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Coming off a win in the Play-In Tournament to claim the 7-seed in the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets had a lot of momentum heading into their first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics and Bruce Brown did not hold back his feelings at the time.

“Now they don’t have Robert Williams, so they have less of a presence in the paint,” Brown said in regards to facing the Celtics. “We can attack [Daniel] Theis and [Al] Horford in the paint. Them not having Robert Williams is huge.”

Four games later, the Nets’ season ended abruptly in disappointing fashion after getting swept by the Celtics.

This offseason is going to be extremely important for Brooklyn as a franchise and while his comments ahead of their playoff series against Boston may have added unnecessary fuel to the fire in favor of the Celtics, Bruce Brown still proved to be one of the most important players on the Nets’ roster this season.

Appearing in 72 games, Brown averaged 9.0 points (career-high), 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 steals and shot 50.6% from the floor, 40.4% from three-point range.

Brown ranked fifth on the team in Player Efficiency Rating (min. 1,000 minutes), second in Win Shares (4.8) and tied for first with Kevin Durant in Defensive Win Shares (2.0). 

He may only be 6’4”, but Bruce Brown is one of the most versatile players in the league given his ability to defend almost every position and fill almost any hole his team has.

Brown can rebound, he can defend, he can facilitate, he can set screens and most importantly, he gives his team a jolt of energy whether he is in or out of the starting rotation.

Set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, the Nets’ swingman is likely to see a pretty substantial raise from his current expiring contract.

After signing a one-year qualifying offer of $4.7 million this past season, Brown’s value has increased and in order to keep him around, Brooklyn may have to dive deeper into being a tax-paying organization.

The max Bruce Brown can make this offseason is $176.9 million over the course of five years, but it is unlikely that any team, including the Nets, is going to want to make him a max contract player.

Brooklyn is able to exceed the cap to offer him up to this max contract amount, which is why they probably have the best shot at retaining him once free agency begins.

This offseason, the Nets ownership and front-office are going to have to open up their checkbooks if they are to continue being a championship contender and what they decide to do must start with Bruce Brown.

A three-to-four year deal worth around $14 million to $18 million per year is definitely in-play this offseason for Brown, especially when you compare his numbers and value to other players around the league in this annual average value bracket.

Duncan Robinson (Miami Heat), Derrick White (Boston Celtics), Kevin Huerter (Atlanta Hawks) and Will Barton (Denver Nuggets) are four players and four contracts that could come into play when evaluating Bruce Brown’s value entering free agency.

Starting with Will Barton, he signed a two-year, $30 million deal with an AAV (annual average value) of $15 million with Denver ahead of the 2021-22 season. Barton has proven to be a key two-way weapon on the wing for the Nuggets and has filled the role of being the No. 3 and/or No. 4 option at times, similar to Bruce Brown’s role with Brooklyn.

As for Duncan Robinson and Kevin Huerter, they both recently signed new contract extensions with their teams as well. Robinson earned a five-year, $90 million deal with an AAV of $18 million with the Heat for being a key three-point weapon on the wing and Huerter signed a four-year, $65 million extension, an AAV of $16.25 million, ahead of this season with the Hawks for being a key perimeter scorer and offensive weapon on the wing.

As for Derrick White, he is not much of a three-point shooter, but his skills being a facilitator in the backcourt and his playmaking abilities earned him a four-year, $70 million contract with an AAV of $17.5 million ahead of the start of this season.

These are a lot of numbers to process, but Bruce Brown is going to be looking to get this kind of value in free agency, especially since his worth to the Nets this season is highly comparable to that of Will Barton in Denver and Derrick White, who is now in Boston.

The Nets do own Brown’s full “bird rights,” meaning that Brooklyn can bring him back despite being over the salary cap and deep into "luxury tax land." 

However, signing him to a $10 million contract for example could cost the franchise close to three-times this amount in total luxury taxes.

Recently, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski spoke about the Nets’ upcoming offseason moves and noted that Bruce Brown is a very important piece to the puzzle.

“Obviously, Bruce Brown has had a tremendous season,” Wojnarowski said recently. “He’s looking like a 12, 13, 14 million dollar player in this marketplace. They have to sign him.”

After losing to the Boston Celtics in the first-round of the playoffs, Brown also talked about his upcoming free agency and what the future held with him in regards to the Nets this offseason.

“Yeah, hopefully,” Brown said in response to being asked about staying with Brooklyn. “The season just ended; I’m not thinking about it. If there’s a chance to stay, we’ll talk about it. But we’ll see.”

Every move the Brooklyn Nets could potentially make as a franchise this offseason depends on how much their ownership is willing to pay. This team is going to be one of the highest tax-paying teams in the league next season, which is why bringing back any player is going to be tough for them. 

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