Friday, August 13, 2010

The New Depth Chart

With the acquisition of Troy Murphy, and loss of Courtney Lee, there have been some major adjustments to the Nets' depth chart, mostly at the SG and PF positions. Here is the adjusted depth chart, with the remaining non-guaranteed contracts in brackets.
- Devin Harris / Jordan Farmar / [Ben Uzoh]
SG - Anthony Morrow / Terrence Williams
SF - Travis Outlaw / Damion James
PF - Troy Murphy / Derrick Favors / [Sean May]
C - Brook Lopez / Johan Petro / [Brian Zoubek]

SG - I gave the starting nod to Morrow over Terrence Williams because of his superior shooting skills. I do see Williams challenging him for the starting spot, though, because his play making skills have developed well this summer.

PF - The Nets finally have a starting-quality PF. What a relief, even though Murphy is the opposite style that the Nets hope to develop Favors in to. He can rebound and spread the floor; a great compliment to the force of Brook Lopez. This takes a lot of pressure off of Derrick Favors to develop. Also, I see no more role for Sean May... Although he is a decent third string PF.


Nerves About Avery Johnson

I like Avery Johnson as a coach, but I worry that his overbearing and controlling style is going to clash with the existing infrastructure in the Nets' front office. I am curious to see how his relationship with Billy King develops, and if there is any friction between them.

Ultimately, I don't think anything can be realized until the season starts, and I feel like tension would only develop if the Nets keep losing.

What do you all think?

The King Has Arrived

Billy King has pulled the trigger on his first transaction as GM... And I love it.

Breakdown of the Nets' portion of the deal:
Nets Get:
Troy Murphy (from Indiana)

Nets Lose:
Courtney Lee (to Houston)
-Cap Space

The Nets FINALLY have a starting-caliber PF. Although they had to sacrifice a promising young piece in Courtney Lee, it opens up playing time and a better role for Terrence Williams.

I have been a big fan of Murphy's for quite a few years, and always liked his length and rebounding skills. He was not challenged in Golden State and Indiana because of bad management and coaching. I think that Avery Johnson, and the opportunity to be a vet on a very young team, will help maximize his abilities.

"The Nets solidified their starting lineup Wednesday by acquiring power forward Troy Murphy in a trade that likely shattered the Knicks' hope of landing Chris Paul.
The Nets sent Courtney Lee to the Rockets as part of the four-team deal, while James Posey andDarren Collison went toPacers and Trevor Ariza landed with the Hornets.
Collison, 22, was the Hornets' only viable backup point guard, and one of their few excuses to part ways with Paul. His departure virtually ensures New Orleans won't send its franchise player anywhere - including to one of his preferred destinations, the Knicks - despite Paul's rumored discontent. By acquiring Ariza - a former NBA champion entering his prime - the Hornets are hoping to alleviate some of Paul's concerns about the direction of the franchise.
While the Knicks fell further away from forming their own Big Three, the Nets finally secured the power forward they've been trying to land all offseason. Not only does Murphy, 30, bring a double-double to the lineup (averaging 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds last season), but Nets GM Billy Kinghopes theSparta, N.J., product by way of Notre Dame will be a veteran mentor to first-round pickDerrick Favors.
"This gave us a player that could help teach Derrick about the power forward position, he can complement Brook (Lopez)," King said. "He's a proven pro, a great rebounder, can shoot the three, and it was something that I felt when you have a chance to get big men in this league you have to go for it, because there's not a lot of good big men in this league and I think you win in this league with big men and you win with rebounding."
The Nets exchanged youth for experience as the 24-year-old Lee played just one season in New Jersey, averaging 12.5 points and 3.5 rebounds. Murphy's $12 million salary eats up all but $2.5 million of the salary cap. However, his contract expires at the end of the season - leaving the Nets with enough money to make a pitch for Carmelo Anthony next offseason.
"We still have flexibility," King said.
Lee's departure also clears up more playing time for the talented Terrence Williams, 23, who will compete with Anthony Morrow for the starting two-guard spot."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Proposition to New Orleans for Chris Paul

Hornets Get:

Devin Harris

Terrence Williams

Kris Humpries

+Nets 2011 1st Round Pick (From Warriors M. Williams Trade)

Nets Get:

Chris Paul

Emeka Okafor

First, why NO wont:

Chris Paul is the face of the franchise. He is the leader that brought them back after Katrina and the soul of the team. Plus, there is no need for another PG, with the emergence of sophomore Daren Collison.

Why they would:

Chris Paul is expensive. The team just got sold and they are looking to cut costs. Okafor's contract is a whale, and at this point, it would probably be better to blow it up and rebuild. Darren Collison is good, but he still needs to develop his decision making. Devin Harris' contract only has 2 more years left, and that could be enough time. CP3 is likely to leave when he can opt out anyway, so they might as well get something good for him. Terrence Williams is a tremendous talent that could be the wing player they are looking for because Peja is pretty much done. Humphries is an expiring contract, and the pick is likely to be good. (come on, it's from GS)

Why the Nets would:

CP3 is the all-star the Nets are looking for. He could lead this young squad and be a monster on both ends. Okafor is a defensive stalwart, and had some very productive years in Charlotte. He could focus on D and let Lopez develop his post game.

Why the Nets would not:

Okafor's contract is long, and this could stunt Favors' growth. Also, the Hornets would most likely want Favors in any deal. That being said, the only way they are going to get CP3 is if they take on Okafor's contract too.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Buyer's Remorse: Contracts For Sale

Buyers remorse is a common theme in the NBA. Many times, when a team signs a star to a bad contract, or said star does not live up to the hype, they look to dump them on a team with cap space. The most recent examples of this practice during the off-season have been Al Jefferson and Hedo Turkgolu to Utah and Phoenix, respectively. Currently, the Nets have ~$15 million in cap space remaining.

Here are some players whose teams are unhappy buyers:

Gilbert Arenas - Washington Wizards
(2010-11 Salary $17,730,694 million /4 years remaining)
Two words: John Wall. Gil-Zero signed his $100+ million contract when the late Abe Pollin was still the owner of the Wizards. After a year that put his personal life and professional career through the meat grinder, Wall has made this former face of the franchise expendable. The Nets need someone that can score at will, and Arenas could use a new start. He could play SG, and provide NJ some legitimate star power.

Baron Davis - L.A. Clippers
(2010-11 Salary $13,050,000 million /3 years remaining)
Davis signed with his hometown Clippers with the intention of playing alongside Elton Brand. After Brand spurned the Clippers for Philadelphia, and some seriously underwhelming years on an injury-riddled squad, it is known that L.A. is shopping Davis. He is a better shooter than Devin Harris, and would make a good inside/outside tandem with Brook Lopez.

Rip Hamilton - Detroit Pistons
(2010-11 Salary $12,650,000 million /3 years remaining)
Detroit is looking to rebuild, and Hamilton is one of the last pieces left over from the powerhouse team that led the East for so many years. Even though he is coming off of a season hampered by injury, he is a leader and a winner. Plus, he could work well with Avery Johnson defensively.

Elton Brand - Philadelphia 76ers
(2010-11 Salary $15,959,099 million /3 years remaining)
If the Nets can steal away Brand for spare parts, it would be ideal. He is a dominant scorer/rebounder, even though he has not lived up to his contract. After a season of ups and downs, he could use a change of scenery. He would be a great mentor for Derrick Favors and be a solid veteran presence on the roster.

Andrei Kirilenko - Utah Jazz
(2010-2011 Salary $17,882,187 /expiring)
It is time for the Nets to make the Russian connection. Beyond Prokhy, this contract would be ideal for New Jersey; it is expiring, and Kirilenko would fit in perfectly. He can play PF and is a crazy stat stuffer. He has the ability to go for a 5/5 (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks) on any given night. Once his contract expires, Derrick Favors can step right in.

Emeka Okafor - New Orleans Hornets
(2010-11 Salary $11,540,375 million /4 years remaining)
Okafor is a defensive stalwart, and had some very productive years in Charlotte. Him focusing on defense would allow Lopez to focus on his post game and scoring. That being said, his contract is too rich for too long (preventing re-tradability), which would prevent Favors from stepping in to the starting lineup.

Marcin Gortat - Orlando Magic
(2010-11 Salary $6,322,320 million /4 years remaining)
"The Polish Hammer" is upset about his playing time in Orlando. With his strength and attitude, he can play as a solid defensive PF without the need to score. I think he can start alongside Brook Lopez, and go back to the bench when it is time for Favors to step up.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reviewing The Summer League

The Good
Terrence Williams - Terrence Williams, if utilized properly, will be a superstar. He rocked the summer league, and showed his versatility passing and scoring. If anything, the greatest outcome of his progression this off-season is that his trade value has skyrocketed. The Nets are 2/3 deep at most positions, and even though Terrence Williams is an incredible talent, he may or may not have a place in the rotation.

Damion James - I am a very big fan of 4-year college players. James had the composure and look of a second-year vet during the summer league. He got to the line over 9 times a game, and averaged 19 ppg through 4 games. (Second only to Terrence Williams) He has flawlessly translated to the small forward position. He is shaping up to be an immediate contributor off of the bench this season. A great pickup for New Jersey.

Brian Zoubek - An efficient big man that showed hustle and great on-court presence. He is hungry for an opportunity, and it was evident in Orlando. I think that he has a real chance to challenge Petro as Lopez's primary backup.

Derrick Favors' last game - A flash of Favors' potential. If his 23/11 is something that he can contribute on a semi-consistent basis, the Nets finally have their sidekick for Brook Lopez.

The Bad
Derrick Favors' first 4 games - Favors struggled with poor shot selection and foul trouble for his first four games in Orlando. It wasn't unexpected, although, because he is a raw talent that needs to be shaped into the Dwight Howard-lite that he can be.

The Outlook
The future is sunny for the New Jersey Nets.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Filling The Roster

Projected Starters:
PG- Devin Harris
SG- Courtney Lee
SF- Travis Outlaw
PF- Derrick Favors
C- Brook Lopez

Terrence Williams
Damion James
Kris Humphries
Quinton Ross
Anthony Morrow
Johan Petro
Jordan Farmar
Brian Zoubek
Ben Uzoh

Assuming that Zoubek and Uzoh make the final roster, there is one roster spot left on the Nets.


1. A Power Forward
The Nets need size while Derrick Favors develops. While they could make due without one, a veteran PF would be ideal for the last roster spot. If nothing else, I think that Josh Boone would be a good pickup for this spot.

2. Veteran Leadership
The Nets are young...very young. They need a veteran and a winner to help foster the young players. Right now, the most playoff experienced players on the roster are Jordan Farmar and Devin Harris. Granted, they have both played in the Finals (Harris in 2006; Farmar in 2008, 2009, & 2010), they are only 23 and 27, respectively.

3. A "Glue Guy"
With so many new players, team chemistry needs to be re-established. Every team has a "Glue Guy"; a veteran with the respect of his teammates and the personality to help individual egos mesh.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Free Agency: Who's Left For NJ? (Small Forwards)

From "The Decision" to Carlos Boozer spurning the Nets, I thought I would gather a list of some of the more interesting free agents left on the market that I think could fit in well on the Nets.

Small Forwards - As of now, Travis Outlaw is the Nets' starting SF. Avery Johnson has considered playing Damion James at the 3, but he still has to work on his quickness to be able to guard the position. Johnson also said that he would not be playing Terrence Williams at the 3. I am not completely sold on Outlaw as a starter, so here are a few free agent stars and one project that I think could work in New Jersey.

* Josh Howard - Howard fell from grace quickly in Dallas with injury and attitude problems, and was traded to Washington in February for Caron Butler. He flourished in Dallas under Avery Johnson, maybe it could happen again. If the Nets get him on a short, cheap contract, Outlaw could start at the 4 while Derrick Favors develops. He has been very underrated in this free agency period, and may come cheap.

* Tracy McGrady - Tracy McGrady still has something left in the tank, I do believe that. Most coaches do too, and wouldn't leave him single-teamed or wide open. Plus, I think he could sell come tickets. He is looking for some minutes and would come much cheaper than his $20+ million salary from last season.

* Richard Jefferson - One of the best Nets in the past decade. He is strong, can cut well, and is hungry to prove himself after a terrible season. He really wants to play in the area. The only downside is that he is going to want a long contract for security. He may have been a better pickup than Outlaw, but is probably out of the Nets' price range.

*Joe Alexander - I really really wanted the Nets to get Alexander in the RJ trade two seasons ago. He came in to the NBA in the Richard Jefferson mold; a long, nice shooting forward with plenty of vertical leap. He didn't get the proper development in Milwaukee and Chicago, and is looking for a second chance.

Fun fact: He was born in, and spent most of his life in China... Where the Nets just happen play in the preseason and just lost a connection to the market by trading Yi.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Nets Sign Jordan Farmar!

Yes Yes Yes! The Nets signed Jordan Farmar! He was signed cheap, for just $12 million over 3 years. He is a solid backup that can even play alongside Devin Harris for stretches in a game. Farmar can start, providing insurance just in case Harris ever gets injured (like he is prone to).

Nets agree to terms with Lakers G Jordan Farmar

"EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—Guard Jordan Farmar(notes) of the NBA champion Lakers has agreed to join the Nets.

New Jersey added another low-profile free agent Sunday after the NBA’s worst team last season, with more than $30 million to spend, struck out in its bid to lure LeBron James(notes), Chris Bosh(notes) or Dwyane Wade(notes).

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Farmar averaged 6.9 points and 2.1 assists in 18.1 minutes in four years with the Lakers.

The agreement is contingent on Farmar passing a physical.

The Nets also have reached deals with center Johan Petro(notes) and forward Travis Outlaw(notes)."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Free Agency: Who's Left For NJ? (Power Forwards)

From "The Decision" to Carlos Boozer spurning the Nets on Thursday, I thought I would gather a list of some of the more interesting free agents left on the market that I think could fit in well on the Nets.

Power Forwards - It is no secret that the Nets have been lacking at the PF position since the departure of Kenyon Martin to Denver in 2004. Derrick Favors needs time to develop, but until then, they need someone to battle alongside Brook Lopez.

* Luis Scola (Restricted) - Scola had a great season in Houston this year with Yao out, averaging 16/9. He is also a warrior, playing in a 246/246 games in his three NBA seasons. He is a 7-footer and legitimate starter and would be the perfect fit for NJ. The one catch is that he is a Restricted Free-Agent, and Houston has the right to, and probably will match any offer put out for him.

*Al Harrington - I am a really big fan of Harrington because he can play big, but also shoot the ball well. He can get buckets, spread the floor, and rebound if he really wants to. It doesn't hurt that he is a New Jersey native.

*Udonis Haslem - Haslem is a long shot, as he committed to sign wherever Dwayne Wade did this off season. The Nets have been in contact with his agent, and if they are able to sign him away, he could be the perfect compliment to Brook Lopez. He is tough, stubborn, and battle tested.

*Brian Scalabrine - "Veal", as he was affectionately known during his time in New Jersey, was a fan favorite. He didn't do much in his five years in Boston, but if the Nets can get him for the minimum, he could provide a consistent punchline throughout the season.

Free Agency: Who's Left For NJ? (Centers)

From "The Decision" to Carlos Boozer spurning the Nets on Thursday, I thought I would gather a list of some of the more interesting free agents left on the market that I think could fit in well on the Nets.

Centers - The Nets need to toughen up the front line and get Brook Lopez a solid backup.

* Shaquille O’Neal - One of the best big men to ever play in the NBA. He is at the end of his playing career and could be willing to come off of the bench. He has the experience to mentor Brook Lopez well, and the personality to provide attention for Prokhy. Plus, the Nets will be playing in his hometown of Newark for the next two years.

* Fabricio Oberto - A serviceable big man that played well alongside Tim Duncan in San Antonio. He is older (35) and kind of slow, but can be solid for 15 minutes per night and a big body in the middle.

* Francisco Elson - Elson had some solid stints in Denver and San Antonio a few seasons ago. He has been a career backup behind the likes of Marcus Camby, Andrew Bogut, and Tim Duncan, and could be a good veteran big to have on the bench.

* Zydrunas Ilgauskas - Big Z was forced in to a reserve role behind Shaq last season in Cleveland. Upset by the Jamison trade in February, but especially with the departure of LBJ, it looks like he could be headed elsewhere. He can still contribute, and he is a great team leader.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Nets Sign Johan Petro

The Nets have signed C Johan Petro to a 3-year/$10 million deal. A 7-foot center, Petro is a 5-year NBA veteran and will back up Brook Lopez. I have mixed emotions about this, as it could signal the end of Josh Boone's time in New Jersey. Let's hope Rod Thorn saw something special in Petro.

By TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer

"EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—The New Jersey Nets have reached a contract agreement with centerJohan Petro(notes).

The Nets did not announce the terms of the deal Saturday, but an NBA official with knowledge of the agreement tells The Associated Press the contract is for $10 million over three years. The official requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the team.

Petro will be a backup for Brook Lopez(notes). Petro averaged 5.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in five seasons with Seattle-Oklahoma City and Denver.

The agreement is contingent on Petro passing a physical.

Petro is a second free agent to agree to a contract with the Nets. Small forward Travis Outlaw(notes) got a five-year, $35 million contract Thursday.

“We are very pleased to add Johan to our roster,” said Thorn. “He is a young player with a defensive presence who should fit well into our frontcourt rotation.”

A native of Paris, Petro averaged 3.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 12.1 minutes for the Nuggets..."