The Brooklyn Nets are heading into the 2023 season following an offseason filled with drama, uncertainty, and general frustration in the minds of Nets fans and the Nets organization. Most importantly, Kevin Durant decided to proceed with the Brooklyn Nets after retracting his trade demand. The superstar forward remaining in Brooklyn completely changes the outlook of the Eastern Conference because his departure would have ended the team’s title hopes. With Durant, they have the best chance to win games off pure talent in the East.
Next, Kyrie Irving decided to stay. The point guard only played 29 games last year due to the player’s stance on remaining unvaccinated, and next season, he hopefully will not have to deal with that. The point guard will be back at full health and should be motivated to continue competing alongside arguably the best player in the game. Of course, we are still waiting on confirmation that Ben Simmons is past his mental and physical hurdles and is ready to play. On paper, the Nets have a terrifying trio that should challenge for the championship.
But the NBA is not played on paper, and the Nets need to make sure team chemistry is the focal point of the franchise because that is the main hurdle facing the players. But how is their salary cap looking? Specifically, how much are the Nets’ players getting paid in the 2023 season? With a ton of uncertainty still remaining and the start of the season still a few weeks away, here is what the salary breakdown looks like for the Brooklyn Nets (via HoopsHype).
1. Kevin Durant - $44,119,845
2. Kyrie Irving - $36,934,550
3. Ben Simmons - $35,448,672
4. Joe Harris - $18,642,857
5. Royce O'Neale - $9,200,000
6. Nicolas Claxton - $8,500,000
7. Seth Curry - $8,496,653
8. Patrick Mills - $6,479,000
9. Jevon Carter - $3,925,000
10. Markieff Morris - $2,905,851
11. TJ Warren - $2,628,597
12. Cam Thomas - $2,138,160
13. Day'Ron Sharpe - $2,109,480
14. Edmond Sumner - $1,968,175
15. Yuta Watanabe - $1,968,175
16. Kessler Edwards - $1,637,966
17. David Duke - $1,576,305
18. Alondes Williams - $508,891
Team Total - $187,102,981
Superstars Worth Over $116 Million
Kevin Durant - $44,119,845
Kyrie Irving - $36,934,550
Ben Simmons - $35,448,672
Obviously, the superstars are getting paid large sums of money next year. Kevin Durant is one of the highest-paid players in the world, and deservedly so. He averaged 29.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 6.4 APG for the Nets despite dealing with the absence of Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons for most of the year. Other than Giannis Antetokounmpo, there isn’t a more impactful player than Kevin Durant right now. The dominant forward is the most talented offensive player in the world and keeping him was the priority of the Nets organization. He will get paid over $44 million next year, which is not an issue.
Kyrie is making over $36 million, which is a problem for most of the fans and media members. That is no surprise when a large part of them are not making as much money as the player, but that is mainly due to the fact that the point guard has played in under 60 games over the past three seasons. But next year, the Nets are hoping Irving will be back to full health and will play over 60 games to showcase his talents on the offensive end of the floor. At full health, Irving is easily worth his money but availability has been the major issue since the point guard signed for the Nets.
Finally, Ben Simmons is making over $35 million and when healthy, he is easily worth the money. The Australian star is a terrific defender, an impactful playmaker, and a solid rebounder. While he cannot shoot a lick, he makes up for that by doing everything else at an elite level. Simmons will succeed in the right environment, and playing alongside two perimeter scorers could unlock his potential to the fullest. In Brooklyn, Simmons can be a max player, but it remains to be seen if he can stay healthy and prove it.
Starters And Role Players
Joe Harris - $18,642,857
Royce O'Neale - $9,200,000
Nicolas Claxton - $8,500,000
Seth Curry - $8,496,653
Patrick Mills - $6,479,000
TJ Warren - $2,628,597
Cam Thomas - $2,138,160
Joe Harris is making over $18 million, and clearly, the Nets can’t wait to get him off the books. Harris only played 14 games last season due to injury, which is not his fault. But even when healthy, Harris was grossly overpaid even if he shot over 40% from three for 4 straight seasons. The sharpshooter can stroke the ball, but his inability to show up in the playoffs two seasons ago frustrated a ton of Nets fans. Harris will likely not sign another big contract as he is 31 years of age and coming off injuries.
Newly acquired Royce O’Neale is a stout defender who can make threes and will be a critical player in the Nets system. Nic Claxton is in for the long-term and is an active big man who can roll to the rim, rebound, and do the dirty work. Claxton lacks the girth to be an intimidator, but his athleticism will come in handy for the Nets when the superstars drive to the rim to create easy shots at the rim. Expect O’Neale and Claxton to be starters for most of the year or at least play significant minutes.
The Nets also have two elite shooters like Seth Curry and Patty Mills, guards who can space the floor and come off screens very well. Curry and Mills will be major contributors because floor spacing is the priority for teams in the modern NBA. Alongside Durant and Irving, the shooters should have a solid season making shots. They are getting paid quite well on team-friendly contracts, so Brooklyn should be happy with the number of shooting on the court. Not to mention, Cam Thomas is a young player with potential and he should have a bigger role off the bench in solid minutes.
The addition of T. J. Warren could be a very positive one because the swingman has the athleticism to play small-ball forward and can also score the ball well. At 6’8” and 220 lbs, Warren has the size to be another wing defender as well and will play off the stars very well. He missed the entire 2022 season with a left foot injury, so his returning to the league at a minimum contract is the best way for him to find his groove again with a title contender.
Jevon Carter - $3,925,000
Markieff Morris - $2,905,851
Day'Ron Sharpe - $2,109,480
Yuta Watanabe - $1,968,175
Edmond Sumner - $1,968,175
Kessler Edwards - $1,637,966
David Duke - $1,576,305
Alondes Williams - $508,891
The Nets bench players are all in team-friendly contracts and for good reason. Jevon Carter can step in and play solid minutes because he is a steady playmaker who plays hard and can make shots as well. Carter played a career-high 17.7 MPG last year and he should hover around that time again this season. He can play a role when Irving and Simmons are resting, so he will be a leader off the bench.
Markieff Morris was brought on to bring veteran leadership and some toughness because having an edge is never a bad thing in the NBA. Day’Ron Sharpe is a big young man at 6’11’ and 265 lbs, so he has the size to be an impact player in the paint once he matures. At 20 years old, Sharpe has time to develop and make use of the minutes he will be given to backup Nic Claxton. Edmond Sumner has played 4 years in the NBA so far, and he is a player that can make outside shots to play in garbage minutes as required.
Otherwise, the Nets’ deep end of the bench is filled with young players in Edwards, Duke, and rookie Alondes Williams alongside Japanese national Yuta Watanabe. With minimum contracts given out, these are players can be positive additions if they make shots and play hard when on the floor in limited spurts.
What The Nets Salary Cap Could Look Like Next Year And Going Forward
The Brooklyn Nets salary cap will take a $187,102,981 hit next year. They have over $115 million tied up to their three superstars, which makes sense considering how dominant they can be if healthy and motivated. Brooklyn is going all-in for the title, so they should have no problem going over the luxury tax if it means boosting the Nets’ status above the likes of the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers. Every team improved during the offseason and the Nets have to click on all cylinders to truly contend at the highest level.
The Nets barely made the playoffs, somehow, thanks to Kevin Durant’s brilliance. But in the playoffs, they were beaten down by the Boston Celtics in a 4-game sweep in the first round. Next year, they are tying up their money into the stars and the roster will likely remain as-is. But looking ahead to the 2024 season, there could be some massive changes. Most importantly, Kyrie Irving is off the books and he could be looking to join the Los Angeles Lakers if LeBron James is there. That is a massive sum of money off the books that the Nets can use to re-sign Kyrie or add in another star player.
Harris will still be on the books in 2024 for $19 million, so he is a player the Nets will need to move to maximize their flexibility. If they lose Kyrie, they will have a ton of space to bring back Seth Curry, who is off the books in 2024 as well. The Nets will probably see how the team plays in 2023 before deciding what to do going forward because if they contend and make the Eastern Conference Finals at least, Kyrie Irving could be re-signed to a max contract. Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons are on long-term deals extending to 2025 and beyond. In other words, the Nets will play the “wait and see” game because they are going all-in for 2023 and seeing how the stars gel.
How the Nets play will greatly shape the way the contracts look going past 2023 and into the foreseeable future. Obviously, Brooklyn wants to keep Kevin Durant for the long-term because his leaving would end the contending status of the franchise because a top-20 talent of all time does not grow on trees. This is a make-it-or-break-it season for the Brooklyn Nets and one that could determine the fate of the franchise and of the Eastern Conference as a whole.