In a chat and a preseason video, two respected writers, Larry Coon and Chris Mannix, come away with somewhat different takes on whether the Nets can "spend" or "buy" their way to a championship.
Coon says history goes against the Nets off-season spending spree. First, he lists Billy King first when asked what GMs are "under the most pressure to succeed this year" ... along with Chris Wallace (Memphis) and Dell Demps (New Orleans.) King of course just signed a three-year extension, so it's not a question of job pressure.
Asked, "If you were running a team and had no financial restrictions like Billy King in Brooklyn, would you spend, spend, and spend or would you play it closer to cap and have more flexibility?", Coon replied,
"History has shown that teams that spend, spend, spend usually get mired in salary cap hell. See the Knicks and Blazers of about 10 years ago.
"One point I made in my recent pieces for ESPN that evaluated the effects of the new CBA on various teams is that the new CBA didn’t close the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" — in fact, it INCREASED the gap. But the real point is that there are far fewer "haves," and to take advantage of their spending power means to employ a strategy that has failed every time it has been tried."
Of course, the three teams that won the NBA's last five titles doled out an average of nearly $12 million in luxury taxes per championship year, according to Sham Sports, The Lakers paid $28.5 million in taxes in 2009 and 2010. The Mavericks paid out $10 million in 2011 and the Heat's bill for their two championship years totaled almost $20 million. (The Nets are paying out such larger sum this year because for the first time, taxes are based on an escalating scale.)
Mannix thinks it could all work out for the Nets. He asks, "Who says you can't buy a championship in today's NBA?", then suggests the answer could be yes in the Nets case.
"With big money comes big talent. Both Garnett and Pierce are at the end of their careers, but both have plenty left in the tank. Garnett will shore up a mediocre defense while Pierce gives the Nets another accomplished scoring option and Kirilenko who several rival coaches told me was the biggest pickup is a versatile defender."
Mannix says if Jason Kidd can succeed as a coach and the Nets go into the playoffs healthy, "this Nets team has the talent and depth to win a championship."