Increasingly, it looks like the Nets, as suggested by Lionel Hollins and Billy King, will stand pat this week. Despite a lot of punditry that the Nets are desperate to make a deal, save some money, and dump one or more of the "big three," the evidence right now points in the other direction.
Tuesday's report of Detroit reaching out to Brooklyn on a possible deal for Joe Johnson is typical. The Pistons were reportedly interested in sending a seriously injured Brandon Jennings and some unspecific "expiring contracts" to Brooklyn for Johnson. It was a salary dump. Jennings, who rehabbing from achilles surgery, makes only $8.0 million this season, compared to Johnson's $23.2 million, with a similar disparity next year. The Nets would save a lot of money, but there's no guarantee that Jennings, who relies on quickness, would be back up to speed next season. The expirings would include some interesting young pieces, presumably Jonas Jerebko and Kyle Singler, but the real prize, Greg Monroe, was not included in the offer, according to reports.
Other previous proposals like the three way with Charlotte and Oklahoma City involving Brook Lopez and Jarrett Jack were similarly lop-sided. So was a rumored deal involving Johnson and the Hornets. The Nets wouldn't have come away with anyone better than Jeremy Lamb or maybe Lance Stephenson in any of those deals. If the Nets wanted to dump salary, said one league source familiar with the Nets thinking, they've had ample opportunities to do but didn't. He called the Pistons rumor "nothing."
The same league source said, the rest of the league can't believe that the Nets aren't in a fire sale mode. They believe the franchise is on the market and ownership wants to dump salary to make the team more attractive to prospective buyers. But a savings of $10 million or $20 million doesn't amount to even one percent of a $2 billion valuation. And ownership would still prefer to sell a piece, not the controlling interest, in the team, two league sources suggested over the weekend. A third source said Russian ownership would still like to make a go of it and get a ring. It's personal.
That's not to say the front office wouldn't entertain a serious bid for Johnson, Lopez or Deron WIlliams, or make a smaller deal, or bite the bullet and bring back Andray Blatche. It's also possible, the Russians will sell, but for now, things look more static than dynamic. They apparently want to make a playoff run with what they've got.
- 3 questions Nets need answered if they want to make playoffs - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Nets: Deron Williams a profile in frustration - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- NBA trade deadline: Who will and won't get dealt? - Sam Amick & Jeff Zillgitt - USA Today
All In, or Sit Out: NBA Teams Decide as Trade Deadline Nears - AP