The Brooklyn Nets are in the worst situation in the NBA. The Boston Celtics own their 2016 and 2018 unprotected first-round picks and a pick swap in 2017. They can’t build through the draft and don’t have the talent to make the playoffs or recruit big named free agents. The only thing they have is cap space. The Nets only have six players under contract and lose Joe Johnson’s $21 million cap hit. The only way the Nets make noise next season is if they overpay on the open market. There are plenty of NBA players that only sign for money. Let’s take a look at the offseason ahead for the Nets.
C Brook Lopez
The most valuable player on the Brooklyn Nets is Brook Lopez. With limited future draft picks, Lopez is the only player who could be traded for a large value. Lopez joins DeMarcus Cousins as one of two centers that averaged over 20 points per game during the regular season. He averaged 17+ points per game in every season since 2009-2010. Kenny Atkinson just publically said he believes Lopez is a building block player. With only two years left on his contract, if he ever hints leaving, they need a return over letting him walk. His value is currently at its highest.
Trade Partners: Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic
PG Mike Conley
Mike Conley is the best point guard on the free agent market. He is expecting a large contract on the open market. With the need for a point guard and a lot of money to spend, Conley to Brooklyn is a realistic option. Conley is a defensive minded point guard which is perfect for Kenny Atkinson. His offensive game isn’t flashy, but he averaged 15.7 points and 5.9 assists per game his last four seasons. With the New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies in the hunt for Conley, the Nets need to overpay for a position of need.
PG Rajon Rondo
The Nets second option at point guard in free agency is Rajon Rondo. Rondo is a pass first point guard who is among the best passers in the league. When focused, he can take over a game on both ends of the court. He led the NBA in assists last season with 11.7 and seventh in steals with nearly two per game. Kenny Atkinson wants an team attitude change and Rondo is known as an attitude problem. If Rondo isn’t happy, Brooklyn’s problems will get worse. They will need to bring in another valuable piece for Rondo not to destroy the locker room.
PG Jeremy Lin
If Rondo and Conley sign elsewhere, the Nets need to do everything in their power to bring in Jeremy Lin. Lin had a stellar year off the bench for the Charlotte Hornets. He averaged 11.7 points, 3 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game over 78 games last season. With a Nets team that couldn’t stay healthy last season, Lin has played 71 games or more in the last four seasons. Kenny Atkinson is also familiar with Lin. Atkinson coached Lin when he burst into the scene with the New York Knicks. The duo could do some damage again.
SF Kent Bazemore
Kent Bazemore played for the Atlanta Hawks last season with Kenny Atkinson as his assistant coach. Bazemore excelled under head coach Mike Budenholzer, and Atkinson will bring Budenholzer’s system to Brooklyn. Last season was Bazemore’s best dropping a career best total 872 points, 379 rebounds, 171 assists, 98 steals and 38 blocks. He is only 26 and entering his prime. Atkinson needs to use his relationship with Bazemore to bring him to Brooklyn.
PG Ty Lawson
Ty Lawson is looking for a second chance. He is coming off his worst career NBA season and is looking to turn his career around. His goal is to sign where he will get the opportunity to play, and Brooklyn’s desperate need for point guard depth he will get his opportunity. Lawson will sign a cheap, one-year deal so the Nets have zero commitment if Lawson continues to struggle. If Brooklyn wants Lawson, he needs to come off the bench. Brooklyn is the perfect home for a final shot.