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Wednesday's Winners and Losers

It's an All-New team.  Eighteen weeks after the Nets lost to the Heat to close out their miserable 12-70 season, only four players remain from that final roster: Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, Terrence Williams and Kris Humphries.  Replacing those traded, waived and renounced are, in order of their arrival: Derrick Favors, Damion James, Quinton Ross, Brian Zoubek, Ben Uzoh, Travis Outlaw, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, Sean May and now Troy Murphy.

Other than Favors, Murphy stands as the biggest acquisition of this off-season, a 6'11" power forward with close to career double-double numbers and an ability to shoot 40% from deep. Plus he's a Jersey guy. The Nets may not have picked up Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire or David Lee, but they did get a power forward who ain't bad.

So if you assume this was a good day for the Nets, a winning day, who else can be seen as winners and losers.  We give our opinion.


--Troy Murphy.  Local boy makes good. He has said each time he's played in the Meadowlands that he'd like to go home again.  Now he gets the chance. He's the Nets oldest player by a few months,but he can put up numbers and he will have a lot of motivation: playing at home, playing for a new contract, playing for an initial trip to the NBA playoffs.

--Courtney Lee.  Let's face it: he wasn't happy and wanted back on a championship contender.  He got his wish too, as he texted Al Iannazzone, "the sky's the limit" in Houston.  He should know, however, he will face competition at the two spot from Kevin Martin and Chase Budinger.

--Terrence Williams and Anthony Morrow.  These two will now battle it out for the starting shooting guard spot in New Jersey.  They bring different skillsets to the table, with Williams more the slashing, athletic type who can play a little PG and Morrow the deadly deep shooter and pure scorer who can play a little SF.  Another winner: Jordan Farmar who will now get a chance to play some off-guard with Devin Harris.

--Devin Harris. His assist numbers are likely to go up and his injuries go down.  With so many deep shooters at so many positions, the lane will not be as clogged next season, giving him opportunities to drive and dish to the perimeter or simply take it to the hole...with less fear of being hammered.

--Quinton Ross. The throw-in in the Yi Jianlian salary dump, Ross is a 6'6" defensive specialist who can also shoot a bit from the outside.  A tough veteran, he can expected to do some of the things Lee would have.

--Billy King and Bobby Marks.  The Nets wanted to keep $14 to $15 million in cap space free this season, until at least the trade deadline and then $15 to $18 million going into the summer.  They are down to $4.33 million or so now, but have the power forward they want and by our calculations, they'll have around $20.74 million next summer. Seems like a bit of sleight of hand.  Also, King was able to fill the team's biggest long time need within weeks after taking over...and by the way, the Nets have yet to give up a draft pick with all this wheeling and dealing.

--Mikhail Prokhorov. Does anyone see this deal getting done under Bruce Ratner?  The Nets took on $10.6 million more in salary this year.  Prokhorov told Forbes Russia last week that the Nets "must" make the playoffs.  Looking better.

--Jeff Vanderbeek and Cory Booker. The Nets are likely to be a better team, maybe even a playoff contender.  That could help put fannies in the seats at the Prudential Center, which will benefit both the Devils and the City of Newark.


--Sean May and Kris Humphries.  May now will have a harder time making the roster.  On the other hand, the Nets signed him knowing the Murphy deal could go down.  It's been on the table for a week and May was signed two days ago. Humphries on the other hand may have thought he was going to start for the Nets while Derrick Favors matured.  No such luck.  He's now stuck behind Murphy and Favors...and May is motivated.

--Derrick Favors. That is the conventional wisdom, that with Murphy around for at least a year, his development will be slowed down, put on hold.  Maybe, but we wouldn't be surprised to see him play additional minutes now at the five as well as the four.  They keep comparing him to Dwight Howard, who has never been confused with a power forward.

--The running game. Murphy is many things but fleet of foot is not one of them.  Put him and Lopez on the floor at the same time and things could slow down a bit...or maybe more than a bit.  Also interior defense could be problematic.  We're sure Avery Johnson will try to remedy that, but you can't expect Murphy to run the court.

So are they done?  One Nets insider thinks so, but advises, "I think we are done but Billy is very aggressive."