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Brooklyn Nets among winners and losers in free agency

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The first of the winners-and-losers analysis is in, Fred Kerber's snarky look at free agency.  Kerber doesn't examine every move and give it a letter grade, like ESPN might ... serious stuff. He just isolates some key players and teams ... and has some fun.  His big winner, of course: "LeBron James, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Lake Erie, The State of Ohio …" and the big loser is on the other side of that transaction, "The Miami Heat."

In between, he notes a couple of Nets moves and players.  Among his winners..."Nets forwards not named Paul Pierce"

Yes, you can point to all the financial numbers. Keeping Pierce, with luxury-tax implications, would have cost the Nets more than James will cost Cleveland next year (roughly $22 vs $20 million). But other numbers, including minutes for a host of 3s and 4s, played into the Nets’ decision to not overpay Pierce and let him head to Washington. Who was going to sit?

The Nets need minutes for Andrei Kirilenko, Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic and the incoming Bojan Bogdanovic. With Brook Lopez returning, Kevin Garnett (fully expected back) will be a backup 5. And Pierce, despite his playoff prowess, is seen by the Nets has a guy who no longer adequately defends the small forward position consistently.

And among the losers, "Knuckleheads," including Andray Blatche...

Lance Stephenson and Andray Blatche come to mind. Stephenson may end up back with the Pacers, he may land with the Mavericks (who have shown interest), but Stephenson cost himself big bucks whispering sweet nothings in James’ playoff ear.

Given Blatche’s low-post ability, he would seem great for new Nets coach Lionel Hollins’ ground-and-pound style.

"No, NO, NOOOO," a Nets insider said.

Kerber's best line isn't about the Nets, though. He examines the Magic's signing of Channing Frye for $32 million...

Frye is experienced, can help a desperately young team and is a good locker room presence. A platter of fresh fruit also is a good locker room presence and far cheaper.

Of course, Kerber isn't alone. Mitch Lawrence give the Nets a letter grade of "C", noting among other things, "Losing Shaun Livingston to the Warriors was another setback. Jarrett Jack is an upgrade if he makes the kind of impact he had two seasons ago in Golden State."

And Zach Lowe puts the Nets in his "inertia" category, suggesting that the Nets didn't do much because they couldn't do much, capped out as they are.  He thinks the addition of Sergey Karasev as"a nice touch for Team Russia" and holds out some hope if Lopez and Deron Williams return to good health, but his bottom line is "This team has to reinvent itself again after doing so halfway through last season, and the ceiling doesn’t appear all that high."