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Posted on: June 26, 2009 5:30 am
Edited on: June 26, 2009 5:32 am
 

Off-Season

Well, I don't know if the Nets can even do anything during the off-season, so this blog entry may be pointless. The reason being, going off my knowledge, the Nets already have their 15 man roster set.

As of now, this is my depth chart:

Point guard- Devin Harris, Rafer Alston, Keyon Dooling
Shooting Guard- Courtney Lee, CDR
Small Fordward- Terrence Williams, Bobby Simmons, Jarvis Hayes, Trenton Hassell
Power Forward- Yi, Najera, Sean Williams
Center- Brook Lopez, Tony Battie, Josh Boone

According to my math that's 15. Hollinger said the Nets have 14 players, I don't know who he thinks won't be back. The guys who are possibilities for not returning are:

Hassell- Player Option- There's no way he's making close to $4.35 million in this market elsewhere, he's staying.
Hayes- Team Option- Most likely to be gone. He's scheduled to make $2 million next season. I'm not sure if this option is still available though. I think he'll be back.
Sean Williams- Team Option. This goes off what I read during the season. There's a morality clause in his contract that allows the Nets to cut him due to off-court events like throwing a cash register.

From a competitive stand point, this team is awful as is. A rookie, a couple of sophomores, a third year guy in Yi and then Harris will comprise the Nets starting lineup. Just sad. Granted their all young and have a lot of potential, but they won't win many games next season. Another sad aspect is that their starting roster's salary will make $16 million, $7.7 of which comes from Devin Harris. Meanwhile, Bobby Simmons and Tony Battie will make the same amount. Just awful.

In total, the Nets' salary will be around $55 million, which is below their $62 million salary total from last season, 4th lowest in the league. While many teams will also be lower this year compared to last season, I can't imagine the Nets not being in the top five for lowest team salary. Shows how much they want to invest in their fans.

Anyway, here are the Nets' expiring contracts:

Bobby Simmons- $10.56 million
Tony Battie- $6.2 million
Rafer Alston- $5.25 million
Trenton Hassell- $4.35 million
Jarvis Hayes- $2.06 million
Josh Boone- $2.06 million
Sean Williams- $1.63 million- unless he magically learns how to play basketball and the Nets pick up their team option
CDR-$.74 million

That's eight players and close to $33 million off the books, plenty of money to throw at potential free agents. I do think the Nets will make a trade or two during the season, probably involving Alston and maybe Bobby Simmons who will probably play well this season like he did last time he was in a contract year. I can definitely see the Nets buying out Battie, possibly Simmons, Alston, and Hassell.

So like I said earlier, I don't know if the Nets can do anything at this point because their roster is literally full. I think sign-and-trades involving Carlos Boozer or Shawn Marion are out the window because the Nets now don't have anything of value to give back. So unless I find out that either Sean Williams (I pray every night that he gets traded or released), Jarvis Hayes, or Trenton Hassell(him too) are gone, I'm going to say that, there is no next phase and I made this post mainly to vent my frustrations and to look at next year's team.

If the Nets did have an empty roster spot, I would look at Jamario Moon, Flip Murray, Luther Head, Kareem Rush, and Matt Barnes. All of those guys would be relatively cheap, and could play multiple positions. I don't think the Nets could spend more than $2 million anyway, so we can't expect much else out of them.



Posted on: May 23, 2009 7:07 am
 

The Draft

As someone who was there when the Nets were awful (pre-Kenyon Martin), I hate seeing them on their current path. Sure, Devin Harris and Brook Lopez have given fans that ray of hope that has kept them interested in the team, but they won't be enough, even when they hit their prime. Vince Carter was the Nets' veteran leader, and to his credit, a good trooper last season. But beyond those three, is a full roster of guys who wouldn't touch the floor if they were on a team like the Lakers, Nuggets, Magic, or Cavaliers

So what are my hopes and dreams for the Nets? Well, lets start with the draft since that comes first.

As of now, the Nets are slated for the 11th pick and some "experts" have the Nets choosing guys like James Johnson, Earl Clark, or Johnny Flynn. If I HAD to pick with the 11th pick, and all three of those guys were available, I'd probably take Clark. Clark is a Jersey native who is more of a SF, and I'd rather take the SF being that Bobby Simmons, Trenton Hassell, and Jarvis Hayes will all be free agents after next season, leaving them with no SF depth on the roster. Meanwhile, Josh Boone, Yi Jianlian, Sean Williams, Ryan Anderson, and Eduardo Najera could all be back after next year. Adding a guy like James Johnson would just add to their already jammed front-court and Clark averaged more rebounds per game than Johnson last season anyway. Flynn would be insurance for Harris who is proving to be unreliable to play a full 82 game season. I like that idea, but Keyon Dooling proved to be a decent back-up point guard, and I'd rather trade down and get a guy like Ty Lawson, or Darren Collison than use the #11 on Flynn.

So what would I do? If I were Kiki/Thorn, I'd stay away from that 11th pick. With the exception of Andris Biedrins, the 11th spot hasn't produced a difference maker, and the Nets already have a full roster of role players. Like I said earlier, outside of Carter/Harris/Lopez, and maybe Dooling, no one else on the Nets' roster would touch the floor for a contender and the last thing the Nets need is another role player.

What they need is a guy who deserves to be in the starting roster, and they have several options.

First option, trade the pick to move up in the draft. Blake Griffin is a guy who can be that impact player within the next couple seasons. I know I contradicted myself just now because Griffin is a PF and I already said that the Nets have too many big men, but in order to move up in the draft, the Nets would have to include at least one big man in their package. Josh Boone, Sean Williams, and Ryan Anderson are all options. To move up, the Nets would need to offer a very nice package to make it worth it for the Clippers to trade down, but the Nets have two picks in next year's draft to go along with this year's 11th pick, a future pick from the Warriors from the Marcus Williams trade, and a bunch of role players that the Clippers desperately need.

If any team is willing to trade the #1 pick in this year's draft, it's the Clippers because they are already have approximately $34 million in salaries due to their big men Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman, and Zach Randolph. Zach Randolph is too slow to play SF and despite the rumors that they'll be able to trade him, I think that option is nearly impossible. I went down the line of every team, and I can't find a team with the cap, or real need for Randolph and his $16 million contract next season ($17.33 million in 2010-2011). Unfortunately for the Clippers, Isiah Thomas is now coaching college basketball so there isn't an executive dumb enough to make that trade. Then you have to consider that with guys like Camby, Kaman, and Baron Davis, this team has the talent to make a run in the playoffs now, if they can stay healthy. So why have a set back adding Griffin to the roster? They are already inexperienced at SG with Eric Gordon and at SF with Al Thornton. They need a guy like Keyon Dooling to come off the bench, and a couple more solid bench players, because as of now their bench comprises of Ricky Davis, Mardy Collins, DeAndre Jordan, and Mike Taylor. In my opinion, drafting Blake Griffin doesn't make sense for the Clippers right now.

If the Nets can't trade up and get Griffin, I would then want them to trade down. After Griffin, with the exception of Thabeet and Hill, the best guys on the board are guards and I wouldn't mortgage the Nets' future on guys like Thabeet or Hill. Like I said earlier, I would trade down to the early 20's and pick up a guy like Lawson or Collison, someone who could slot in as a true back-up point guard or at worst be the #3 PG on the depth chart. I'm sick of hearing that their #3 PG is Trenton Hassell.

The final option would be to trade out of the draft for a guy like Thabo Sefolosha. He may not be a household name, but he's a SG/SF that can do a little of everything, including playing exceptional defense. For the fantasy sports lovers, he can fill a box score if he gets playing time (he averaged 8.5 ppg, 5.2 rebs, 2 asts, 1.7 stls, 1.1 blks, and shot decent percentages with OKC).

Another option would be to trade for a guy like Josh Howard from the Mavericks. Yes, he's injury prone and has a questionable attitude, but his ability and contract would fit perfectly for the Nets. When healthy, he's a great SF, and could be a great player for the Nets. Contractually, he has a team option after next season, so if they think they can get a superstar player like a Lebron, they can opt out of his contract, if not, they can retain him and go after a guy like Carmello Anthony in 2011. Either way, a starting lineup of Harris, Carter, Howard, and Lopez is a major upgrade over last season's lineup.

My fear for the Nets is that they have the same season as they did in the last. Because 13 out of the 15 guys on their previous roster are returning, they have to make those two vacant spots count. Because of the economy, I don't see them improving via free agency, so a sign-and-trade is the Nets' only option to get a superstar player. They can trade a guy like Bobby Simmons and his enormous contract for Howard, or Shawn Marion, or whoever, but I'll leave that discussion for a future blog. If they do keep their 11th pick and draft a guy like James Johnson and sign a mediocre role player to the 15th spot, this Nets team will be no different, if anything worse than last year's team because teams like the Wizards and Bucks will be substantially better if their superstars can stay healthy.


Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
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