Now that another disappointing season has come to a close, the Nets need to look at the extensive offseason moves they need to make in order to stay competitive with the likes of the Bulls, Heat, Celtics, and even Knicks. Here's my proposal of the various moves the Nets should make.
1) Resign Core Players
a) Kris Humphries - He's obviously shown great progress and hustle as a player, and should be rewarded with a raise. $6 Million per
b) Sasha Vujacic - Although his shot selection is iffy, he hustles every play and has proven to be a leader on the court and a very good bench piece. $3 Million per
c) Brandan Wright - Still very young and full of potential, why not sign him for cheap and see what he can do? $2 Million per
d) Mario West - Not the most talented player out there, but he hustles hard and can defense on the best of them. He's a good bench piece for Avery Johnson's sytem. $1 Million per or the minimum
2) Trade For Another Star
As much as I and many other Nets fans love Kris Humphries and the way he plays, he simply isn't a championship caliber starting power forward. He's great, but he can't compete with the Gasol's, Boozer's, Bosh's, Duncan's, and Garnett's of the NBA. The Nets should trade for Josh Smith. He's a young, explosive, defensive and offensive minded force at the power forward position, and I think Avery and Nets fans would love him. The great thing is, the Hawks are looking to get bigger and move Al Horford down to his more natural position of PF, making Smith the odd man out. Also, I think at the right price, the Clippers may look to move Chris Kamen due to his injury history and the fact that DeAndre Jordan has loads of potential. The trade that I proposed on ESPN's Trade Machine that was successful was:
Nets Receive: Hawks Receive: Clippers Receive:
Josh Smith Chris Kamen Travis Outlaw (if he can be unloaded)
Damion James Nets 2nd Round Pick
In this trade, the Nets receive the star PF they need, as well as a more than competent backup center in Zaza Pachulia. The Hawks get a good center, a possible starting PG, and a young piece in Damion James. The Clippers get someone who has shown potential in the past in Outlaw, a good enough backup center in Petro, and a solid draft pick. Everyone's happy.
3) Make Smart Signings
After these moves, the Nets still need to make a few more to ensure depth and talent at specifically the small forward position as well as the bench. These are the signings I believe they should make:
2) Andrei Kirilenko - A great defender and would be amazing in Avery Johnson's system. Avery likes him, so sign him to be a solid backup SF. $4 Million per
3) JJ Barea - Hypothetically, if the trade I proposed went through, we would need a solid backup PG. JJ is a great ball handler and playmaker, adn has played on a great team in the Mavericks for the past few years. If not him, look at a veteran like Earl Watson from the Jazz. $2 Million per
4) Draft Smart
I won't get too much into the draft, but I think the Nets should select Kyle Singler with their late 1st round draft pick. He's a smart player with a high basketball IQ as well as a lot of talent, skill, will to win, and championship experience at Duke. I think he's a pretty low-risk high-reward type of draft pick. Pay him $1-$1.5 Million per.
With the moves I proposed, the Nets would have a lineup of:
Anthony Morrow / Sasha Vujacic / Mario West
Wilson Chandler / Andrei Kirilenko / Kyle Singler
Josh Smith / Kris Humphries / Brandan Wright
Brook Lopez / Zaza Pachulia
This lineup is potent. I think it definitely has the potential to be great. You have D-Will, the playmaker. Morrow, the sharp shooter who stretches the defense. Chandler, who can do it all. Smith, the explosive triple double threat. And finally Brook Lopez, the anchor of the offense and defense. Along with this you have a bunch of solid bench and role players who strengthen the lineup and make the Nets tough and deep. If the Nets follow this plan, I believe they have a real shot at winning a championship within the next 5 years like Mikhail Prokhorov stated.