2014 Brooklyn Nets

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: 44-38)

2013-14 Season Summary:
After acquiring Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce last offseason, the Brooklyn Nets were expected to compete for the NBA Championship this past season. Instead, the Nets barely kept their heads above water and were bounced in the first round of the playoffs. Brook Lopez’s season-ending injury certainly factored into that disappointing finish, but so did the continuing decline of aging veterans, Garnett and Pierce.

Brooklyn has spent a ton of money the past couple of years to try and build a title contender but just haven’t gotten the job done. What will the Nets next step be this offseason?

2014-15 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Brook Lopez/*Andray Blatche

PF: Kevin Garnett/Mirza Teletovic/Mason Plumlee

SF: *Alan Anderson/*Andrei Kirilenko

SG: Joe Johnson/Marcus Thornton

PG: Deron Williams/Marquis Teague/^Jorge Gutierrez

NBA Free Agents:

SF-Paul Pierce (UFA)

PG-Shaun Livingston (UFA)

C-Jason Collins (UFA)

*SF-Alan Anderson (PO)

*SF-Andrei Kirilenko (PO)

*C-Andray Blatche (PO)

2014-15 Team Salary: Approximately $88.5 million

NBA Offseason Team Needs:

1. Swing for the fences again: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Garnett, Pierce; the Nets front office has been extremely aggressive in bringing in veteran talent to try and immediately build a title contender. It obviously hasn’t panned out as expected, but since the team is so massively over the cap, the only hope is to take another stab at it this offseason.

Nobody is touching Joe Johnson’s contract since he is still owed $48 million over the next two years (GULP!). However, the Nets should actively try to deal the expiring contracts of Garnett ($12 million) or Marcus Thornton ($8.7 million) in hopes of finding upgrades. Finding a suitor for Garnett will be difficult, but Thornton or even Mirza Teletovic’s expiring deal ($3.4 million) could be used to net Brooklyn another quality veteran.

2. Small Forward: With Pierce a free agent, and Kirilenko and Anderson holding player options on their deals, Brooklyn needs to solidify its small forward position. Unless Pierce is willing to take a massive pay cut, I cannot see him returning to the Nets. Anderson is due to an extension and could look elsewhere to find a bigger contract, while Kirilenko might be better off testing the market as well.

3. Backup Point Guard: With Shaun Livingston a free agent, the Nets need to either re-sign him or find a backup to Deron Williams since neither Marquis Teague or Jorge Gutierrez are real capable second-unit point guards. Brooklyn has to find a cheap option in free agency to fill this void, which is why bringing back Livingston seems to make the most sense.

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