2014 Free Agency
Although the initial reaction to the Nets' loss of Paul Pierce was that it consigned them to the lottery, little by little there's been some revision in certain quarters. Not much but it's a start ... and it comes from interesting places.
The Nets decision to pass on Paul Pierce has led to a great deal of skepticism about their commitment to win it all, although privately, team officials say they are still about building a "super franchise" just becoming more "financially responsible.
Mason Plumlee spoke last week with the Charlotte Observer, which covered him at Duke, talking about how he's looking forward to taking on an offensive role. From the interview, and other reports, It sounds like he wants to play both big positions.
Citing both teams' priorities, Doc Rivers told Tim Bontemps that despite a lot of talk among the Clippers, Nets and Paul Pierce, noting got done because both parties were hamstrung by CBA issues, the Clips' hard cap and the Nets' payroll.
For a fan base that got used to wild spending, the decision to pass on Paul Pierce was hard to take. Why now? many asked. For ownership and management, it was the smart move. Emotion may have overwhelmed fans, but for them, logic was on their side.
The line between a business decision and a basketball decision under the new CBA is a thin one. And while it would appear that the decision not to sign Paul Pierce was about business, its consequences are just as much about basketball.
Multiple sources report that Kevin Garnett will return to the Nets next year. Garnett is under contract for 2014-15. He will be paid $12 million on the last year of his deal. His return, say sources, was not dependent on Pierce's decision.
Paul Pierce has decided to join the Wizards for the full MLE after the Nets simply decided to pass on re-signing him, citing financial considerations. Nets don't think they could win it all, but can be "competitive." So why pay Pierce at all?
Was it a way to get Kevin Garnett's attention or something more? In a conversation with beat writers, Lionel Hollins said, "if he decides to come back and play" and "if he returns." That's a big difference from what Billy King has said.
Sergey Karasev had a rough rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but following his trade to the Nets, he finds himself in a good situation, one where he isn't a development after thought and where his teammate and hero plays for a countryman.
The Nets helped the Cavs get the final piece for LeBron, but don't expect them to reap any more benefits. They simply don't have the cap space needed. Where they could reap some benefits in the new NBA landscape, tossed upside down in the Bronquake.
Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev are now Nets. Jack spoke with Nets beat writers Thursday and said he learned of the deal when his agent called him in class and began singing "New York, New York" . He said he's excited to play in Brooklyn.
Sergey Karasev and Andrei Kirilenko were teammates on Russia's bronze medal winning Olympic team in 2012. Kirilenko even played with Karasev's father! Now, the Nets hope AK-47's tutelage can help the 20-year-old develop faster than in Cleveland.
The Nets are likely to have two rookies this season and they're thrilled with both the signing of Bojan Bogdanovic and the selection of Markel Brown. We know that's common for NBA front offices, but as of June 27, they weren't sure they'd have any!
The most likely competition for Paul Pierce, say league sources, can be found in Los Angeles with the Clippers and Chicago, maybe in Dallas. As everyone waits for the free agency logjam to clear, the Nets and Pierce remain patient.
Billy King says the Nets want to be "financially responsible.". But as his latest hire, Lionel Hollins, noted Monday, "Mikhail Prokhorov has the resources and barring a big surprise, the Nets appear headed to another $100 million payroll.
The Nets may get Jarrett Jack after all. Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Nets and Cavaliers are trying to work out a three-team deal that would bring Jack to the Nets, send Marcus Thornton to a third team and permit Cleveland to gain max cap space.
Shortly after midnight July 1, the Nets called Paul Pierce to tell him they wanted him back. They weren't alone. At 12:26 a.m. Marc Stein tweeted that interest was wide. Expect once LeBron and Melo decide, teams will look at backups and see Pierce.