Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Now what?

The Nets’ issues are never as glaring as they are the day after the season is over.

So let’s remove the blinders and see them for what they are.

Issue No. 1: The Nets need a huge shakeup this off-season.

They may try for one with their semi-annual Kevin Garnett call, which will likely be politely refuted once again. The reality is the Nets think they have one of the better starting fives in the league. Nenad and Richard still have upside. Vince is Vince. Kidd is Kidd. For now. Richard and Vince can play alongside each other, although the selfless RJ would probably not like to be the odd-man out offensively so much.

Issue No. 2: The Nets’ bench needs to be blown up.

Put it this way. Their best reserve of the season missed the last three games for a drug suspension and probably won’t be back. Their second best reserve didn’t play all season, but was a very good contributor in the postseason. The Nets in their history have never had such an imbalance of starters vs. reserves (of course, there were times when both were terrible).

Can they actually improve it? It won’t be as easy at all. Their two first-round picks (No. 22 and 23) probably won’t result in anything much and there’s certainly not any certainty they’ll use ‘em both. They can find someone to help with their $5 million midlevel exception, but it’s only one piece. And there’s no guarantee they’ll use it (although Mr. Ratner has said just being over the luxury tax won’t make or break him) The Nets need someone who can get dirty defensively, they need a 3-point shooter and they still need someone to back up Kidd (that whole McGinnis thing didn’t quite work out).

Issue No. 3: The Nets need a new coach

Sorry. We know this is a popular opinion. But we don’t buy it from the standpoint of how much LF prepares in all facets and how much he has the respect of his most important players. It’s so easy to dump on a coach. Even LF dumps on the coach. But the guy is still young. He’s getting his playoff experience and big-game experience. He’s getting his respect around the league. He’s cost-effective, which an owner would prefer if he’s doling out national budgets for players.

Questions of how he phased out certain players, never to be seen or heard from again, are valid. Take a look at Lamond Murray, for example. But we seriously doubt LF just went on blind (lack of) faith. The bottom line is, the Nets improved under Lawrence Frank this season. At least give the team to take a step back before requesting the axe.

More on the Nets’ needs tomorrow in your Gannett papers and in our final blog of the season…

Please feel free to post your questions, comments or complaints.


Blogger Dan C said...

dear bob,

i hear what you're saying about the nets' reserves and i totally agree. however, if what you claim about them being able to do nothing about it, do you believe breaking up the big 3 to obtain that big man-bench player deficit? if not, then what would you suggest the nets' do to better their benchies.

12:28 PM  
Blogger superjohnsghost said...

Last blog of the season? Are we kidding? Bob, we need our fix -- there are trades to be made, free agents to be pursued and rumors, rumors, rumors. I expect a blog a day!

3:22 PM  
Blogger osama said...

I love the Nets but I think they shouldn't touch carter or kidd. they should focus on trading nenad or rj for a big man. After all the nets have made stupid decisions trading, kenyon, dikembe, and alonzo

3:40 PM  
Blogger bballfreak said...

I would trade Carter before I even think about trading Jefferson or Krstic. 22 year old 7 footers dont grow on trees and Jefferson is the better fit with Kidd than Carter. Carter doesnt run AT ALL. He would rather take stupid jumpshots than try and get easy layups in transition.

3:59 PM  
Blogger franky said...

The Nets core group of guys from this season is fine and should be kept together and built upon.

PG - Jason Kidd/?
SG - Vince Carter/?
SF - Richard Jefferson/?
PF - ?/?
C - Nenad Krstic/Jason Collins

Those question marks need to be filled in by Thorn and Stefanski this offseason through the draft, trades, or free agency.

The Nets have the following to reload this offseason:

Draft picks

2 first round picks (22 and 23)
1 second round pick (54)
Rights to Ilic and Drejer
Nets future first round pick

Free agency

Mid Level Exception (MLE)
Lower Level Exception (LLE)
Vets minimum

Contracts to use in a trade

Antoine Wright - Might have some value as a sweetener in a trade - 1.57 million

Jeff McInnis - Will likely pickup his player option for 3.6 million that could be used in a trade.

Clifford Robinson - Nets could pick up Robinsons team option for 2.5 million and use him in a trade.

Bostjan Nachbar - Has two years left on his contract at 2.5M each to use in a trade.

Scott Padgett - Has one year left at 1.8 million.

Zoran Planinic - 1.54 million to use in a trade.

Starting PF

The first priority - just like last offseason - is to bring in a new starting PF and move Collins to the backup center position. Nets need some athleticism upfront badly. Need a PF that can defend and rebound as well as run the floor, play offense without needing the ball in his hands and hit the occasional jumpshot. Need to find a guy that comes closest to bringing those skills.

There's a very slim chance that the Nets are going to find a starting PF in the draft, especially since Frank doesn't play rookies, so free agency or a trade are really the two options left for addressing this.

In free agency, the options seem to be limited since only the MLE is available to use:

Lorenzon Wright - MLE or part of the MLE? He's mobile, can score and rebound. Had a down season in 05-06. Did he have some offcourt issues last season?

Melvin Ely - Could probably be had for within the MLE but is he good enough to push Collins to the bench?

Getting a starting PF through a trade seems to be the best option out of a bunch of difficult options. If we go the trade route the options available are through a sign and trade or trading for a player with talent but who comes with baggage
(health, big contract).

Some sign and trade options are:

Chris Wilcox - An athletic freak who played very well when he got to Seattle and seemed to have played his way out of MLE range. A sign and trade possibility since the Sonics seem to be in some financial trouble?

Drew Gooden - Excellent rebounder and good offensive game. Questions about his bball IQ? I think Cleveland can match any offer he gets. Seems like he will get more than MLE and a sign and trade is the only possiblity.

Al Harrington - Only way would be through sign and trade and he seems to be more of a SF than PF.

Some talented players that might be available but also have baggage:

Kenyon Martin - Struggled with injuries and ended the season with the Nuggets badly. Seems like he will be moved this offeason. He is signed for another 5 years and will make 11 million next season. Will he be able to recover from the knee troubles this offseason and come back at least 80-90%? A trade of McInnis, Nachbar, Robinson, Planinic + 22nd pick for Martin and Howard Eisley works but would the Nets be willing to take on a 4th big contract? Martin would bring the defense, fastbreak, and intensity and could be a good fit if he could stay relatively healthy.

Carlos Boozer - Similar to Kenyon Martin. Injuries and big contract.

Zach Randolph - Also had microfracture surgery like Martin. Can score and rebound but not that great defensively. And potential offcourt problems?

The starting PF spot is the most important position to fill and also the hardest. If Kenyon Martins health condition is one that would improve with rest and rehab and he could be acquired for a package of McInnis, Nachbar, Robinson, Planinic + 22nd pick then I think thats the guy the Nets should get if they're willing to pay the money. He's already had success with Kidd
and Jefferson and he brings a lot of what the Nets need. If not Martin, then they should try for a sign and trade for Wilcox, Gooden or Harrington. And the last option would be to try and sign Lorenzon Wright or Melvin Ely for the MLE.

Backup PG

Sigh... what a failure the McInnis signing turned out to be. I just don't want to see Vaughn as a backup anymore. He works hard but he just doesn't have the talent or gives us that spark off the bench. But fortunately, there seem to be some good options in free agency to get a nice backup PG for Kidd:

Speedy Claxton - This guy has given us trouble when we've played him. He did a great job of backing up Paul and seemed to give them a spark coming off the bench, something the Nets were missing this season. Doesn't really have 3 point range but has a decent midrange jumper. Also is able to get steals which would help the Nets fastbreak. A little undersized and injuryprone though. MLE?

Bobby Jackson - Was a very good backup when he was with the Kings. Can put up points quickly. Has 3 point range on his jumper which Speedy doesn't but also has been injury prone like Speedy. But him and Speedy have to be the top two canidates for the bakcup spot.

Some other guys that could be targeted with the MLE or part of it:

Marcus Banks
Chucky Atkins
David Wesley
Gary Payton

Backup SG

The first thing I would hope the Nets do is call Kerry Kittles and find out if he feels healthy and motivated enough to come back and play again in the NBA. It would be so great to have Kittles back on the Nets. He's quick, can get out on the break, shoot the 3 and defend. He's 32 so if healthy, should have some game left and be rested not playing the last two seasons. He would
make a great backup SG. But if Kittles can't go then some other options are:

Fred Jones - He has played backup and started with all the injuries and suspensions to the Pacers the last few years. He's athletic and showed a nice jumpshot in the Nets-Pacers series. If we don't pickup a backup PG with the MLE and decide to use it on a backup SG or swingman this guy should be at the top of the list.

Ronald Murray - Played very well when he got to Cleveland and filled in nicely for the injured Larry Hughes. Good offensive game. MLE material.

Rasual Butler - Provide some offense and shooting off the bench. LLE

Keith Bogans - LLE

Voshon Lenard - LLE

Backup SF

Keith Van Horn - Already playing a bakcup role for Mavs. Talented player that can shoot and rebound. Could backup the SF and PF positions. Injury problems. Full MLE.

Matt Harpring - Very good rebounder, shoots a very good percentage, brings some toughness off the bench. MLE

Tim Thomas - Same as Van Horn. Provides outside shooting and backups the SF and PF spot. Full MLE?

Jumaine Jones - Has 3 point range and rebounds some. LLE

Toni Kukoc - Old but could be useful for some minutes here and there. LLE

Backup PF/C

Jackie Butler LLE
Aaron Williams vets minimum
Alan Henderson LLE or vets minimum
Jarron Collins LLE Reunite the Twins!
Robert Traylor LLE
Scot Pollard LLE
Kelvin Cato Part of MLE

The Draft

Here are the players in the draft that sound interesting that could be available at the Nets picks or to try and trade up for:

Rajon Rondo (22nd or 23rd pick if he's avaible)
Quincy Douby (22nd or 23rd pick if he's avaible)
Dee Brown (2nd round pick)
Guillermo Diaz (2nd round pick)

JJ Redick (22nd or 23rd pick if he's avaible)
Mike Gansey (2nd round pick)
Daniel Gibson (2nd round pick)
Denham Brown (2nd round pick)
Hassan Adams (2nd round pick)
Allan Ray (2nd round pick)


Steve Novak (2nd round pick)
PJ Tucker (2nd round pick)


Tiago Splitter (try trading up for him if he slips down)
Hilton Armstrong (22nd or 23rd pick if he's avaible)
Josh Boone (22nd or 23rd pick if he's avaible)
Sheldon Williams (try trading up for him if he slips down)

So this is how I would like to see the offseason go:

1) Nets trade McInnis, Nachbar, Robinson, Planinic + 22nd pick for Kenyon Martin and Howard Eisley.
Nets do their research and Martins health issue checked out ok. He just needs rest and rehab and he will slowly get back to form especially around playoff time.

2) With the 23rd pick Nets draft Hilton Armstrong who slips a little bit more than expected.

3) In the 2nd round with the 54th pick the Nets select Mike Gansey.

4) Nets sign Bobby Jackson to a 2 year deal with 3.5 million of the MLE with the 2nd year a player option.

5) Kittles informs the Nets he is ready to give the NBA another go and wants to win a championship and signs for the vets minimum.

6) With the LLE the Nets sign Robert Traylor who passes his physical.

7) Nets bring over Mile Ilic.

Nets roster for next season:

PG - Jason Kidd/Bobby Jackson/Howard Eisley

SG - Vince Carter/Kerry Kittles/Mike Gansey

SF - Richard Jefferson/Antoine Wright

PF - Kenyon Martin/Robert Traylor/Hilton Armstrong

C - Nenad Krstic/Jason Collins/Mile Ilic

4:24 PM  
Blogger Bob Considine said...

Wow Frank...long post!

12:42 PM  
Blogger xtboomerzx said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:57 PM  
Blogger said...

they could get j.r. smith who said he's interested with the nets. yeah, bringing mile ilic would be sweet but still lacking a 4. kg talk! well, i dunno what will happen to the nets next season. big 4 might be just 4th in the east now that LeBron's going... you get the point. i'm not in favor of traylor and eisley :/ i just don't think traylor and eisley are worth it. that's all.

8:09 PM  
Blogger $am said...

I agree with Frank with almost all of what he said. I especially want to see them go for Kenyon Martin, but health is an important issue. He was, after all, at a lot of the Nets 2nd round playoff games against Miami this season. I think he wants to come back especially since he wants out of Denver. The one pick I would like to see the Nets take in the 2nd round is Dee Brown. I love watching him play for Illinois and he could be great backing up JK. He might not be that great, but I see potential, especially learning from JK. I would be so jelous to be able to learn from the best point guard in the league.
Another thing that would be really cool if the Nets could do it, but I highly doubt it, is if they trade for a really good draft pick the year Greg Oden comes into the league, which could be soon if he only goes to college for one year. Kind of risky maybe, but if we got him alongside Kristic, Carter, Jefferson, and Kidd. WOW. Oden has the potential to dominate the league. He's huge. As a Jr. in high school, in Indiana as well, I could have played against this guy,had I been in his division. He's amazing. It probably is the least likely thing to happen of the other stuff I said, but hey, we can dream can't we?

9:30 PM  
Blogger nfung69 said...

its ok..we could trade bostjan nachbar for for kevin garnett..then trade cliff robinson for kobe bryant...then trade collins and wright for mcgrady and yao...thats great

9:00 PM  

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