Nets GM Sean Marks moving on after losing out on Allen Crabbe, Tyler Johnson

ByMike Mazzeo ESPN logo
Monday, July 11, 2016

LAS VEGAS -- TheNetswent 0-for-2 on the restricted free-agent market Sunday, as the Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat matched Brooklyn's four-year offer sheets for 24-year-old guards Allen Crabbe and Tyler Johnson.

Now, it's back to the drawing board for Nets general manager Sean Marks and the rest of his front-office staff, who worked hard in putting together deals -- which totaled $125 million -- they didn't think Portland and Miami would match.

Rebuilding Brooklyn put several stipulations in those deals -- including poison-pill provisions, trade kickers and player options -- in an attempt to deter Portland and Miami from matching, but they did so anyway.

First, Portland matched Brooklyn's four-year, $75 million offer sheet on Crabbe, and then Miami matched the Nets' four-year, $50 million offer sheet on Johnson, leaving Brooklyn empty-handed.

Both players confirmed the deals via social media.

"It's definitely disappointing not to have those two guys. But at the same time, we're excited; we're excited that those guys actually chose the Nets, the Brooklyn Nets to sign offer sheets with," Marks said. "I think that says a lot about [head coach] Kenny [Atkinson] and his staff and the vision set forth. We'll go back at it again. There's certainly a Plan B, and that's in progress right now, which, again, we're excited about. And we wish those guys all the best."

Marks admitted that he expected the Blazers and Heat to match the two players' offers.

"There's no secret we were going after two top-tier guys, guys that we valued that are 24 years old that can be part of a program a building program from the foundation all the way up. So we would have been excited to have them, but when you're dealt the hand that we have, and we don't have a whole lot of young assets, in terms of picks, that's the way we've got to go do it, play within the rules," Marks said.

After missing out on Johnson, the Nets signed veteran backup point guard Greivis Vasquez to a one-year deal.

"Great opportunity for me to show that I'm healthy and I can help a team win," Vasquez told The Undefeated's Marc Spears.

The 29-year-old was limited to just 23 games last season inMilwaukeedue to right ankle surgery. He holds career averages of 9.0 points and 4.8 assists.

Brooklyn is coming off a 21-61 season and does not have total control over its own first-round pick until 2019.

Prior to adding Vasquez, all the Nets had done this offseason was sign Jeremy Lin, Trevor Booker and Justin Hamilton.

With Crabbe and Johnson no longer in play, Brooklyn must now turn to a contingency plan to fill out its roster, which is still bare and lacking in dynamic young talent.

Crabbe and Johnson both elected to sign with the Nets in part because their roles would've been expanded.

"I think that shows that we are starting to build something here. There's no secret, it's going to take time. We never said this is a quick, sort of six-month fix here," Marks said. "The fact that again the two guys chose - a couple top-tier free agents chose to come and sign an offer sheet with us, I think that speaks a lot."

Crabbe was to be the team's starting shooting guard, while Johnson would have served as its sixth man and backup point guard.

Brooklyn was taking a big risk in inking Crabbe and Johnson to those massive offer sheets, but the front office believed both players had significant potential.

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is best known for his ability to develop players and help them improve.