Nets’ Sharpshooter Name Dropped as Potential Target for Rival Knicks

Brooklyn Nets

Getty Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks.

This summer could see the Brooklyn Nets watch the “best pure shooter on the market” walk out the door for nothing in Seth Curry.

Not only that, he could wind up on the rival New York Knicks.

“The Knicks have their full MLE to offer Curry, who made $8.5 million with Brooklyn last year,” writes Grant Huges of Bleacher Report on May 27 identifying ‘ambitious’ targets for every team. “That should be enough to land perhaps the best pure shooter on the market.”

Curry, 32, averaged a modest 9.2 points per game this past season as he shifted from his role as a starter over the past two seasons back into sparkplug off the bench in his first full season with the Nets. He was part of the package sent back in return for the Nets sending James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers.

He still knocked in better than 40% of his threes for the seventh consecutive season.

The former undrafted free agent out of Duke has carved out an eight-year career so far, split between eight teams.

There have been 82 other players to take as many or more three-pointers as the 1780 triples that Curry has gotten up since the 2016-17 season, per Stathead. Only one other player has that many attempts and also shot at least 43% from beyond the arc in that span: Nets swingman Joe Harris.

“No playoff team canned a lower percentage of their three-point shots than the New York Knicks,” notes Hughes. “Seth Curry can help with that.”

Letting Curry walk would, in many ways, be tied to Cameron Johnson.

Cameron Johnson Could Test Nets’ ‘Tolerance’

Restricted free agency can be difficult for both players and teams to navigate. But Johnson, 27, displayed better ball handling and playmaking ability than previously expected in addition to his customary three-point shooting and defense potentially making him a hot commodity on the open market.

“Somebody needs to test the Brooklyn Nets’ tolerance on salary matching,” Hughes wrote later in the same piece. “The Detroit Pistons have both the positional need and spending power to make Brooklyn think hard about the worth of restricted free agent Cameron Johnson.”

The Nets are $15.7 million below the luxury tax with a roster that falls short of being a title contender.

Johnson’s next contract is expected to potentially reach $20 million annually.

The Nets have to balance spending that money to keep current building block Mikal Bridges happy with a very useful player or spreading that salary out across other players and collecting some draft capital in the process. They have a plethora of two-way wings on the roster, and several are already under contract for next year.

But Johnson’s still-improving game is the foundation of an argument to keep him while his relationship with Bridges is what could push his getting a new contract in Brooklyn this offseason over the top.

Nets International Star a Potential Fit for Warriors

Curry and Johnson are not the only Nets getting early traction in the rumor mill. Five-year veteran forward Yuta Watanabe, 28, has also seen his name come up with the Boston Celtics mentioned as a team who could have interest this offseason.

But, in light of the new collective bargaining agreement, the Golden State Warriors could come calling in search of bargain additions on the margins.

“The Warriors…may only have minimum money to throw around on players outside the organization,” wrote Hughes’ colleague, Zach Buckley on May 25. “That would obviously drain the player pool considerably, but maybe they could sneak in a potential bargain like Yuta Watanabe.”

Watanabe is coming off a one-year, $1.9 million contract.

The 6-foot-9 sharpshooter knocked down 44.4% of his triples this past season but did not have a steady role after the trade deadline, going from over 18 minutes per game before the deadline which brought Johnson to Brooklyn to just fewer than 10 minutes per game afterward.

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