Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Brooklyn Nets (Last Year: 49-33)
2012-13 Season Summary:
Even with the Brooklyn Nets being the NBA's most improved team this past season, there has already been some major moves made by the team since it was bounced from the first round of the playoffs. Head coach P.J. Carlesimo was not retained this offseason, and the franchise instead will turn to the recently retired, former Net Jason Kidd to take over. Jay-Z also had to sell his stake in the team as he tries his hand at being a NBA player agent.
It is really no surprise that Brooklyn was the NBA's most improved team this past season. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez were healthy for the entire year, while the acquisition of Joe Johnson provided the Nets with a very solid trio of star caliber players. Gerald Wallace was considered to be another key cog in the machine, but actually had his worst statistical season in nearly a decade as his opportunities diminished on the offensive end.
First-year Net Reggie Evans did all the dirty work down low, averaging 11.1 rebounds per game and replacing Kris Humphries as the team's starting power forward. Humphries, fresh off a 2-year, $24-million extension was a massive disappointment for Brooklyn. The Nets did however find a terrific value in free agent Andray Blatche who added some needed offensive punch off the bench.
Outside of Blatche, the bench was rather ineffective. Like Wallace, second-year pro MarShon Brooks saw his minutes and productivity dip due to the acquisition of Johnson. From there, Brooklyn relied on journeymen veterans like C.J. Watson, Keith Bogans, and even Jerry Stackhouse to round out their rotation.
2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Brook Lopez/Andray Blatche/Mason Plumlee
PF: Kevin Garnett/Reggie Evans/Mirza Teletovic
SF: Gerald Wallace/Tornike Shengelia
SG: Joe Johnson/Jason Terry
PG: Deron Williams/Tyshawn Taylor
NBA Offseason Transactions:
The Nets acquire PF-Kevin Garnett, SF-Paul Pierce, and SG-Jason Terry from the Celtics for SF-Gerald Wallace, PF-Kris Humphries, SG-MarShon Brooks, SF-Kris Joseph, SG-Keith Bogans, first-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018, and the right to swap first-round picks in 2017.
The Nets re-sign PF-Andray Blatche to a 1-year, $1.4 million deal.
NBA Free Agents:
SF-Jerry Stackhouse (UFA)
2013-14 Team Salary: Approximately $84.5 million
NBA Offseason Team Needs:
The Nets' bench was marginal at best last season and their best reserve, Andray Blatche is a free agent this summer. If he is not re-signed, then Brooklyn needs to find another backup big capable of scoring on the low block. Adding another wing threat, ideally someone who can consistently knock down outside shots, should also be a priority so that Brooklyn won't need to consider bringing back the ageless Stackhouse or Bogans.
2. Shop Humphries:
Since the Nets will have zero cap flexibility until the 2016-17 season, there are three ways to improve their roster; through the 2013 NBA Draft, their midlevel exception, or by trade. The easiest way for Brooklyn to fill team need No. 1 is by accomplishing team need No. 2. Humphries is due $12 million and in the final year of his contract, so he could be attractive to a team looking to unload some salary. If the Nets were able to deal the former Mr. Kim Kardashian and perhaps a first-round pick, they could get a couple of pieces to upgrade their bench.
3. No Kidding Around:
Throughout his career, Jason Kidd has been a terrific leader and well respected by the players in the league, but how will that transition to his coaching style? Kidd will likely be a player's coach, which is important, but must also build a level of authority to make tough decisions and get the Nets to buy into his coaching if the team is going to be a true contender in the East.
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