The Nets have a bunch of free agents to try to retain (or replace) this summer, including a pair of small-ball bigs in Blake Griffin and Jeff Green. There’s still almost a week to go before free agency tips off, but at least for the moment it’s looking more and more like they have decent odds of holding onto at least one.
The Nets coaching staff and front office were pleased with the veterans but could be hard-pressed to keep both. The Post had reported that Griffin was happy in Brooklyn, and that there is sentiment around the league that Green has earned a raise from his current veteran’s minimum. Now ESPN has suggested Griffin wants to stick around next year, but linked Green as a possible fit in Milwaukee.
Griffin arrived midseason after being bought out by Detroit. He remade his game and relished doing the dirty work the star-studded Nets needed. Griffin started all 12 of their playoff games, averaging nine points and 5.9 rebounds in 26.5 minutes.
“I’m still happy with my decision,” Griffin said after their second-round loss to Milwaukee. “I’m just proud of these guys and how hard they fought.”
Griffin has been pleased with the work the Nets’ performance team has done helping him manage his knees. And as far as re-signing, it should be noted that he’s still set to make $29.8 million from the Pistons next season.
That puts the Nets in prime position to get him on a team-friendly deal. Green is in an entirely different circumstance, the quintessential journeyman in every sense of the word.
Green hasn’t played full back-to-back seasons with the same team since Boston from 2012-14. He’s also been on five straight veteran’s minimum deals — actually arriving in Houston last season on a 10-day contract, before being upgraded to a minimum — despite clearly outperforming that pay scale. And he’s aware of it.
“It confuses me, but it isn’t frustrating,” Green told the New York Times. “You know, this stuff, that’s out of my control. I go out and just do the work. And I let my agent handle the logistics of the contract terms, but it is confusing to the point of, ‘What else do I need to do to prove that I’m not a minimum guy?’ ”
He may have done that this season, averaging 11 points, 3.9 rebounds and shooting a career-high 41.2 percent from deep. Green not only provided a stretch-five option, but let the Nets switch 1-through-5 on defense.
But with the Bucks unlikely to be able to afford to keep their own free-agent big Bobby Portis, ESPN suggested Green could be lined up as a replacement.
“When the time comes we’ll have that conversation,” Green said.
“Everybody knows how much I loved it here. I love the people here, the fans, amazing. The personnel on this team, coaches, trainers, everybody knows how much I love them individually and my time here.”
The Nets can extend big Nic Claxton (who’ll play next month’s Las Vegas Summer League), and also have DeAndre Jordan on the books for two more years. Reports have stated that they’re expected to trade their first-round pick for a veteran, but multiple sources told The Post they’re more likely to actually make the No. 27 selection and move one (or more) of their three second-rounders.
If Brooklyn does indeed hold onto its top pick, it takes away the most likely avenue to trade Jordan. They could still buy him out, just as the Pistons did Griffin. Jordan didn’t appear in the final 16 games of the season, including the playoffs.