The morning after the morning after

Mike Ehrmann

For a fan base that has become used to wild spending, the Nets decision to pass on Paul Pierce was difficult to take.Why now?  Many asked. But for ownership and management, it was the smart move. Emotion may have overwhelmed the fans, but for them, the logic was irrefutable.

As Rod Boone writes Monday of the decision to avoid spending $20 million in salary and luxury taxes on Pierce, or as much as LeBron James will cost the Cavaliers...

"He's just not worth that, and the Nets are doing the responsible thing, even though it might not be the most popular decision after they yielded all those assets."

Business decision or basketball decision, spin or reality, it's done. But note this: The Nets have not stopped spending money. Two weeks ago, they unveiled a new training facility. Cost: $45 million.They could have refurbished PNY Center in East Rutherford at half the price. A week ago, they agreed to pay Lionel Hollins $20 million, twice what they were paying Jason Kidd. And they will be paying his staff, led by former head coach Paul Westphal, a pretty penny as well. Finally, despite some fans and pundits' contention that they are going cheap, the Nets will still pay $33 million in taxes next season, easily the most of any NBA team.

Boone again...

They are done spending millions as if they were playing with Monopoly money. Even though they surrendered three first-round picks to acquire Pierce and Kevin Garnett, they weren't about to spend all that money to bring back a player who turns 37 in October and whose skills are in decline

Is their championship window closed? They won't admit that publicly, but for a time, sure. They believe they can be "competitive" in the East with a roster based on a "core" of  Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez supported by veterans like Kevin Garnett, Jarrett Jack and Andrei Kirilenko and surrounded by a youth brigade that includes Mason Plumlee, Bojan Bogdanovic and Sergey Karasev. The Nets will return with at least nine members of last year's roster, 10 if Alan Anderson comes back. That's more than they did last year.

The plan now is to hold the fort, make smaller moves and plan for 2016. The pundits have spoken ... already and they think it's not going to work, that the Nets won't make the playoffs.  And after an off-season that's already included Jason Kidd's unseemly exit and Paul Pierce's shocking departure, who can blame them? But as we've said before, they still have to play the games.

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