Continuity at center of Brooklyn Nets' off-season plans

Mike Ehrmann

The Nets were all talking positively about the team's future Thursday as players packed up and headed for home or vacation ... or in the case of Deron Williams, a visit with the team's foot specialist.

At the core of the confidence was a belief that the team was likely to stick together. At least that was the hope. After two seasons when the team added 16 new players --six last year, 10 the year before-- Billy King et al seemed to be wary of upending the roster once again.

"I think we’ve got a good core, and the object is to try to build on the core." said King who pointed to the teams still playing as models of stability.  But he may not have a choice in the matter. There are so many moving parts out there that fate could force him into yet another rebuild.

Paul Pierce was non-committal about returning to Brooklyn although the front office believes that he will ultimately sign a hefty two-year deal ... even if he was wearing a Boston Red Sox cap Thursday. Kevin Garnett is mulling retirement. Andrei Kirilenko, who played only 19 minutes a game and missed 37 entirely, is reportedly unhappy with his minutes and could opt out.  Andray Blatche and Shaun Livingston say they want to stay but will listen to offers. And of course, Williams and Brook Lopez's health status makes them questionable ... and not easily tradeable if that's what the Nets decide to do with them.

That leaves Joe Johnson as the team's mainstay and as he proved in the playoffs --21.2 points on 53.3 percent shooting overall, 41.5 percent from three-- he could be a bigger presence next season.

The team has limited flexibility after trading so many first and second round picks and piling up the salary commitments.  What the opening night roster looks like in next November is anyone's guess, despite the calls for continuity.

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