The Nets roster moves have produced a team that is maybe a tad older but a lot more accomplished, not as athletic, but somewhat better at shooting from deep. And of course, Billy King's creation will be oh, so much more expensive, becoming the first Nets payroll to reach the $100 million plateau.
That's an early take of the changes after an early review of the 14 players the Nets are likely to have under contract by week's end, after the free agency signing moratorium ends on Wednesday and the Celtics trade is cleared on Friday.
The Nets, on average, are a little older than last season's opening night roster, 28.4 years compared to 28. Why the small difference with all the hype about the Nets being geriatric? Things like Jerry Stackhouse is a year and a half older than Kevin Garnett. The three Celtics-turned-Nets, Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry are 35 or older, but the team's other additions include two rookies, Bojan Bogdanovic and Mason Plumlee, aged 24 and 23, and a nine-year veteran, Shaun Livingston, who's two months shy of 28.
On the other side of the ledger, last year's opening night roster included three players over 30: Stackhouse, 37; Keith Bogans,32; and Gerald Wallace, 30, plus one aged 29 in Josh Childress and two who turned 28 during the season, Keith Humphries and C.J. Watson. The only really young player who's left Brooklyn is MarShon Brooks, then 23. (In comparison, the Knicks last season averaged 30.7 years.)
The real difference, obviously, is in the starting lineup, whose average age is jumping from 28 to 32 with the addition of Pierce and Garnett. That's to be expected. The rest of the rotation isn't much older, if at all.
That said, the roster that's likely to take the court in November is a lot more accomplished. It will feature players who've been the All-Star Game 35 times (KG 15, Pierce 10, Joe Johnson six, Deron Williams three and Brook Lopez one); who've won four Olympic gold medals (two each for Garnett and Williams) and three NBA rings (one each for the three players who've arrived from Boston). Last year, those number were nine, two and zero.
They are a bit less athletic, but a bit better shooters, as long as the two guys from Mostar, Bogdanovic and Mirza Teletovic, fulfill their potential on offense ... and can play enough defense. (The team will have three international players, one more than the roster at the beginning of last season, the same as the one that finished the season.)
They're a bit taller two with four players 6'11" or taller in Garnett, Lopez, Plumlee and Andray Blatche. Last year, only Lopez and Blatche measured that tall.
The biggest difference is on the money side. The Nets payroll will jump from $84.5 million to about $100.5 million and with a luxury tax jumping from less than $10 million to around $80 million, thanks to the introduction of the escalator tax, which charges teams higher taxes the more they are over the tax threshold. (There's an underappreciated financial aspect of the trade: by dumpingcontract on the Celtics, the Nets will likely go under the luxury tax in 2015-16. Wallace is scheduled to make $10,105,855 that year.)
The question that can't be answered now is how many more wins can be expected, beyond the 49 this past season. None of the others above will matter until that number is finalized.