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Chad Ford: Nets did well, but the abyss awaits if it doesn't work

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Ford ranks every Eastern Conference team's off-season, even though a few teams are still filling out their rosters. The Knicks for example are pursuing Hamid Hadadi! The Nets get a solid B+. Ford says of them "This team can compete with anyone in the East or West." but Ford spends a lot of his analysis on the ways that it might not work. Specifically he asks, "Will the chemistry come together, and how long can they keep the title window open?"

Ford wonders if the team's many "alpha dogs" can find peace and questions whether Jason Kidd will "be able to keep everyone together at the first sign of trouble." What if all this restructuring doesn't work, he asks, then answers, "Some doubt it can last through next season. If the Nets can get two great title runs out of this team, it was probably worth the risk. If they don't, the Nets are stuck in salary-cap hell for a while with little wiggle room to fix it."

The Nets salary cap "hell" has been a running theme with Ford for two years, despite the willingness of Mikhail Prokhorov to foot the bill and Billy King's ability to salvage deals. Both Alan Anderson and Shaun Livingston said this week they had better offers but signed with the Nets so they could play for a contender ... and be coached by Kidd.

Back in May, Ford and a co-author panned the Nets future by pointing out the difficulties the Nets face with their big payrolls going forward. That article noted, "This means they'll have to find a way to improve the team by enticing another team to trade for one of their bloated deals or by convincing free agents to sign for the minimum." They also noted the Nets had all their own picks, a good thing. "provided they can maximize the value of those picks." The authors seemed pessimistic it could work. Of course, a month later, it did.

Meanwhile, Henry Abbott gathers some of the ESPN team bloggers together to do their own assessments of big moves in the East. Abbott, who's been highly critical of the Nets this off-season, reiterates his problem with the Nets spending so much money. "Isiah Thomas' Knicks wrote the book on this: Once your roster is full of overpaid dudes, the CBA is effective in making sure you can't get better," he argues.

Finally, in another ESPN article on next season, Brad Doolittle ranks Deron Williams fifth in his survey of point guards, based in part on WARP, the Wins over Replacement Player method of measuring data. The author praises Williams --"If Williams can return to his days of double-digit assists, it will be a sign the new mix in Brooklyn is working." However, it's hard to take the survey that seriously when Tony Parker is ranked 13th, behind Kemba Walker and Kyle Lowry.