The Brooklyn Nets had some of their weaknesses exposed in their postseason matchup against the Boston Celtics. One of the most glaring ones was the lack of depth they had in the forward and center positions. Their rotation was just off this postseason. You can credit Steve Nash as the coach, or Sean Marks as the GM for the makeup of the team. Andre Drummond struggled against Boston in the playoffs and averaged just 15 minutes per game as the starter, with Claxton averaging 24.5 minutes off of the bench for the Nets.
Other than Claxton, the Nets didn’t play any player over 6-foot-3 for extended minutes in the playoff series against the Celtics. Depth is a big thing that the Nets can’t lose out on. Claxton averaged 10.5 points and over 6 rebounds in the series and proved to be a bright spot in the losing round. Claxton was drafted by the Nets in the second round of the NBA Draft and highlights the Nets recent player development on this roster.
Will the Nets Re-Sign Claxton?
After his strong play, it is no wonder that it has been reported that the Nets are expected to match any offer that comes to him in restricted free agency. Claxton isn’t expected to get offers beyond the mid-level exception, so it seems reasonable for them to bring him back at that price.
“He is not going to get more than a midlevel offer from a team like Charlotte or Chicago, and if that is the case, they’re comfortable matching it. He is restricted, they can match anything another team gives him. He is looking at something like three years, $35 million,” one Eastern Conference general manager told Heavy’s own Sean Deveney.
Despite the Nets being committed to bringing the young big man back, it does not suggest they believe he is the big man of the future. But he has improved each season, and there is hope for his development.
“They are not sold on him as the big guy of the future but at that number, they’d keep him around, and know they can move him in a deal next summer if they have something better in mind. Trouble is, they’ve got a short window here so they can’t wait for him too long. But Sean (Marks) is a believer in development, and they are not going to give up on him that fast.”
Claxton Seeking a ‘Change of Scenery?’
In a recent article from Bleacher Report, Dan Favale writes that Claxton should be a name teams look to acquire as a restricted free agent.
“Smart teams with huge chunks of minutes available at center should be looking to rescue Nic Claxton from a Brooklyn Nets squad that has failed to make him the rotation constant he deserves to be,” Favale writes.
Favale cites the lack of guaranteed minutes as a reason the big man would welcome a change of scenery elsewhere. It seems unlikely that a team could shill out more than $35 million for Claxton, but if they do, it would be interesting to see how Brooklyn responds. However, anything less than that seems all but guaranteed he will be staying put in Brooklyn.