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David Aldridge: Nets summer 16th best in NBA

New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

As we’ve noted, the Nets off-season didn’t produce a superstar or even a starter on next year’s team. Instead, it was about the future, dumping salary in 2019 and adding draft picks —four of them, a first and three seconds from 2019 through 2021.

Still, David Aldridge believes that the Nets summer was the 16th best among the NBA’s 30 clubs, ahead of the Bulls and Wizards and just behind the Clippers and the Hawks. The rankings take in every move teams made from their end of last season through last week, meaning the Draft, free agent signings and trades.

Aldridge likes that the Nets went for smart players on short-term deals specifically citing Ed Davis and Treveon Graham. And of course, he likes planning for the next off-season.

If you love Ed Davis like smart people who know basketball do, Brooklyn makes the top half by bringing the ex-Blazer in on a short deal. If he plays great, he’ll cost the Nets a pretty penny in 2019, but Brooklyn has to take chances on guys who can outperform their contracts. The only thing the Nets couldn’t do was take on more ’19 salary when they’ll be in line to potentially add two max players. Won’t be easy to lure the elites, but Brooklyn also has accumulated enough assets to be able to make uneven trades for salaries if need be. In the interim comes next season, with coach Kenny Atkinson needing to continue to develop diamonds in the rough like Graham, who Cleveland wanted and who will help the Nets at multiple positions.

Aldridge also pointed up the value of having Joe Tsai as a “joint” owner. Tsai bought 49 percent of the team for $1.1 billion earlier this year. He is listed on the Nets directory as “Owner, Alternate Governor,” while Mikhail Prokhorov is “Owner, Governor.”

The writer also seems to hint that Tsai is a bit of an insurance policy should something happen to Prokhorov.

Calling Tsai the team’s “Key Man,” Aldridge writes...

The Alibaba executive and billionaire has 49 percent of the team, and can buy majority control from Mikhail Prokhorov by 2021. Until then, they’ll run the team jointly, so no matter Prokhorov’s ups and downs, Brooklyn’s financial spigot should never run dry. Tsai reportedly has designs on expanding the Nets’ brand further in China, just as Prokhorov believed the Nets had global reach. They didn’t, at least not the post-KG and Pierce squads.

It’s the second time in a week that Aldridge offered Nets fans some optimism. Last Monday, he argued that the Nets have a shot at Kawhi Leonard next July. “I think Leonard will give the Nets a fair hearing next July,” he wrote.