Besides retaining Williams, King and the Nets have made plenty of other moves this summer. They've agreed to acquire All Star shooting guard Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks for five expiring contracts and a first round pick protected by the Houston Rockets. Some people believe it was a bad move because of his highly expensive contract, and that it also disallows the Nets from having the financial flexibility to sign Dwight Howard in free agency next summer. However, I don't think it was as horrid a move as some people suggest. Johnson is a consistent scorer who can get 20 points on almost any given night. He has long range, and can create his own shot whenever he has the ball in his hands. He's also a solid facilitator and decent defender. His size allows for him to post up on smaller guards and also to guard small forwards, in case the Nets wanted to play a small rotation. Johnson is the scorer the Nets needed, and brings instant offense to the table. The Nets also retained small forward Gerald Wallace in free agency. In a heavily scrutinized move at last season's trade deadline, King traded a lottery pick that was top-3 protected, Mehmet Okur, and Shawne Williams to Portland for Wallace. King backed up his trade, somewhat, when he reached a verbal commitment with Wallace for a four year, $40 million contract. After those two big moves, the Nets had verbally agreed to a contract with Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic for the full mid-level exception over three years. He is a stretch four standing at 6'9", but he weighs a nice 250 pounds for a guy his size. His defensive game is not the best, but he is a highly touted offensive player. He can shoot from any spot on the floor and also post up. He's also an efficient rebounder, and reminds me a bit of Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger. The Nets were also in dire need of toughness in the post, so in a sign-and-trade scenario, the Nets dealt a protected future second round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers for reserve big man Reggie Evans, who agreed to a three year, $5 million contract. These moves cannot be made official until July 11, but if they all are made official, the Nets look like a lock for the playoffs next year barring any significant injuries.
|Williams (left) and Johnson (right) would form one of the best back court duos|
in the NBA if successfully paired together in Brooklyn.
Now that the Nets have Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Gerald Wallace presumably locked up for at least the next four seasons, who will the Nets go after in free agency during the rest of the summer? Their first priority is to re-sign Brook Lopez. Although re-signing him would likely put the Nets over the luxury tax, Prokhorov and King know they need their center for the future. Lopez is one of the better offensive centers in the game, and might not garner a lot of attention or money in free agency due to his horrific ankle injuries last season that subdued him to playing in only five out of 66 games. The Nets would possibly be getting a bargain if they retained Lopez with a deal in which he earned $10 million annually. Retaining Lopez is a key so they have a post presence but he would also be a part of any trade that granted Dwight Howard his request to play in Brooklyn. Their second priority is to lock up Gerald Green. The electric small forward can sell tickets because of his amazing dunking abilities alone. Green was a very pleasant surprise for the Nets last year and is willing to take a pay cut to rejoin the roster, so I hope King retains him. He was a big part of the rotation and can score effectively off the bench, something the Nets will need.
|Is it possible that Ilyasova winds up with the|
Nets next season? Some analysts say yes.
The Brooklyn Nets have made some bold moves this summer, but there is still work that is yet to be done. Now with Deron Williams committing long-term, each domino will start to trickle down in effect. After a five year hiatus, the Nets are looking to return to the playoffs this upcoming season, and hopefully back to the NBA Finals, a place the franchise hasn't ventured to since the era of the Jason Kidd-Kenyon Martin-Richard Jefferson triumvirate. There is a lot of buzz surrounding the franchise right now, and I believe the opening game in Brooklyn will be something special and also a hint of things to come in the future. Stay tuned, the free agent frenzy has only just begun.