This is the new-age free agency: recruitment through Twitter.
Deron Williams made his social-media pitch Monday to good friend Kyle Korver, a prime free-agent target for the cap-strapped Nets.
After tweeting to Korver’s brother that the free agent’s next team will be the “NETS,” Williams sent out a photo-shopped picture of Korver wearing a Brooklyn uniform.
“What do you guys think? Perfect match,” Williams wrote Monday morning.
As Williams was taking a more public role in front-office dealings — he was, for example, the only player in the draft “War Room” last week when GM Billy King negotiated the blockbuster for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce — the Nets were building a summer plan around Korver and Andray Blatche, making them the free-agent priorities. Blatche, a center, agreed to re-sign with the Nets Monday night.
Blatche is expected to back up Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett.
The Nets are navigating through free agency with limited resources. As a team paying the luxury tax, Brooklyn is only capable of signing one player at the mini mid-level exception (three years, $ 10 million) and the rest at the veteran’s minimum ($ 1.2 million per year).
In other words, they’ll need to recruit a player like Korver, 32, who started 60 games for the Hawks last season and might command more money than what the Nets can offer. He earned $ 5 million last season, and played well enough that he doesn’t deserve a pay cut.
Korver’s appeal to the Nets is about more than just his relationship with Williams, which stems from their three seasons together with the Jazz. Korver is among the league’s elite spot-up 3-point shooters, connecting on 46% from beyond the arc last season while averaging 10.9 points.
The Nets, on the other hand, were among the league’s worst in 3-pointers converted last season. King, who drafted Korver in 2003 when he was a 76ers executive, talked last week about getting more athletic and lethal from long range.
Korver fits the latter, not so much the former. He’s also a below-average defender.
The day after last season ended, King said he “was looking to bring over” small forward Bojan Bogdanovic from the Turkish League. But Bogdanovic — who was drafted in the second round by the Nets in 2011 — is still under contract with his Turkish team, and talks about signing the Bosnian international have cooled.
Bogdanovic would almost certainly use up the Nets’ mid-level exception, thus making it less likely they nab Korver. It’s a one-or-the-other situation, and Korver has the upper-hand.
If Williams’ Twitter pleas aren’t enticing enough to free agents, the Nets are banking on the appeal of contention and big-market possibilities.
Yes, the Nets are finally a big market team and spending like it, with Mikhail Prokhorov set to commit over $ 180 million in salary and luxury taxes next season.