Are Bruce Brown’s Two-Way Abilities Worth His Supposed Price?

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The San Antonio Spurs will have a lot of money to spend this offseason, and there will be plenty of talent in the league to consider.

While I’ve already rated the best free agents available this summer, it’s time to start looking at more realistic candidates: role players. That term certainly applies to Bruce Brown of the Brooklyn Nets, who is coming off one of the best seasons of his four-year career.

Brown has shot an impressive 40.4% from beyond the arc this season – albeit with a low volume of 1.3 attempts per game (38 of 94). In 72 games, he averaged 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 24.6 minutes per game. He also hit season highs in steals (77) and blocks (52) – both of which would put him 2nd for Spurs in the 2021-22 season.

Where Brown really shines is in his versatility. As someone who can do a bit of everything on both sides and defend multiple positions, he’s the kind of guy who can go a long way as a utility tool. The Spurs saw that firsthand last season when he lit them for 23 points, three boards and three steals on 10 of 13 shooting from the field in a Nets win at San Antonio.

SI’s Brett Siegel looked at what Brown’s pending unrestricted free agency might look like last month, assessing how much he could command this offseason. He’s coming off a one-year qualifying offer of $4.7 million, and Siegel thinks he’ll likely see a substantial increase from that number.

“The maximum Bruce Brown can make this offseason is $176.9 million over five years,” says Siegel, “but it’s unlikely that any team, including the Nets, would want to make him a player under maximum contract.”

That’s obviously true, as Brown is far from a $35 million per season player. Still, Brooklyn has the best chance of holding him back since they can go over the top to offer him something he’s happy with.

“A three-to-four-year contract worth around $14-18 million per year is definitely on the line this offseason for Brown, especially when you compare his numbers and value to other players in the league. in this range of annual average value,” says Siegel.

San Antonio Spurs

There is an easy way to gauge this as Spurs recently offered Derrick White a contract similar to Brown’s rumored next. He signed a four-year, $70 million contract in 2020, averaging $17.5 million per season. It’s safe to say that White has been a decently more productive player in his career than Brown so far, but he was actually posting similar numbers to Bruce when he got that extension.

But White’s argument also tells me that it wouldn’t really make sense for San Antonio to pay Brown that amount of money. After all, Spurs just left Derrick, another 6-4 two-way talent, to develop their young core. Why would they come back and sign a similar player for almost the same amount?

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If, for whatever reason, Bruce wanted to go to San Antonio on a cheaper deal than expected, there’s no reason Spurs wouldn’t consider it an option. As he will only be 26 next season, I don’t really see that happening.

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