The Sean Marks era began in earnest Saturday afternoon as the new Nets general manager severed ties with Andrea Bargnani. The team requested waivers on the big man in a move that likely will end in a buyout.
ESPN reported early Saturday that Bargnani’s camp was in talks with the team to negotiate the buyout, and Bargnani wasn’t at practice that morning, with the Nets citing personal reasons. He also didn’t play against his former team, the Knicks, on Friday night, citing illness.
The move will open up a roster spot for the Nets, who have stressed their desire to try out their young talent, and also means that Bargnani might get picked up by another team. Any player waived before March 1 is playoff-eligible.
Still, it’s hardly a guarantee that Bargnani will find a home in the United States. The 30-year-old, who took less money to sign a two-year deal with the Nets last summer, was plagued by injuries the previous four seasons, never playing more than 42 games in that span. He played in 46 with the Nets this season but struggled to protect the rim and was averaging 6.6 points and 2.1 rebounds in 13.8 minutes.
What’s more, his playing time rapidly diminished in recent days. He didn’t play in the Nets’ last three games and played only sparingly before that.
Bargnani, who signed with the Nets for the veteran minimum, was owed $1.36 million this season with a player option for next season, when he was due $1.55 million.
Saturday’s move will be an end to a tumultuous three years in New York. The Knicks traded for Bargnani in 2013, costing them their first-round draft pick in the 2016 draft, and the Nets unsuccessfully attempted to shop him for a second-round pick before this year’s trade deadline, according to multiple reports.