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Howard Beck: Nets likely to deal Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, but hang on to Joe Johnson

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

For all the excitement at Barclays Center, for all the dunks and athletic derring-do of Mason Plumlee and the impossible shots made by Joe Johnson, it was just another regular season win against a weak opponent. The Nets have only won one game vs. a winning team and lost two to losing teams.

A change has got to come.  Howard Beck, in analyzing why things have gone so wrong in Brooklyn, thinks he knows what's next for the franchise.

Deron Williams could be shipped out.

Brook Lopez could follow.

Joe Johnson will likely stay, but there's no guarantee of that, either.

The Netshaving spent wildly to chase a title only to find themselves stuck on a gold-plated treadmillare now working to break the cycle of mediocrity. All they need is a willing trade partner (or two) to take their high-priced stars.

It's not set in stone. In fact, a league source very familiar with the Nets situation, told NetsDaily that it's entirely possible that Billy King won't deal any of the Big Three. But it won't be for lack of trying.

Beck catalogues all the mistakes he says have broken the Nets dreams and their fans hearts. He also notes the Nets have some good young assets.

But for him, the bottom line is that the Nets front office was just following orders from Moscow (as sinister as that sounds)...

From the moment the Nets were purchased by Mikhail Prokhorov, the swaggering Russian billionaire, the standing order was clear: Get a star. Any star. And get him now.

With the Nets moving from New Jersey to Brooklyn in 2012, the business and marketing folks ruled the agenda. Prokhorov needed a name to put on the Barclays Center marquee and a means to bump the Knicks off the back pages of the tabloids.

Beck doesn't mention that Prokhorov also provided the seed money for the Nets move to Brooklyn as well as barrels of cash to replenish what was a barren basketball operations staff, with three assistant coaches and as few scouts when he arrived. Not to mention money to improve team amenities which before he came on the scene were at rock bottom of the league.

Still, there's no denying the team has yet to produce at a level that will fulfill Prokhorov's dream and it's time to, as Beck writes in his lead, "radically reshape the Brooklyn Nets as we have come to know and love (and/or mock, and/or disdain) them."

And Beck was not alone in the assessment. Stefan Bondy wrote post-game about talks with the Kings regarding D-WIll.

With trade rumors surrounding Brooklyn‘s three highest-paid players, a source told the Daily News that Williams is most likely to be dealt. Talks with the Kings have dated back to last season, and Sacramento remains a possibility. Even though negotiations have cooled, “they’re never done,” a source said.