- Last Updated: 4:16 AM, July 5, 2012
- Posted: 12:58 AM, July 5, 2012
The Nets made a small move yesterday, but in the long run, it could mean quite a lot.
A league source said the Nets and Mirza Teletovic were nearing an agreement to sign the Bosnian power forward for three years for the $3.09 million “mini” mid-level exception, as opposed to signing him for the full $5 million mid-level as originally reported.
Though the news may not be as eye-catching as the team’s agreement to re-sign Gerald Wallace Sunday, their blockbuster trade for Hawks star Joe Johnson Monday or seeing Deron Williams choose to be Brooklyn-bound Tuesday, it could be nearly as important in the Nets’ quest to begin their tenure in Brooklyn with a roster that’s capable of making a deep playoff run.
That’s because of the salary restraints Nets general manager Billy King would have been under had Teletovic signed for the full mid-level exception. Any team that uses the full mid-level is subject to a hard cap of $74.3 million for the entire season. If the Nets had used it on Teletovic, they already would be committed to somewhere in the neighborhood of $54 million to just seven players for next season once the free-agent signing moratorium ends July 11 — and that’s without re-signing Brook Lopez, Gerald Green, Kris Humphries and filling out the rest of their roster.
It also would have made a possible trade for Dwight Howard extremely difficult, if not impossible, to pull off. The Nets would have had to find a way to squeeze his nearly $20 million salary under that hard cap, and also would have been unable to take on any of the onerous contracts that remain on Orlando’s books.
All of that goes away, though, with Teletovic agreeing to take the “mini” mid-level, which will allow the Nets to spend as much as they want this season, with the only penalty being the luxury taxes they will have to pay.
Though the Nets’ dream scenario would be to finally land Howard, who has made it clear for months he would like to team up with Williams in Brooklyn, it also gives the Nets a great deal more flexibility in keeping their own free agents.
If a trade for Howard never materializes, the Nets gladly will re-sign restricted free agent center Brook Lopez for what could be an eight-figure starting salary. It also could allow the Nets to re-sign Kris Humphries a* d Gerald Green, as well as use both of their small trade exceptions to help fill out their roster.
The Nets also could use Humphries, Green or any combination of their several other free agents as part of a sign-and-trade to add to the roster that way. One potential target is Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova, whom the Nets have long been interested in.Follow @NYPostsports