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What The Brooklyn Nets Need To Do In Order To Become Competitive

Should Brooklyn trade Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, or Brook Lopez?

Deron Williams (Anthony Gruppuso – USA Today Sports Images)

Deron Williams (Anthony Gruppuso – USA Today Sports Images)


The Brooklyn Nets made the playoffs this season as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference even after finishing the season with a 38-44 record (we are talking about the East so remember that). Brooklyn showed flashes of brilliance during the season but the team was not good enough to really compete with the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Let’s be honest…the Brooklyn Nets roster is flawed. Left are the remnants of what many thought was a championship caliber team that featured Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Throw in a star point guard named Deron Williams, who signed a max contract with Brooklyn, and Joe Johnson, a sharpshooting guard with a huge contract who the Nets traded for just last year. Add in a big man in Brook Lopez and you have what many thought would be a contender for the NBA crown.

What actually happened was a situation where chemistry was an issue during the 2013-2014 season and while coach Jason Kidd got it together, he left the team after last season to join the Milwaukee Bucks after attempting to pull a power play on the Nets. Enter Lionel Hollins who ran into the same chemistry issues that Kidd faced and numerous injuries to “star” players Lopez and Williams. Simply put the Nets are a flawed team that was built to win last year and never again.

Now we hit the summer of 2015 where the Brooklyn Nets are at a crossroads.
Mikhail Prokhorov is reportedly trying to rid himself of the team and many are looking at the Nets as one of the teams that need to be active in not just the draft but in the free agency/trade market in order to improve. Constructed as is, the Nets can not win. We will examine three things that the Brooklyn Nets need to do in order to compete next season in the East. I’m not saying they will win a championship but at least end the season with a winning record. Let’s start with the most obvious action that needs to take place.


Trade Joe Johnson, Deron Williams Or Brook Lopez (Or All Three) As Soon As Possible


This is little easier said than done. For Lopez, he is going into the final year of his contract ($16 million) so that contract may be a little easier to move. For Williams (2 years/$42 million remaining) and Johnson (1 year/$ 24.8 million), the contract and the money remaining on those deals are toxic to any moves the Nets can do unless the Nets eat a good portion of those remaining contracts.

Many say “Why trade three players who are the best on your team?” It’s simple….it just doesn’t work anymore. Williams is a shell of himself and Johnson, while still good, is not consistent enough to be considered a strong number two on any team. You see Williams, Johnson and Lopez and you think a big three but that is far from the case. They could probably get a good haul for Lopez like draft picks and/or younger players the Nets could develop. Good luck to Billy King if he hopes to trade Williams and Johnson for anything more than second round picks and role players with expiring contracts.


Draft Responsibly And Get A Player Who Will Make An Impact


The Nets are set pick 29th in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft. At 29, there is not much in the cupboard for teams in the tail end of the first round. This is where deep scouting comes in and where teams could potentially pick up a possible under the radar player that could become a starter in the year.

The Nets are pretty well stacked at the frontcourt positions but some have the Nets selecting Christian Wood, a power forward from UNLV. If he falls a bit, point guard Tyus Jones out of Duke may be a player that could possibly start for the Nets within two years. Drafting based on potential is always difficult but the Nets need to be very careful when drafting. They need to draft a potential starter and no more role players.


Fire General Manager Billy King


I’m not one to want anyone to lose their job under any circumstances but this is an instance where new blood could do the Nets some good. King has been with the organization since 2010 and while some of the moves King has made have worked out, there have been more bad moves than good moves during King’s tenure (see Gerald Wallace). It just seems like the team was built terribly and now the aftermath of those failed moves is a team that cannot compete anymore.

A young, more vibrant general manager may be the best place to go for a rebuild (I know that is a dirty word). The quicker a rebuild begins with a new regime in the front office, the quicker the Nets could begin to really compete for an Atlantic Division title and possibly an Eastern Conference championship. The Nets will not begin to win until King is relieved of his duties.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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