It's been a stressful day for Nets fans, with the majority of the major free agents now having committed and slim pickings remaining for the Nets and their now $32 milion of cap space. One thing we need to keep in mind is that throughout this process LeBron and his people have been very tight lipped about his decision making process, thus any time we have seen reports of certain teams being the favorite to land him, it has been purely speculation. No one knows what he is thinking, no one knows his choice, and anyone who claims to is making a baseless claim. For the past couple weeks everyone from the most hardcore NBA fan to the casual sports fan has been fed endless information regarding the possibilities and pros and cons of potential landing spots for free agents and LeBron in particular. Outside of the free agency moves that have been made, little has changed in reality. Let's reevaluate where we stand with the moves that are expected to be finalized tomorrow being the first day that free agents can officially sign with their respective teams.
*room for one max free agent
*Tom Tibodeau (defensive minded, no prior coaching experience)
*Jerry Reinsdorf, owner net worth: $280 million
*United Center (seating capacity: 20,917 opened: 1994) ESPN Ultimate Standings stadium experience: 51
PROS: Coming off a playoff birth, top ten player in Rose and high efficiency rebounder in Noah, the ability to sign LeBron to a max contract, Carlos Boozer gives them a low post scoring threat, Rose, James, Deng, Boozer, Noah starting five.
CONS: "MJ's shadow", playing with a perimeter star player like Rose could be an issue as both players need the ball in their hands in order to be successful thus one player would have to deffer to the other- likely Rose, Inexperienced head coach, owner has been mentioned as "cheap" in the past, Rose reportedly "preferred" Joe Johnson according to an earlier report, Noah and Rose are on rookie contracts and Rose will likely earn a max deal-will Reinsdorf be willing to pay?
New York (29-53)-
*room for one max free agent
*Mike D'Antoni (eight years of head coaching experience, offensive minded, fast paced style, .544 career winning percentage, 26-25 career playoff record)
*James Dolan, owner net worth: $425 million
*Madison Square Garden (seating capacity: 19,763 opened: 1968) ESPN Ultimate Standings stadium experience: 79
PROS: Madison Square Garden is considered "the world's greatest arena", Amare Stoudemire could pair up with LeBron to form a nice tandem of max contract players, NYC spotlight will help the LeBron brand expand, Knicks management claims they can make LeBron a billion dollar athlete and outlined how New York would allow for that as such, chance to turn around a struggling franchise, Eddy Curry's $11+ million contract is a valuable trade chip.
CONS: Possibly the weakest supporting cast as constituted, D'Antoni is not a defensive-minded coach and high-tempo offensive teams have historically not fared well in the postseason, Likely will have no significant rookie contributions (38th and 39th pick in the draft, draft grades were very poor), Amare has is expected to require knee surgery again estimated by medical professionals at around age 30 or 31, not much in the way of draft picks in the coming years (this year's first round pick went to Utah as part of a previous trade, next year's first belongs to Houston should they chose they wish to swap picks), signing LeBron at the max would eat up the remainder of their cap space thus leaving few assets to fortify supporting cast.
*room for one max free agent
*Erik Spoelstra (two years of head coaching experience, .549 career winning percentage, 4-8 career playoff record)
*Mikey Arison, owner net worth: $5 billion
*American Airlines Arena (seating capacity: 19,500 opened: 1999) ESPN Ultimate Standings stadium experience: 62
PROS: Coming of a playoff berth, joining Miami would give LeBron the oppurtunity to team with Olympic teammates and fellow superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Miami becomes immediate championship contenders forming a dynamic new "big three", presence of Pat Riley-NBA legend who could potentially return to the bench, Miami has tried to sell Florida not having a state income tax as a positive (realGM reported total savings would amount to around $1 million for the contract's duration, thus rather insignificant), Mikey Arison is very wealthy and has proven to be willing to spend. Reports state that Miami hopes to retain free agent Udonis Haslem.
CONS: Very weak, borderline non-existent supporting cast thus would likely rely on minimum salary veterans to fill out their roster, winning a title with Wade and Bosh would "diminish LeBron brand", another situation where LeBron would be sharing the ball with another perimeter star in Wade which could certainly be problematic, Wade's town- he has won a ring there already and is their guy so LeBron coming to Miami would be similar to A-Rod joining the Yankees in that yes, A-Rod is better overall than Jeter yet Jeter is and always will be much more beloved by Yankee fans largely as a result of the championships he brought to the team.
*no cap room
*Byron Scott (ten years of head coaching experience, .498 career winning percentage, 33-24 career playoff record, 12 year NBA playing career, 3 NBA championships as a player)
*Dan Gilbert, owner net worth: $1.1 billion
*Quicken Loans Arena (seating capacity: 20,562 opened: 1994) ESPN Ultimate Standings stadium experience: 14
PROS: Hometown team, the only team he has ever known in the NBA ranks, born and raised in Akron, Ohio, has experienced back-to-back 60 win seasons with the team, team management and ownership has shown their willingness to make roster "upgrades", new management and a new head coach in Byron Scott who fits the bill in terms of the type of coach LeBron would prefer, many people say that being with one team for the course of a career is important to legacy.
CONS: Aging and inferior roster in comparison to the other potential teams, 7 years with the team and still no ring, lack of a true number two weapon, roster uncertainty for the future due to the fact that they have an aging core, team is over the cap therefore must rely on trades to upgrade roster, no consistent inside scoring threat, not a major market, one could make the argument that Cleveland has regressed.
New Jersey (12-70)-
*room for two max free agents
*Avery Johnson (six years of head coaching experience, defensive minded, .735 career winning percentage, 30-33 career playoff record, 16 year NBA playing career, 1 NBA championship as a player)
*Mikhail Prokhorov, owner net worth: $13 billion
*Prudential Center (seating capacity: 18,500 opened: 2007) ESPN Ultimate Standings stadium experience: 18
PROS: Immense excitement and promise with new owner Prokhorov, close relationship with part-owner Jay-Z (also offered LeBron a clothing and fragrance line), very good young core with potential to grow alongside LeBron, BROOKLYN where "LeBron's House" is currently under construction-will be the most expensive arena in LeBron's favorite borough, Prokhorov's global influence and the Nets' ability to make James a billion dollar athlete, would clearly be LeBron's team as there is no real superstar on the team to take spotlight away from him, chance to turn around a team that has been struggling for many years, very solid coaching staff with two coach of the year candidates as well as the NBA's all time win percentage leader in Avery Johnson.
CONS: Rod Thorn's departure, two years in Newark (dont consider this a big deal considering the venue is going to be the second newest arena in the league once Orlando opens their new home this season), uncertainty in terms of GM position, coming off a 12 win season (fourth worst of all time), not considered a "marquee" NBA franchise.
I dont think we're out of it by any means, I still think we have the best overall package to offer LeBron and with the cap room left over we could potentially afford to add Lee assuming NYK doesnt sign and trade him and furthermore have some money left over to spend on reinforcing the bench. All throughout this process we really have not gotten any love from the major media outlets, so with the focus shifting to NY and Miami again, just remember that it's been this way all along, no one has really taken us seriously and at the same time no one has been willing to count us out, either. It's crunch time, tomorrow our franchise is at a crossroads where we can go in two very different directions but should we lose out let us simply hope that he does not join the Knicks. From the Nets standpoint, plan B should be, in my opinion, a conservative, patient approach where we continue to build this team and develop our young talent with some added pieces assuming that they can be attained at sensible contracts. Just because we have the cap space does not mean we should spend it just to spend it, we need to be smart and make the right moves, but until I hear LeBron say otherwise I continue to hope and believe in our chances at landing the king and I also maintain the viewpoint that I believe we truly are the best fit for him, let us hope he sees it the same way.