2016 NBA Off Season Preview: Brooklyn Nets


Brooklyn Nets

2015-2016 Record: 21-61
Projected Maximum Cap Space: $38,636,058.00

Players under contract for 2016-2017

C Brook Lopez ($21,165,675)
PF Thaddeus Young ($12,078,652)
SG Bojan Bogdanovic ($3,573,020)
SF Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($1,395,600)
PF Chris McCullough ($1,191,480)
SG Sean Kilpatrick ($980,431)

Player Options

SG Wayne Ellington ($1,476,500)
PG Shane Larkin ($1,500,000)
PF Thomas Robinson ($1,050,961)

Team Options

PG Jarrett Jack ($6,300,000)

Unrestricted Free Agents

SG/SF Sergey Karasev
PF/C Andrea Bargnani
PG Donald Sloan
PF/C Henry Sims


2015-2016 Recap

Mikhail Prokhorov took ownership of the Nets after a pathetic 12-70 campaign in 2010. He moved the team to Brooklyn, rebranded the jerseys and logo, and mortgaged the future for short team success. After a 49 win campaign, things predictably backfired, and the Nets bottomed out with 21 wins. Injuries were an issue, but the fact is Brooklyn lacks talent, and youth to develop into rotation pieces.

Players Under Contract

This team will go as far as highly paid big men Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young will take them. Without their first round draft picks for 2016 through 2018, (thanks to the aforementioned brilliant moves to win 49 games that one year) Brooklyn was forced to resign both players to large contracts last year. Lopez had perhaps his best season, averaging over 20 points and even providing decent rebounding numbers. Young is what he is, a fourth or fifth option on a good team.

The rest of the roster is pretty bare, though there are a trio of youngsters that are worth keeping an eye on. Brooklyn managed to have two first round picks on the roster in Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris McCullough. Both players missed the majority of the season with injury, but will be counted on to develop into strong defenders and hustle players.

Sean Kilpatrick, who has a few ten day contracts on his resume, was a big time surprise as a legit scorer and shooter, averaging 13 points per game during his 24 appearances. He was signed to a two year deal and will be in the mix for a starting job in 2016.

Bojan Bogdanovic is an efficient scorer who will play big minutes again, especially with Joe Johnson out of the picture.

Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin and Thomas Robinson are all mediocre backups with vesting player options. Of the three, Shane Larkin was probably the most important, especially with the health concerns of Jarrett Jack.

Speaking of Jack, he was having perhaps his finest statistical season before a serious injury derailed him for the season. The point guard market is bare, so the Nets might be forced to pick up his team option.

Free Agents

The Nets are not losing any free agents of significance. Of the four, Donald Slaon was the only player to produce, and could be brought back to provide back court depth.

Free Agent Targets

As bad as the Nets have handled the roster in recent seasons, one positive is they are in very good shape cap wise. Of course, no real free agent is going to consider the sinking ship known as the Brooklyn Nets.

Brooklyn may opt to go after veterans on a one or two year deal. Without their own first round pick until 2019, the Nets have little incentive to lose games, so they could sign a couple starters and hope to fight for a playoff spot.

Rajon Rondo had a good season, but I do not think he is a player any team will invest four or five years in. The Nets could snatch him up for two years and $24 million or so.

In desparate need of back court scoring, the Nets could offer the same short deal to Eric Gordon, who will definitely have to settle for a one or two year contract as he looks to rebuild his value.

That would give Brooklyn a starting five of Rondo, Gordon, Hollis-Jefferson, Young and Lopez. Possibly good enough to win 35-40 games and squeak into the playoffs.

Trade Proposal

Nets trade G Jarrett Jack, G Wayne Ellington, G Shane Larkin to Rockets for GF Corey Brewer, F Sam Dekker, F Montrezl Harrell and 2016 2nd round pick

The Nets could probably receive decent value for Brook Lopez, but I cannot see the team intentionally losing games, when the result would be a higher pick for the division rival Celtics.

In this scenario, Brooklyn gives up a few short term contracts (all three are options), for a bad contract in Corey Brewer and two young players. Neither Sam Dekker or Montrezl Harrell showed much for the Rockets as rookies, but this will add more players for Brooklyn to hopefully develop into useful contributors.

NBA Draft

Not only do the Nets not own their own pick in 2016 or 2018, but the Celtics have the right to swap picks in 2017. That could be three straight lottery selections that go to the Celtics. All for the right to employ washed up Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

To make matters worse, Brooklyn does not own their second round pick, meaning the team will have to get creative if they want to add youth to the roster.

In Summary

The horse has been beaten to a bloody pulp, but the fact is Brooklyn has few long term assets, so the best course of action will be to sign free agents and hope to win as many games as possible. Not only are Kevin Durant and LeBron James pipe dreams, but so are guys like Al Horford, Nicolas Batum and Mike Conley.

Brooklyn's best bet will be to gamble on a couple of players looking to rebuild their value and hope to get lucky in landing some young players to build around.

Welcome to NBA purgatory, Nets fans.

Jonathan Carrano

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