When reading the arguments about the Wallace trade, there are two primary camps. One side thinks it's a good trade because you bring him in now and the other side thinks it was pointless because we could have got him as a free agent anyway.
When the trade first went down, I hated it. I liked getting Wallace, but I thought King was OFF HIS ROCKER by not protecting the pick through the Top 10. I actually send him a curse-filled tweet and have since been blocked (I know because I tried to follow him and it said I was blocked haha).
Since then, I realized that it would have been hard to get the Blazers to take a more protected pick. It would basically be accepting the 2013 pick because there was about a 1% chance we would have the 11th worst record.
But I've typically defended the trade using number logic. We could give him higher % raises. We could offer an extra year. We could do this, we could do that.
I had to admit to myself that I thought the Others (led by eLone these days) have a point that we could have gotten Gerald as a free agent while also having a pick. After all, don't all free agents have to be wooed by "strange" teams?
But then I did some more thinking. And I could be wrong, but here’s another POV.After Dwight screwed us, three things became absolutely certain.
After Dwight signed the ETO, the only way the Nets could attract free agents would be on selling them on the idea of playing with Deron. But they would have almost zero assurances that Deron would be staying in Brooklyn, so why would they jump in before Deron jumps in.
The only way to sign Deron would be to show him that we could build a team, but if he were legitimately concerned about the Nets prospects of building a team, then how could he help sell Brooklyn with one foot out the door?
So what do you do?
You bring in a veteran leader that Deron likes.
Then you take advantage of your time and unveil the plan to them. Rather than only having a few days to sell an outsider on the potential of the team, you take 3 months to show them the young talent (primarily Brooks and Green), introduce them to Lopez and remind them about how good he is, you take them on tours of Barclays, introduce them to the charismatic owner, show them the career opportunities in New York, and let them become a part of what some players have called the tightest locker room they’ve ever been apart of.
You let a seemingly unattractive option marinate for a bit and you let them come to realize what it could become.
After all, it's worked once before:
Deshawn Stevenson, in his own words:
“When I signed, no (I didn’t see myself wanting to re-sign). But after playing on the team and being with D-Will and playing with the guys, I would like to come back and kind of be like a veteran leader.
Show them how much cap room the team has to play with. Get them in a room with Billy and discuss everything that could be done with that money in the summer.
So yeah, you give up a #6 pick. You and your scouts decide that this draft is largely Davis or bust. Everything outside of the top 3 is a multi-year project player that will neither convince veteran players that this team is close to becoming a contender nor sell any real tickets.
Rather than spend 10 days in July trying to convince a stranger of what the Brooklyn Nets can become, you bring them in and let them experience it for themselves. Rather than introduce them to a superstar with bags already packed, you walk them in and let them develop a relationship together.
It’s a strategy that lets you sell reality rather than hopes and dreams. You keep them in your building while you try to convince Ilyasova and all of the other targets and let the TWO of them court incoming free agents.
They can tell targets like Ilyasova, "If you come here, we're committed to resigning and making this happen. We'll still have flexibility and the three of us + Lopez and some of these younger guys can compete," and let Billy come in and explain that the team would still have room to build.
It’s an unconventional - and unpopular - strategy, but when you really think about the human aspect of it, it sounds like a strategy that could be more effective than trying to act like car salesman in the free agent flurry.
(That’s also why they don’t tell people entering Scientology that it’s a religion mostly about aliens. They reveal that after people have become involved for months. They let the brain get washed first.)