Everybody has ideas about the Nets future. Mikhail Prokhorov thinks adding "one, two players" and "a lot of luck" could get them back into championship contention. That's a stretch -- and we're being kind. Most of the punditry goes in the opposite direction. Forget trying to attract free agents and blow it up, dumping Brook Lopez and/or Thaddeus Young.
The latest prescriptions come from Hoopshype and the Wall Street Journal ... and one suggested by Mika Honkasalo of Hoopshype offers a different perspective on the Nets misery. He agrees with the Nets strategy of going for free agents over blowing it up ... but with a twist. Forget the big guys. Forget blowing it up -- trading everyone for draft picks and younger players -- overpay if you must, but go younger.
Blowing it up, he writes, will just prolong the misery.
A 'getting whatever you can' attitude isn’t as helpful as it sounds ... After all, the Nets are at least four drafts away from picking high-level prospects, and getting two or three of them over multiple years and waiting them to develop could add another four seasons into the process. Now, we’re in 2023 territory before the Nets could potentially look to contend.
Going after top free agents isn't likely to help much either, Honkasalo argues.
The Nets have the opportunity to chase Mike Conley, DeMar DeRozan and Al Horford, but are very unlikely to hit on any of them, and their team is so bad getting one still wouldn’t make Brooklyn a contender. They’d have to get one of the best free agents this summer, convince him to wait before there’s a real chance to compete in 2017, where the Nets might have the opportunity to snag another one.
He fears that if the Nets fail at attracting the stars of free agency, they will overpay for lesser --or older-- lights.
The bigger temptation comes with the second tier of free agents. Someone will pay Nicolas Batum max-money, and Kent Bazemore and Ryan Anderson are likely to entice big money as well. Pau Gasol is a big name and perhaps the best example of a player the Nets could decide to go all-in on with terrible consequences, given that Gasol turns 36 soon and has shown significant signs of decline this season.
Instead, he proposes a "creative solution" --overpaying free agents, yes, but using that money on restricted free agents, scaring off the players' current teams by offering big contracts. He names several who could be interesting.... "very gettable players like Jared Sullinger, Meyers Leonard, Evan Fournier, Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, and perhaps even Harrison Barnes if a max offer was extended to him."
Perhaps going after younger restricted free agents just coming off their rookie contracts would fit the Nets’ timetable better. By the time they start drafting again, those players will be right in their prime and presumably have the highest value for the Nets as players or trade chips, in case the opportunity arises to then support the rebuild with by having established pieces and drafting around them or moving those players for additional assets to jumpstart the rebuild again."
Alex Raskin of the Journal breaks down the roster on a stay or go basis, suggesting who might be valuable in a trade scenario and noting that some players who don't look good now may fit better with a prospective GM's plan. He cites, for example, Bryan Colangelo's love of undersized but speedy point guards. Think T.J. Ford. Would Shane Larkin appeal to Colangelo?
How soon before Nets have a new GM to make decisions like that. At the earliest, think All-Star Break. At the latest, end of the regular season. Until, we can all speculate.