Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gift wrapped for Brooklyn: The 2008-2009 New Jersey Nets

I have always been resistant to change.

Even if I knew it was coming a mile away.

Last February, I got the opportunity to see the Nets at their best for what turned out to be their last time together against a major opponent.

And with the trade deadline looming, there were already some notable changes on their roster as the Nets shipped forward/center Jason Collins to Memphis for underachieving forward Stromile Swift. A few days later, team captain Jason Kidd followed suit when New Jersey sent him back to the very team that drafted him (Dallas Mavericks) for Devin Harris and other players.

Change was coming.

I just didn’t know how fast.

Nets Team President Rod Thorn and the rest of the Nets brain trust have been very busy this off-season. Having traded away their franchise’s second all-time leading scorer—Richard Jefferson to the Milwaukee Bucks for China’s Yi Jianlian and underachieving forward Bobby Simmons.

The Nets also did very well for themselves in the 2008 NBA Draft after they bagged Stanford’s 7’0’’ center Brook Lopez at #10, 6’10’’ forward Ryan Anderson at #21, and arguably the steal of the draft at #40—Memphis scoring guard-forward Chris “CDR” Douglas-Roberts.

Rod Thorn didn’t stop there as he also allowed forward Bostjan “Boki” Nachbar to sign with a Russian team and sent guard Marcus Williams to the Golden State Warriors for a future lottery-protected 1st round pick.

With that said, the only Nets left from last season’s roster are Darrell Armstrong, Josh Boone, Nenad Krstic, Sean Williams, Vincent Lamar Carter and his $61.8 million dollar extension. Of those five players, only Boone, Williams, and Carter are certain to make the final roster.

The New Jersey Nets have certainly positioned themselves well for the unrestricted free agent boon of 2010 that will feature the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr., Steve Nash, Joe Johnson, Walter Ray Allen, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Manu Ginobili, Tracy McGrady, and for what it’s worth, Shaquille O’Neal. This list can further increase if players who hold Early Termination Options (ETO) in their existing contracts decide to exercise them. They are Amare Stoudemire, Michael Redd, Tyson Chandler, Richard Jefferson, Yao Ming, and Dirk Nowitzki.

If the Nets don’t land LeBron James in 2010.

They are not short on alternatives from the wealth of talent on that list.

Kudos to the Nets brain trust on their foresight.

Brooklyn may not only be getting a team two years from now.

But a solid contender.


- DeSagana Diop and the Dallas Mavericks agreed on a five-year, $31 million deal (the team’s full midlevel exception) last July 9, 2008. It will be Diop’s second stint with the Mavericks after being a part of the Jason Kidd-Devin Harris deal six months earlier

- What exactly did the Nets get in the Marcus Williams deal? Fred Kerber of shares that “if the Warriors are in the playoffs in 2011, the Nets get their first round pick. So it’s lottery-protected in 2011.

He adds “if the Nets are still waiting for the pick in 2012, they get G. State’s first rounder, as long as it’s not 1-through 11. If they’re still waiting in 2013, they get the first rounder as long as it’s not 1-through-10. But 2013 is the cutoff. If they haven’t gotten the pick by then they get two second rounders, in 2013 and 2015.”

Sounds as shady as Marcus Camby being dealt for a 2nd round pick, if you know what I mean.

- Lastly, at the age of 40, guard Darrell Armstrong won’t be back with the Nets for the upcoming 2008-2009 NBA season.

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