2012 Free Agents: Sundiata Gaines (R), Armon Johnson (R), Brook Lopez (R), Jordan Farmar (P), Gerald Green, Kris Humphries, Damion James, DeShawn Stevenson, Gerald Wallace (P), Deron Williams (P)
2013 Free Agents: Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro
2011-12 Record: 22-44 (Last in Atlantic Division)
Positional Needs: starting power forward, bench depth, backup center
Potential Draft Picks: The Nets will not have a pick in the first round unless they secure a top-3 pick in the lottery.
3 BIG QUESTIONS
1) Will the Nets resign Deron Williams?
This is the million dollar question isn’t it?
The entire Nets offseason will revolve around whether or not they can convince Deron to sign a long-term deal with the team.
With the Nets now officially relocated to Brooklyn, the franchise will need a marquee name to put butts in the seats opening night. Deron Williams is an elite point guard who will sell tickets for your organization. I doubt Brooklyn wants to see the faces of Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez scattered across billboards all over the city.
Signing Deron would send a ripple of good fortune throughout the franchise as it pertains to recruiting other would be free-agents to come aboard. Who wouldn’t want to play with a point guard that just averaged 21 points and nearly 9 assists a game during the regular season?
The Brooklyn Nets present Deron Williams the best opportunity to be “the man” and be the first big superstar of the new Brooklyn era. He’s expressed interest in possibly signing with the Lakers and Mavericks during the summer, but both of those rosters are aging and nearing the end of their glory days. With the right pieces added (Dwight Howard anyone?), the Nets could find themselves jumping up the standings in the wide-open Atlantic Division rather quickly.
That is…..if they sign Deron Williams.
2) Does Brooklyn need to keep Gerald Wallace to justify the trade to get him?
They kind of have to now, don’t they? Considering what they gave up to acquire his services, you would think keeping him on the team would be just under resigning Deron Williams on the to-do list.
During the regular season, the Nets swung a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers as they sent away Mehmut Okur, Shawne Williams and the teams first-round draft pick to get Gerald Wallace. Losing Okur and Williams means nothing long-term, but getting rid of their only first-round pick in what is expected to be the deepest draft in recent memory will come back to haunt them. The pick is only protected if it lands in the top three, which is highly unlikely.
Gerald Wallace is 29 years old and slowly fading away from basketball relevance. 15.3 points and 6.8 rebounds are reasonable numbers for a starting small forward in the NBA, but Wallace is far, far away from the all-star quality player he once was.
The Nets should want to keep Wallace. If not for his ability, then for the fact that losing him would make getting rid of that valuable draft pick sting even more.
3) What does the move to Brooklyn REALLY mean for this team?
A new logo? A new arena? Despite the makeover, this is still the New Jersey Nets. This is still a mediocre basketball team and that’s even with Deron Williams.
The new look for the franchise will spark some interest early on, but unless this team starts winning basketball games and makes changes to improve the roster considerably, the interest will slowly fade away until were left with the Nets of old.
I’m digging the new logo at least. To be fair, anything was a step up over their old one. The black and white is very simple, but sleek at the same time. I think it will grow on everyone over time. The problem is that players don’t care about little synthetic changes such as the logo or jersey. All they want to do is win games. Having Jay-Z as a partial owner and having a much hipper logo design are nice and all, but the on-court product will determine the success of this team. Clearly….
At the very least, the team will surely sell some more merchandise than their accustomed to. That’s got to be a plus right?
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports