2012 NBA Off Season Preview: Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets

2011-2012 Record: 22-44, 5th in Atlantic.
Stat Leaders: Deron Williams, 21.0 ppg, 8.8 apg. Kris Humphries, 11.0 rpg. Kris Humphries, 1.2 bpg.

Depth Chart

C - Johan Petro
PF - Jordan Williams
SF - Gerald Wallace (PO), Damion James (TO)
SG - MarShon Brooks, Anthony Morrow
PG - Deron Williams (PO), Jordan Farmar (PO)

Restricted Free Agents: C Brook Lopez
Unrestricted Free Agents: F Kris Humphries, G DeShawn Stevenson, G Sundiata Gaines, GF Gerald Green, G Armon Johnson, FC Shelden Williams

The Nets won't be the best, but they will probably be
the coolest NBA team in 2012-2013.
The Good: "Hello Brooklyn". The Nets will make the move to BK with some uniforms and logos that are sure to generate a lot of revenue. On the court though, we have no idea what will be "good" right now. As far as the guys still under contract, Deron Williams had another fantastic season, dropping 21 points and 9 rebounds per night. If he chooses to stay in Brooklyn, he will have a nice back court running mate in rookie MarShoon Brooks. He was a late riser during the draft process last year, and turned in a very good rookie season, showing that he has the potential to be a 17-20 point per game scorer in the NBA. Say what you want to say about the Gerald Wallace trade (oh believe me, I will later) but he provided much needed toughness and defense for the Nets.

The Bad: The Nets were never really able to make up for the loss of Brook Lopez, using guys like Johan Petro, Shelden Williams and Mehmet Okur. Lopez came back to play in five games, providing his usual strong scoring and absolutely pathetic rebounding abilities. The Nets really struggled to play defense, especially on the perimeter, and will look to correct that problem in the off season. Overall, the Nets just do not have the talent to compete nightly at the NBA level.

Key Free Agents: The entire team basically. Brook Lopez will be a restricted free agent. Even though his indifference about rebounding and playing defense is absolutely maddening, he is one of the most gifted offensive big men in the NBA. The team will probably resign him with dreams of him playing next to Dwight Howard. Gerald Wallace and Deron Williams could both opt out, and probably will. Williams obviously is a must resign. Wallace, they will probably go ahead and resign him too just to justify that absolutely awful trade they made with the Blazers. Kris Humphries had his second straight season averaging a double double but could be the odd man out if the Nets want to strike it big in free agency. However, there is no certainty they will land a Dwight Howard, so they might look to resign him. Finally, Gerald Green rose from the NBA graveyard to have a very productive season for the Nets. They would probably like to bring him back as the first wing player off the bench.

Projected Cap Space: $15,685,348. If Wallace and Williams opt out and the team declines the option on Damion James, this cap space will grow to $44,294,525. Needless to say, they will have the space to add anyone they want. The question is, will someone come to Brooklyn, when no one would come to New Jersey?

Amnesty Possibilities: None. The Nets used their one time amnesty clause to rid themselves of the terrible Travis Outlaw signing after only one year.

Free Agent Possibilities: Dwight Howard is not a free agent, but he would be the ultimate prize for the Nets. Brooklyn could conceivablyoffer Lopez, Jordan Williams and future picks for Howard and a bad contract like Hedo Turkoglu's. If you are the Magic, do you pass that up, knowing Howard's trade value will only go lower and lower? For now, I will focus on some free agents that New Jersey might like. Andrei Kirilenko's name has come up quite a bit, and he could be a cheaper replacement if the Nets do the wise thing and let Gerald Wallace walk. They would get a similar player at about half the cost. This is not a good year to dish out a maximum contract, as there is no LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony available this year. The Nets could try to sign a couple hard nosed, veterans to one year deals like Kevin Garnett and Marcus Camby. Both of those guys still have something left in the tank, and along with Kirilenko would improve New Jersey's defense greatly. But those guys are just stopgap options. The teams priority is resigning Deron Williams and figuring out a creative way to add a second superstar.

Draft Possibilities: Thanks to one of the worst and most baffling trades in NBA history, the Nets will not have a pick unless they get lucky enough to land in the top three. My top three options for the Nets are 1. Anthony Davis. 2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. 3. Thomas Robinson. Davis, obviously, would be a godsend for the franchise and a good compliment to Brook Lopez. Both players would be athletic matchup nightmares on offense, and Davis gives the Nets rebounding and shot blocking that Lopez does not. If the team is still hell bent on adding an established superstar, they could have their pick of Dwight Howard and then some if they dangle Davis. Kidd-Gilchrist would have an opening at small forward waiting for him instantly, and would be a much younger version of Gerald Wallace. I can't think of a better team fit for MKG then the Nets.

Rebuilding, Contending or Status Quo?: It is hard to say what the Nets are doing. They would like to resign all of their key free agents: Lopez, Williams, Wallace, Humphries and Green. I would let Wallace walk and use that cap space to sign a couple veterans to go along with Williams and Lopez. Like two years ago, ownership will have a blank check to sign the best of the best out there. The free agent cupboard is pretty bare, so the Nets will have to be creative if they want to provide Brooklyn with a winner right away.

All logos courtesy of http://www.sportslogos.net/

Jonathan Carrano

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