After Kyrie Irving, Nic Claxton becomes the free agent the Nets desperately need to return. He was 5 starting players at the end of the season and in the first round. Except for the miserable free throw, especially since 1 of 11 appears in Game 4, he was more than serviceable in the role. Furthermore, he is only 23 years old and long term ancestry.
But Bleacher Report’s Dan Vaval, in his assessment of the 10 players most need a change of scenery, this weekend wrote about how he “rescued” Claxton from Brooklyn, arguing that the Nets will never develop him to his full potential.
Smart teams with huge chunks of minutes available in the center should look to save Nic Claxton from a Brooklyn Networks The team that failed to make it the consistent rotation it deserves…
While Faval noted that Nash relied more and more on Claxton as the season and post-season approached, Faval said there was a lot more to Claxton than the Nets discovered.
This is still not enough. Claxton should be on a team that has the potential to evolve. The Nets won’t be that team as long as they’re trying to compete. And while Claxton remains his top choice in the center, without exception, Brooklyn’s roster doesn’t help guarantee his minutes.
Furthermore, Faval wrote that adding Ben Simmons could make Claxton’s role smaller.
A healthy Ben Simmons ensures that the net always has one non-shooter on the ground. That mushroom count to two if they re-sign with Bruce Brown (unrestricted) and his clip of 40.4 percent from three this season proves to be an anomaly. Brooklyn will sometimes, if not often, find itself needing to prefer front court settings that feature a 5′ floor spacer.
There have been some in the Nets who have either said implicitly or explicitly that Claxton’s potential is particularly great in terms of attacking…but some in this camp are also questioning his durability…and his commitment.
Fans point to Claxton’s last game for the Long Island Nets for League G on March 20. Here are a few highlights of his 34-point effort, including everything from 3-point shots to euro strides.
A small sample – nine games – was the G League, not the NBA, but Claxton’s shooting splits were 66/56/76. Not a typo. As Vaval wrote…
He has more offensive depth to explore – including a kid’s hook shot – but not the big jump. Brooklyn will want him back anyway. Its interchangeability from five locations is legit. But sticking with an organization that can ensure consistent or optimal use isn’t what’s best for him.
Faval believes Claxton outside Brooklyn would best suit Charlotte, Dallas or Oklahoma City. Sean Devine Heavy.com I reported last week that Claxton is looking for about three years and $35 million. If the Nets want to sign him before June 30, they can give him up to four years and $55.6 million.
On the other side of the ledger, Faval believes 24-year-old Kleber support center Isiah Hartenstein will find his best in Brooklyn. In fact, last summer, there were reports that Hartenstein and Nietzs had a common interest.
Hartenstein’s liability will be tied up forever with Los Angeles, even if you decide to give him priority over (Ivica) Zubak (Free Agent 2023).
The other suitors should offer Hartenstein more money to boot. The 24-year-old is a free non-flying agent, so the Clippers can’t give him more than the small mid-level ($6.4 million) exception. And that’s assuming they’re ready to hand it all over. They may not want to burn everything over a large area when they have a clear but exaggerated need for a general floor base.
Vaval thinks the competition for Hartenstein could be Dallas and Philadelphia