The Nets now have until Thursday at 3pm to make use of Troy Murphy's expiring contract and unfortunately, appear that they are now forced to trade Devin Harris after publicly dragging him thru the mud and indicating to the entire world that they were not happy with his play and did not see him as a future building block of this team. While I find that unfortunate, as I have always been a fan of Harris' play (especially considering that aside from VC he has not had a talented roster around him) and felt he was a great veteran building block for the future of this team.
Considering the need to get something of value for Murphy's expiring contract and to move Devin Harris before a public mutiny breaks out on the roster - the Nets have a very difficult 2.5 days ahead of them.
The first order of business for the Nets should be to trade Devin Harris. You can not trade Murphy before dealing Harris, as you may need Murphy's expiring contract to get something done. After analyzing the deal for Denver - they still have not really received the requisite draft picks that they were looking for and are at a crossroads between continuing to compete for the playoffs or embracing rebuilding.
The Nets first order of business should be attempting to swap Devin Harris for Raymond Felton with Denver. By all accounts, Denver is still looking to compete for the playoffs this season (rumors abound that they are now trying to extend Nene's contract) and Harris is a better overall PG than is Felton. Harris has 2 years left on his contract after the conclusion of this season paying him $9.3m and $8.5m per season. This contract is structured to be cap friendly as it ages - which is preferable to contracts that increase the dollar amount as the player ages (becomes less productive). Felton meanwhile has 1 more year left after this season at a cost of $7.5m. This trade benefits both teams - as Harris is a superior PG (and scorer) to Felton and his style of play is well suited to the Western Conference. NJ meanwhile benefits from replacing Harris (a player the team is now forced to move) with a comparable PG who is known as a good teammate and has a contract that will expire in front of the big 2012 free agent summer (this is also the summer that the Nets will begin moving to Brooklyn). Cutting that $8.5m in salary obligations in 2012-2013 is a big help to the Nets in making a free agent splash in the 2012 summer.
In order to make this deal work under the cap - the Nets and Nuggets are going to have to add something else to this deal - however Harris for Felton would be the headline of the trade. The Nets should look to take back Gallinari from Denver (and it sounds like Denver is looking to deal him) and send back draft picks in return. The Nets could offer the Lakers 2011 first round pick. This helps to free up more cap space for the Nuggets next season while also acquring an additional first round pick. The Nets get to keep Knicks fan favorite Gallinari in town and can initially plug him into their hole at the 3.
The next move the Nets have to make is getting something of value for Troy Murphy's expiring contract. While there seems to be very little interest in dealing for Murphy around the league (as the general consensus is that the Nets will just buy Murphy out after the deadline) the Nets have to release a statement that Murphy will not be bought out and attempt to get something of value for him. Unfortunately, getting value is going to be easier said than done. The Nets should speak to Portland about a package that would send Murphy to the Blazers for Joel Pryzbilla, Luke Babbit and a 1st round draft pick (with protections). Portland is still trying to make the playoffs and is able to acquire another scoring big man to give them 20 minutes a night and then realize nearly $12m in cap savings at the end of the season from Murphy's deal. Portland is also able to unload Luke Babbit who has been a tremendous disappointment this season and still has 1 year of guaranteed first round money on his deal along with team options in the following 2 seasons. For the Nets they are trading the full cap savings of Murphy's contract for Pryzbilla's smaller expiring contract along with taking on the guaranteed money to Babbit - who could potentially develop in NJ. They also gain an additional draft pick.
Assuming that the Nets are able to make these 2 moves - the next step that must be taken is to clean house in the front office and replace everyone. While this may seem drastic - it is the only way to regain the confidence and loyalty of the remaining roster and the focus must be on the June draft and developing the younger players. By clearing this cap space - the Nets are also in position to offer Kris Humphries a 3 year contract extension, which I believe should be priority #1 at this point entering the end of the season.