Brooklyn Boro

Nets hope fourth time’s a charm with Porter

After Three Misses in 2016, Marks Tries to Land Wizards’ Forward

July 5, 2017 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Nets are hoping a reported $106 million offer to Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. is too rich for Washington to match as general manager Sean Marks takes his fourth shot in two summers at swiping another team’s unrestricted free agent. AP photo by Nick Wass
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If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.

That’s the approach Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks is taking this summer.

The architect of this massive Downtown rebuilding project took his fourth swipe at signing a coveted restricted free agent over the past two summers Tuesday, reportedly inking Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. to a maximum offer sheet of four years and $106 million.

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Porter, who averaged career bests of 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this past season with Washington, stands at 6-foot-8, but displays the skills of a small forward/shooting guard, hitting an eye-popping 43 percent of his 3-pointers during the 2016-17 campaign.

That’s exactly the type of player that head coach Kenny Atkinson needs at the 3-spot to run the floor and pull up for shots of distance in his fast-paced, long-range shooting offense.

Marks and Brooklyn point guard Jeremy Lin were reportedly both in Washington D.C. during the July 4 holiday, trying to sell the idea of coming to Barclays Center to the 24-year-old St. Louis native, who was originally selected by the Wizards with the third overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft out of Georgetown.

Porter signed, maximizing his leverage against the Wizards, but Marks has been left hanging at this altar before.

During his initial summer as Nets’ GM in 2016, he watched as Portland’s Allen Crabbe, Miami’s Tyler Johnson and Houston’s Donatas Motiejunas remained with their respective clubs after signing lucrative offer sheets with Brooklyn.

Porter will likely do the same if Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, a Brooklyn native, comes through on his promise to match any contract offered to one of his young, promising players, despite the luxury tax ramifications that come with it.

The Nets have already whiffed on potential free-agent target J.J. Redick, who owns a penthouse here in DUMBO.

The former Duke standout and Los Angeles Clippers sharp-shooter inked a one-year deal with Philadelphia last week for $23 million. The Nets have more than $30 million under the cap for next season, and nearly all of it will go to Porter if the Wizards don’t retain his services.

Leonsis can match the Nets’ offer by Saturday, giving him time to weigh his options while the Nets go through another mind-numbing period of waiting to see if the fish on their line can be reeled in.

“Where we’re at, we’re going to be systematic with our approach, whether it’s free agency, the draft, acquisitions from Europe or wherever it may be and build the team that way,” Marks said earlier this year when discussing his approach to rebuilding a roster that finished dead last in the NBA last season and does not have control of its first-round pick again next June.

“It’s about hitting singles and doubles,” he noted.

Landing Porter would surely be viewed as a home run by Marks, who has already begun this overhaul by dealing all-time Net Brook Lopez to the Los Angeles Lakers for guard D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov.

The Nets also got Texas big man Jarrett Allen with the 22nd overall pick in last month’s NBA Draft at Barclays.

But acquiring Porter is clearly the Nets’ main objective this summer, one they hope won’t go the way of their previous three attempts to lure a player away from his previous employer.

Nothing But Net: Before they even find out if Porter will be in Brooklyn or not next season, the Nets will kick off their Summer League campaign in Las Vegas on Friday. Allen will be in uniform for his unofficial Nets debut, as will Spencer Dinwiddie, Archie Goodwin, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert and Coney Island high school legend Isaiah Whitehead. Head coach Kenny Atkinson will also be evaluating and teaching a bushel of other players filling out the roster in the hopes of getting a shot to make the team next year, or catch on with another club. The Nets’ Summer League opener will tip off at 8 p.m. EDT at Vegas’ Cox Pavilion on Friday. They also have games scheduled for Sunday vs. Milwaukee and Monday vs. New Orleans before the league’s championship tournament begins next Wednesday.

* * *

While the Islanders wait to see if general manager Garth Snow can keep John Tavares here in Brooklyn for the foreseeable future, the team made a few smaller transactions over the weekend.

The Isles inked AHL defenseman Kane Lafranchise and former Devils blue-liner Seth Helgeson to one-year, two-way (NHL/AHL) contracts while trading prospect Carter Verhaage to Tampa Bay for goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis.

New York has an exclusive window to sign Tavares to an extension of up to eight years that began on July 1. But Snow must first convince the two-time Hart Trophy finalist and one of the greatest players in franchise history that the team is moving in the right direction as far as pursuing a Stanley Cup.

Also, the Isles are not sure exactly where they will be skating following the 2018-19 campaign, when the team and the Barclays Center are likely to part ways.

Snow has already traded for talented Edmonton forward Jordan Eberle and has reportedly been pursuing a deal with Colorado for talented center Matt Duchene.

Tavares has always insisted that he wished to remain with the franchise that drafted him first overall in 2009, but if he’s not satisfied with the future he sees here in Brooklyn, he would be one of the most coveted free agents targets in NHL history next summer.


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