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Patty Mills opts out of Nets contract

Patty Mills with Brooklyn Nets

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 12: Patty Mills #8 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles during the first half of the Eastern Conference 2022 Play-In Tournament against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center on April 12, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

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The Nets’ best guard – Kyrie Irving – opted in for $36,934,550.

The Nets’ most-reliable guard – Patty Mills – is declining his $6,184,500 player option.

Brian Lewis of the New York Post:

Mills was highly coveted by practically every contender when Brooklyn lured him with its taxpayer mid-level exception last summer. But the Nets were a historic disappointment and remain embroiled in drama.

The 33-year-old could find more-stable situations.

Of course, Brooklyn still has a championship upside with Kevin Durant and Irving (and, I guess, Ben Simmons). Mills could continue to help as a backup scoring guard (especially if he doesn’t have to start as often as he did last year, when Irving missed most of the season due to New York City’s vaccine mandate/Irving’s decision not to get vaccinated).

Not only does opting out allow Mills to explore his options, he could get a raise wherever he goes. The taxpayer mid-level exception that most contenders could offer projects to be higher than his player-option salary would’ve been.

The Nets could pay even more.

They could use the Non-Bird Exception to re-sign Mills for a starting salary up to $7,068,000 and use their taxpayer mid-level exception on another player to upgrade the roster. But after losing major money last offseason, Brooklyn ownership might not authorize such big spending.

Mills is merely a supporting player on this star-studded team. But whether he wants to stay could be an indicator of the Nets’ organizational health.