I personally agree with the idea that a lot of people on this site have been putting forward, forget about Dwight Howard for now. He is without a doubt the best center and one of the best players in the league, but designing a roster around a player that we may or may not be able to get is a risky move and a poor business decision. I say we approach this offseason without the intention of acquiring pieces to trade for Dwight. Instead.....
(the following assuming Farmar and Gerald Wallace opt-in to the final years of their contracts and Lopez is re-signed)
1. Do whatever it takes to resign D-Will. He's one of the league's best point guards and players in general, and outstanding point guard play is invaluable. Over the course of a 5 year max contract, he could be the piece to the Nets championship puzzle.
2. Bring in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen on 2-year contracts. Garnett is a defense first player who is committed to winning above all else and will do whatever it takes to achieve that end. I get the feeling he would love playing with Gerald Wallace , as they approach the game with the same attitude. Garnett would be a fantastic complement to Lopez in the front court, together they would bring outstanding scoring, defense, and rebounding from the starting bigs every night.
As for Ray Allen, I think we should trade Morrow to make room for him. Maybe we can get a pick in this year's draft or a future 1st rounder. I understand why some people might be hesitant to trade Morrow as he's a three point specialist who is one of the best in the league at what he does, but Ray Allen is the all time leader in 3 point field goals in the NBA. He may be older, but he still knows how to shoot and he's much better defensively than Ammo. On top of his on the court production, he would be a great mentor to Brooks. The two have somewhat different styles, but Swag could definitely learn a thing or two from one of the best 2 guards of the last generation.
3. Re-sign Humphries, but only if it's on a manageable deal. Something in the 4 year 22-28MM range would be a team friendly contract that still pays Hump good money. He might be able to get more money on the open market, but seeing as he's now one of the league's most disliked players, a lot of teams might not even want to deal with the PR backlash from bringing a Kardashian affiliate to town. Also, Hump seems to love the Nets. The fans have really embraced him and the coaching staff has been huge in his development. Hopefully he wants to be a part of the Brooklyn Nets and is willing to take less than he might get from another team.
4. Re-sign Gerald Green and add solid depth to the team. Maybe someone like Kirilenko might fit. Hickson could also be a possibility. I'm not advocating for these players specifically, but depth wins playoff series so acquiring some would be a definite plus. King seems to have a knack for finding cheap bench talent, so let him work his magic.
(5. Bring Bogdanovic over! Not a necessity, but I can't wait to see this guy play)
Fast Forward to after the 2012-2013 season. The Nets had a good year, finished between 3-6 in the east, maybe one a playoff series but at least put up a good fight.
Let's assume Dwight has not signed an extension with the Magic. He may not even be a member of the Magic, but the team he finishes the season with is irrelevant, the point is that he is a free agent and is testing the market.
Josh Smith is also a free agent, and he fills an immediate need for the Nets. Gerald Wallace's contract has just expired, and the Net's have an adequate amount of cap space as Wallace, Farmar, and Petro are now off the books. The only players with big money commitments are D-Will at the max, Brook at his cap holds as dictated by resigning him via his bird rights, and possibly Humphries (Allen and Garnett are on manageable contracts in the 3-6 million dollar range). The Nets have the money to go after Smith, and they do, signing him to a significant (albeit not max) contract and neutralizing their cap space.
Dwight Howard sees all this and realizes he would love nothing more than to be a part of this Nets team. He orchestrates a sign and trade scenario with his previous team in which they receive Lopez and some of the Nets depth as salary equalizer. Dwight's team really would not have much of a choice but to comply, as they could lose him for nothing to some other team. Just about any team would happily accept a talented center like Lopez in this situation.
The Nets end up with Williams, Allen, Smith, Garnett, and Howard for one year before the two former Celtic's contracts expire. After that, the Nets have their big 3 and King can make other moves as he sees fit.
The Dwight Howard part of the scenario is, of course, pushing it a little bit. This is really best case in every sense of the term. But if it doesn't happen, and we are able to bring in Smith and keep Lopez, we're still one of the top teams in the eastern conference and the entire league. This situation seems very possible to me. It is by no stretch of the imagination a shoo-in, as even step one of resigning D-Will is a toss up at this point, but it's a real possibility.
If you think this is unrealistic, feel free to let me know. It very well may be wishful thinking on my part, but I believe the Nets are ready to make some serious noise in the NBA, and in a more tangible way than Dwightmare. If my plan is completely impossible and nothing even remotely resembling it actually occurs, I have faith that Billy King will still manage to take us into Brooklyn with a better roster than the one we're leaving Jersey with.
All in all, let's go Nets!