In sum, the Nets made a choice not to grab Calderon and obtain an asset in the process.  That choice cannot be evaluated as prudent or mistaken until subsequent events occur.

 

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