Everything you need to know about the Nets entering the NBA offseason

The Boston Celtics hoisted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy at TD Garden on Monday night, officially bringing the 2023-24 NBA season to an end. And now that the offseason is here, it is time for the Brooklyn Nets — and other teams eager to build toward championship contention — to get back to work.

With a new coaching staff in place, spearheaded by former Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez, and looming free agent decisions, this summer projects to be a busy one for the franchise. There are also key positions in the front office that must be filled before training camp begins in the fall after the departures of Jeff Peterson, Ryan Gisriel, Matt Tellem and J.R. Holden.

The Nets, who finished 32-50 last season and missed the playoffs, do not own any picks in this year’s draft, which will be held at Barclays Center June 26-27. The Houston Rockets acquired Brooklyn’s 2024 first-round pick through the infamous James Harden deal in 2021. That same year, the Nets sent Sekou Doumbouya and an unprotected 2024 second-round pick to Houston in a bid to lower team payroll.

However, speaking to reporters back in April, general manager Sean Marks said fans should not rule out the idea of Brooklyn acquiring a first-round pick, or any pick, in the upcoming draft. Although this draft is considered one of the weaker in recent memory, there are likely players available that could help the Nets re-tool their roster in Fernandez’s inaugural season — that could be had at a modest price.

The Nets are currently the only NBA team without a pick in the first or second round. However, if the team does trade into the draft, that prospect — or prospects — will likely debut at NBA 2K25 Summer League in Las Vegas July 12-22, barring injury or other unforeseen setbacks. Brooklyn owns an abundance of future assets that can be moved in any potential draft day deal, including a 2027 unprotected first-round pick from the Phoenix Suns, a 2027 first-round pick (protected 1-8) from the Philadelphia 76ers, and a 2029 unprotected first-round pick from the Dallas Mavericks.

Summer League action should also offer a better look at second-year forward Noah Clowney, who impressed toward the end of Brooklyn’s lost season, and second-year guard Dariq Whitehead, whose rookie campaign was cut short after undergoing season-ending surgery to address a stress reaction in his left shin in late January.

Now that the Finals are complete and a new NBA champion has been crowned, teams can begin negotiating with upcoming free agents who finished the just-completed season on its roster. The Nets have three primary unrestricted free agents in Nic Claxton, Dennis Smith Jr. and Lonnie Walker IV, and one primary restricted free agent in Trendon Watford.

Two-way forward Keon Johnson is also an unrestricted free agent and two-way guard Jacob Gilyard is a restricted free agent. Keita Bates-Diop, who was acquired at last season’s trade deadline in February, has a $2.6 million player option.

Both Marks and Fernandez said that re-signing Claxton is Brooklyn’s top priority this summer. The center averaged 11.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.1 blocks last season and is expected to command a new deal that pays around $18-20 million per year. Claxton is viewed as one of the top available centers entering free agency and said he will weigh his options before making a decision, although some believe the 25-year-old will quickly re-sign with the Nets on a lucrative deal when cleared to do so.

Each NBA team may begin negotiating with all other upcoming free agents beginning at 6 p.m. ET on June 30 and can start signing free agents to contracts at 12:01 p.m. ET on July 6.

While Mikal Bridges has two years left on his current deal, he is eligible starting on Oct. 1 to extend for three years and $112.9 million. Cam Thomas, who averaged a career-high 22.5 points last season, is rookie-extension eligible. Many teams around the league covet Bridges’ two-way talent, but it has been reported that Brooklyn is not open to trading him at this time.

Ben Simmons, who appeared in just 15 games last season, has been rehabbing in Miami since undergoing a microscopic partial discectomy to alleviate the pinched nerve in his lower back. He is guaranteed $40.3 million on an expiring contract next season and Marks said “all signs” point to him being healthy and available at the start of next season.

The NBA’s salary cap is projected to be at $141 million next season, per ESPN, with the luxury tax line expected around $172 million. The Nets currently have 11 of 15 roster spots under contract next season for around $134.1 million, which does not offer them much financial flexibility in the short-term. However, the team is expected to have significant cap space in 2025.