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NBA.com on Brooklyn Nets: The bill for crazy spending has come due

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NBA.com has started its annual "30 teams in 30 days," not quite the final prediction or season preview, but as the italics say, "NBA.com will evaluate the state of each franchise in the month of September with a look at 30 teams in 30 days.."

So Shaun Powell, formerly of Newsday, gets to do the Nets in this context.  As he writes...

This summer was known more for a big subtraction than an addition. They washed their hands this summer of Deron Williams, a pouting, declining former star who never embraced the idea of being a franchise player in the big city.

The $27.5 million buyout, from what we can tell, remains the second biggest in NBA history, just behind the New Jersey Nets buyout of Dikembe Mutombo.

Powell thinks the Nets fate is written in its profligate ways on arrival in Brooklyn, reciting the dismal facts on missing picks, big losses, etc.  It's not a new analysis: A Google search for "Brooklyn Nets 'mortgaged their future.'" yields 1,570 returns, including the Powell article

So the Nets hopes are pinned on on a summer of trying to make up for it all by "loading up on someone else's mistakes: Thomas Robinson, Andrea Bargnani and Shane Larkin."   Powell does like that the kids are "hungry and desperate to get their careers moving in the right direction, unlike Williams" and thinks that Brook Lopez deal is reasonable .... but suggests the Thaddeus Young contract is less so.

Bottom line: "Most likely, this team is headed to the lottery, except there's no incentive to tank because they have no pick."

Meanwhile, Tim Bontemps is counting down the 30 teams on his Facebook page. He has them at No. 21 among the 30.

As we draw closer to the start of training camp, I'm going to count down the 30 NBA teams – as I see them – heading into the 2015-16 season.

Next up ...

21. Brooklyn Nets

2014-15 record: 38-44

Key arrivals: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris McCullough (draft), Thomas Robinson, Shane Larkin, Andrea Bargnani, Wayne Ellington, Donald Sloan, Willie Reed (free agency)

Key departures: Mason Plumlee (traded to Portland), Deron Williams (waived via the stretch provision), Alan Anderson, Mirza Teletovic, Cory Jefferson (free agency)

Player to watch: Brook Lopez

Initial outlook: The Nets are betting the house on chemistry triumphing over cold, hard numbers.

The removal of Deron Williams – after agreeing to a buyout of the final two years of his contract, paying him roughly $27.5 of the $43.5 million he was owed – means that the Nets are not only under the luxury tax for the first time since moving to Brooklyn in 2012, but also enter the season with one of the league’s weaker point guard rotations.

They’ll be hoping to offset that with a full healthy season for Brook Lopez – who returned to All-Star form for the final 50 games of last season – as well as increased contributions from starting wings Joe Johnson and Bojan Bogdanovic, both of whom should see more time handling the ball and will, along with Lopez, be focal points of the offense. They’ll likely be one of several teams in the mix for the final playoff spot in the East, but odds are they’ll fall short of a fourth straight postseason appearance.