Jason Kidd leaves Nets for the Bucks
Think we beat this horse to death? Yes, but on the other hand, the Nets did get to replenish their second round stockpile, getting back their own second rounder in 2015 and the Bucks in 2019.
Nets trade for three second-round picks, draft Markel Brown, Xavier Thames, and Cory Jefferson
The Nets had a fantastic draft, all things considered. The team spent nearly $2 million --that was going to be lost by the end of the night-- to acquire three second rounders, all of whom the team had higher on their internal mock than others ... and where they ended up on Draft Night.
Brown has the most upside of the three considering he brings athleticism to the Nets backcourt that is in desperate need of some --especially with Shaun Livingston gone. Brown said he wants to play point guard, which may be a tough task with the the roster as constructed. So can he be more as a 3-and-D type player? His three-point shooting has been on an upward trend all four years at Oklahoma State, peaking at just under 38% last season. In the summer league, he hit 40 percent, from NBA range.
Brown is not an advanced ball handler. So playing behind the likes of Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack should give him time to grow into a potential point guard option, if that's what the team sees as his NBA position. His best trait on offense is finishing at the rim. Picture this: when the floor is spread for Joe Johnson or Brook Lopez to operate one-on-one, Brown can make the cut to the rim and finish. His defense is a big reason the Nets drafted him, and with his length and a defensive-minded coach, Brown could become much better.
Cory Jefferson is an intriguing prospect for the Nets. The team is pretty set at power forward with Mason Plumlee likely making the transition down to the four, Andrei Kirilenko and Mirza Teletovic likely playing a good chunk of their time there and Kevin Garnett may start. Still, Jefferson could find rotational minutes in Brooklyn this season. His mid-range game is promising, plus he can take his game beyond the arc at times. The Baylor senior connected on 37% of his three-point attempts last season even though it was only 38 attempts. Jefferson can be a solid pick-and-roll big man considering he can roll to the basket or step back to hit a 15 footer. His defense is where the most question marks appear. He has great athleticism, with a Blake Griffin-like 37.5" max vertical but is he quick enough? Despite a good frame, could he get killed by stretch-four's at the next level? With time, and a limited role in year one, Jefferson is a low-risk prospect that can prosper learning behind the likes of Garnett and Kirilenko.
Xavier Thames struggled in Orlando with the summer league team and with the team now having 15 guys signed; it is tough to see him getting a contract with the team. A bit of a tweener at both guard positions, Thames is likely only a training camp invite.
Nets sign Lionel Hollins
Should the Nets have hired Lionel Hollins last summer? Sure, but the team was looking for a man that could carry them for possibly the next decade. Oh, how things changed.
That's in the past now. Hollins is here and is the perfect fit for this Nets roster. The Nets need help on the defensive end, something Kidd tried, but something that Hollins has a reputation for. The Nets ranked in the bottom half of the league in points allowed per 100 possessions and the team relied on Kevin Garnett to protect the rim. With Brook Lopez back, that's something that won't happen again.
Hollins worked wonders with his Memphis teams until being released two years ago, taking a team far less talented than others in the West to the conference finals. The Nets have a number of "minus" defenders, but Hollins should be able to work them into a better defensive scheme.
Hollins has said he wants the team to play at a faster pace, which can benefit a roster that now has younger, more athletic players who can run the floor well ... or at all. The team is currently reliant on the likes of Williams, Lopez and Joe Johnson on offense, all of whom are capable scorers on the own and can create for themselves. Hollins won't need to revamp the whole offense. The players can do that.
This was the right signing for Brooklyn. Hollins is a hard-working, smart coach, who gets the best out of his players. He may have been signed a year too late, but he is here now, and all signs point to him coaching a playoff-bound team.
Shaun Livingston signs with the Golden State Warriors
This one hurt. Livingston was probably the most instrumental player to the Nets' turnaround in 2014 with his solid play as co-point guard alongside Deron Williams. It made sense for Livingston to leave and take the financially better offer from the Warriors, but that didn't help the Nets.
Livingston was also the Nets backcourt defensive ace as he played both point and shooting guards while also being a versatile offensive player, even if lacking a three-point shot. Livingston with his height and length was unstoppable in the paint. scoring 1.15 points per possession on his 96 post ups last season, fourth best in the entire league. At 6'7", no guard could contain him.
He will be greatly missed, but good for him going out and getting that long overdue paycheck.
I think this trade is better then what people think. The Nets were going to move Marcus Thornton before next June anyway, whether this summer or at the trade deadline. His $8 million expiring contract and his emerging game with Brooklyn made him a great value trade asset for teams looking to have long-term cap space and get a quality player back. He's also only 26.
The Nets got Jack, who they were long rumored to be interested in. He does have a little bit less money on the books than Thornton this season but is signed for two more years after this one ... although that third year only guaranteed for $500,000, something very key for a front office looking at the 2016 free agent class. Brooklyn also got Russian guard Sergey Karasev, who the team would have taken a long look at at pick No. 22 in last year's draft. Instead, he went at No. 19, and Fran Fraschilla said Monday could have been in the top seven in this year's draft.
Jack is a key piece for this team with Livingston heading to the Warriors. Jack will back up Williams at point guard while also having the ability to slide up to play shooting guard ... which he did quite often with the Warriors "Spash Brothers" two seasons ago. Jack isn't Livingston. They have two completely different frames and Jack lacks Livingston's defensive talent, but Jack can take his game beyond the arc, something necessary for a Nets team that must value spacing.
Karasev is an intriguing player. He was a non-factor in Cleveland last season and he may be a year or two away from being a serious contributor although his countryman Andrei Kirilenko said Monday he should be aggressive this year. That being said, for a 20-year-old, his instincts are off the charts and he is an adept three-point shooter. and excellent interior passer. Similar to Cory Jefferson, he may have a limited role. Those not so high expectations can help Karasev build his confidence and get acclimated with the veteran Brooklyn roster.
Nets let Paul Pierce go; retain Alan Anderson
As a free agent, Paul Pierce was in a holding pattern until LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony decided their fate. Many penciled in Pierce to return to Brooklyn considering he finished the year strong.
However, Pierce bolted for the nation's capital, signing with the Wizards for the mid-level exception.The Nets, shockingly decided to pass. Several teams were courting Pierce, but the Nets were always seen as the favorite since they could pay Pierce more than any other team. The former Finals MVP took the deal with Washington because maybe other offers never materialized and Doc Rivers couldn't make things work in L.A.. Brooklyn didn't feel the need to pay Pierce as much, with salary and luxury taxes, as the Cavaliers are paying LeBron this season. Ownership and the front office were right in doing so. After looking at the facts, particularly the money and the uncertainty of how much he contribute in that second year, the Nets made the right decision to let Pierce walk.
Pierce aged faster than I imagined this past year. His defense with the Nets was as bad as any in 15 years, particularly at the 3. Pierce, a notorious slow starter, also struggled the first half of the season to find his rhythm with the likes of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.
After spending the most money on an NBA team ever last season, the Nets are trying to be more frugal this summer. Retaining Pierce at a high price was just too much, particularly in the second year of the contract. His presence in the locker room will be missed more than his on-court talent. Bojan Bogdanovic now has a chance to develop while Andrei Kirilenko and Mirza Teletovic can also be on the floor now.
The team moved quickly to re-sign Alan Anderson following the Pierce departure. Anderson's deal is one of the best bargains this summer in the NBA. Take Anthony Morrow. He averaged eight points in 18 minutes as a three-point specialist with the New Orleans Pelicans last season. His defense was subpar. He landed a three-year, $10 million dollar deal with the Thunder. Anderson averaged seven points while playing 23 minutes per game as the Nets first guard off the bench and got two years and $3 million from the Nets. Anderson is a maddening player at times, but there is no denying that he was crucial to the Nets success last season. He played well above expectations and was a key cog in the Nets game six and seven wins over the Raptors in the postseason. Anderson can do a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor.
Locking AA up was key as he was a great teammate and can play multiple positions. Getting him back meant the Nets were keeping a leader, but more importantly keeping in tact part of last seasons teams' nucleus.
Nets sign Bojan Bogdanovic
Say bye to Paul Pierce and hello to Bojan Bogdanovic. The Nets are extremely high on the 6'8" Croatian forward and hope that with Pierce now gone, he can come into his own with this Nets team. My opening night starter at small forward is Bogdanovic considering he has ideal size for a small forward and his skill set is built for the 3. He can hit the open three while also beating his man off the dribble. Bogdanovic's defense is a bit worrisome, but with a defensive-minded coach like Lionel Hollins at the helm, the second-round pick in 2011 can come into his own on that side of the ball.
The Nets are paying Bogdanovic similarly to what the Orlando Magic are paying Aaron Gordon, so the bar is set high for him. But at 25, he should be hitting his prime as soon as this season, meaning he should be able to make an impact quickly.
Did the Nets get worse this offseason?. They lost two starters and once again have to build a new system. Many are too quick to say this team is in a free fall. But if Brook Lopez and Deron Williams are back at all-star levels ... and Joe Johnson plays like he did last season, in the Eastern Conference, this is still a playoff team. Lionel Hollins has coached worse Memphis Grizzlies teams to the postseason in the much more competitive Western Conference. Another key to this offseason was the fact that the Nets tempered their expectations and tried to get younger. The team is on average about two years younger than they were last season.
The Nets had a reality check this summer. Some won't like the direction Brooklyn is taking because they aren't openly chasing a title anymore, but this needed to happen for the organization to prosper long term.