How to Lose Players and Alienate People: Brooklyn Nets Edition

Things have not been going well in Brooklyn. In fact, that’s a disservice to the phrase “not been going well”. It has been straight up abysmal. Appalling. Disgraceful. Incompetent. Embarrassing.

“James, I’ve literally been living under a rock, like Patrick on SpongeBob, but surely you must be over exaggerating…”

With a defensive rating of 109.6, the Brooklyn Nets currently rank 29th (yes, there are only 30 teams) in the NBA. Their offense is only a smidgen better, coming in with a rating of 103.9, good for 20th in the league. Meanwhile, they are only averaging 92.3 possessions per 48, putting them in the bottom five in pace.

“Sure, things have been rough. But is our future really that bleak?”

The Brooklyn Nets’ payroll tops the entire NBA at a breath-taking $103,105,302. The only contract of note coming off the books for next season is Paul Pierce’s $15,000,000+, but even still the Net’s will remain roughly $30,000,000 over the current salary cap. In fact, the first year the Nets are projected to be under the cap is 2016, when all but Deron Williams and Mason Plumlee’s contracts will be expired. That’s three years from now. Not good.

“Okay… Well, then you rebuild. Next year’s draft is looking pretty good.”

No. Look at this image from SBNation. Just look at it.

And that’s just the first round. The Nets don’t have a second round pick of their own until 2018 either!

“Wow… Uh… At least Brook Lopez is pretty good?”


Sorry. Things got pretty dark there for a minute.

Let me be clear, I’m not here to complain. I’m an idea man, and as an enterprising young man in this crazy world of basketball blogging, I’ve got a few thoughts on how the Nets could right this sinking ship. What’s that, you say? Well, to put it simply…

Blow it up. Blow the whole damned thing up. Turn around, run away, and never look back.

To do that, I’ve devised four trades through our beloved Trade Machine that will all help the Nets in various ways.

Trade #1

The thought process here is rather simple. The Brooklyn Nets need a new interior threat in Brook Lopez’s absence. The Memphis Grizzlies need a scorer. Ipso facto, trade Paul Pierce for Zach Randolph and we all go home happy. Plus, seeing as Paul Pierce is on an expiring deal, Billy King might be able to finagle a draft pick for the Nets before the next Presidential election.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle in this trade is the fact that it will separate Pierce from his BFF Kevin Garnet. But fear not! I address that a little later…

Trade #2

This trade was actually floated around when the Nets reached out to Daryl Morey during the #SadOmer sweepstakes. It’s no secret that Houston’s front office is desperate to get rid of Asik, while also being less than pleased with Jeremy Lin’s performances since signing him for three years at $25 million. By trading these two players to the Nets (plus, one would assume, a protected, future first rounder?), the Rockets get their “Big Three” with Williams, James Harden and Dwight Howard. This would quickly promote them to front runners in the quest to dethrone Miami’s Heat.

For Brooklyn, this deal works in multiple ways. For one, they get a starting caliber center to step in during Brook Lopez’s prolonged absence. Also, Asik’s style doesn’t clash with Lopez, meaning there’s a chance you could pair the two together next season. With Jeremy Lin, the Net’s get a bonafied starting point guard with playoff experience, who knows the added pressure of leading a team in New York. Off the court, the marketing machine in Brooklyn gets their most merchandisable player in team history. Just think of all the jersey and t-shirt sales!

Trade #3

Screen Shot 2013-12-26 at 1.19.42 PM

Alright, now we’re ready to have some fun. With Paul Pierce gone, the Nets need another wing player (especially considering Andre Kirilenko’s disappearance). The Dallas Mavericks need… Jason Terry back? Alan Anderson? Hey, Mason Plumlee’s… young?

Reality aside, I do like Shawn Marion as a stop-gap for the rest of this season. He’s a three-and-D guy that can still contribute to an otherwise decent core. And even if he can’t, he’s gone after this season, clearing $9 million off the books. To make this trade happen, the Nets would probably have to add their 2048 First Round pick, which could ruin their chances at getting Z’ork Cl-ingson (I assume that’s what people’s names will look like by then).

Trade #4

Even Kevin “Anything is Possible!!!” Garnett would scoff at this Franken-trade, but whatever. Let’s go down the rabbit hole.

My thought process began with the previously rumored move of Kyle Lowry to Brooklyn in exchange for Mirza Teletovic, Tyshawn Taylor and the right’s to Bojan Bogdanović. After that it gets a bit hazy. Toronto still gets the stretch-four Teletovic and Taylor, as well as Matt Barnes and Byron Mullens from the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nets still get Kyle Lowry, in addition to Jared Dudley, Willie Green and Ryan Hollins. Meanwhile, the Clippers get Doc River’s favorite son (sorry, Austin) Kevin Garnett, plus the rights to the Croatian Crusader, Bogdonović.

The Nets pull the trigger here for bench depth, expiring contracts, and saving money. They also get rid of Garnett, who is sure to be extra cranky after losing Paul Pierce. The Clippers get Garnett’s leadership and fumes off the bench, plus a really good Eurostach in Bogdonović. The Raptors… Well, look at that prediction of -7 wins. That’s exactly what they’re looking for right now.

Let’s see where this leaves the Nets.

NETS Starters 2nd Unit 3rd Unit
PG Jeremy Lin Kyle Lowery Shaun Livingston
SG Joe Johnson Willie Green Tornike Shengelia
SF Shawn Merion Andre Kirilenko Jared Dudley
PF Zach Randolph Andray Blatche Reggie Evans
C Omer Asik Ryan Hollins Brook Lopez*

Not only does that roster look pretty damn good, it also saves Mikhail Prokhorov some money. With these four trades, the Nets would shave approximately $1,000,000 off of their payroll. While this is somewhat inconsequential, what isn’t is the fact that they would be gaining three expiring contracts, while offloading six contracts with two or more years remaining. Add to that the draft picks Billy King should be able to negotiate from Houston and Memphis, and suddenly the Nets have a glimmer of hope to do something, anything before 2016.

I don’t mean toot my own horn, but *beep beep*. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I can only assume I will be fielding job offer’s from various NBA front offices for the rest of the day.

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