Billy King absolutely slayed this offseason for the Nets, and he’s put the franchise is an position to stay competitive and have financial flexibility in the future. Those are two things I didn’t think were possible, but I’ll admit when I was wrong. King did yeoman’s work to get Brooklyn under the luxury tax threshold, while retaining the pieces that worked for the Nets, and minimizing the loss of his assets.
Draft night saw the departure of Mason Plumlee, but not without scooping up two potentially big pieces of the future. The Nets selected Chris McCullough, who fell to them at No. 29 because of a torn ACL injury. Then, King swung a deal with the Blazers to grab Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a projected lock-down defender who is already winning the hearts and minds of Nets fans with his dynamic personality.
Brook Lopez and Thad Young are back. The two cornerstones of the Nets’ resurgence at the end of last season inked multi-year deals once free agency opened up, and those contracts proved to be very fortuitous to the club relative to what other free agents were able to sign. With their front court retained, the Nets went to work and brought in Andrea Bargnani, Thomas Robinson, Wayne Ellington and Shane Larkin. As NetsDaily notes, those four all have player options in year two of their two-year deals.
Willie Reed signed a partially guaranteed, one-year deal, and Ryan Boatright inked a one-year, partially guaranteed rookie minimum, with a team option in year two. Quincy Miller, who the Nets got in a deal for Steve Blake (who they acquired in the Hollis-Jefferson swap), is also on board.
Deron Williams is the most notable of the subtractions. Earlier this month, King waived his former franchise player, using the stretch provision to buy out the remaining two years and $43.4 million left on his deal. The move signals the end of an era in Brooklyn, but possibly the start of more certainty in the Nets’ back court. Alan Anderson took a one-year deal with the Wizards, and Mirza Teletovic moved across the country to Phoenix. And, of course, Plumlee is a Blazer.
Color me impressed. King was able to do that while retaining his front court on team-friendly deals, which opened up enough flexibility to keep Joe Johnson, and came out of nowhere to take a chance on a high-ceiling vet like Bargnani and Robinson. The loss of Anderson will hurt, and there’s a good chance Williams bounces back in Dallas if he can stay healthy (how many times have I written that before), but the Nets’ future is not as bleak as it once was.
Maybe it’s the summer weather keeping me optimistic, but I’m excited to see what this team can do on the floor.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is never going to be confused with a legendary scorer, but both his defense and personality may be enough to elevate the Nets to a new level.
In a feature by Tim Bontemps on the Nets’ draft night acquisition, Hollis-Jefferson talks about his journey to Brooklyn, from childhood to the University of Arizona, and explains how becoming comfortable with himself as a person and a player helped him reach this level.
“I knew I wasn’t the best offensive guy, but I always knew I could score the ball,” Hollis-Jefferson told Bontemps. “Me being able to get a stop could help my chances of winning.”
“He just made everyone laugh,” T.J. McConnell, Hollis-Jefferson’s teammate at Arizona, said. “He’s like my brother […] I know he’s going to do well, and he’s going to make that team a lot funnier than it was.”
Say what you want about Hollis-Jefferson’s offensive shortcomings (and there are plenty, as we saw in 10 summer league games), but that’s not why he’s here. If Hollis-Jefferson can just be efficient from the line and pair that with shutdown defense, we’re looking at a very important piece in the Nets’ system moving forward.
Brooklyn has Thad Young and Brook Lopez to score down low. They don’t need RHJ to be a prolific scorer. They need him to help shore up their interior and get out on shooters who killed the Nets from outside last season. If he can do that, he’ll make the Nets a much better team, and certainly one that’s more fun to watch.
The Brooklyn Nets have officially signed Andrea Bargnani, general manager Billy King announced this afternoon (Nets, July 17).
“Andrea will give us the ability to space the floor and complement our other front court players,” said King.
Bargnani, 29, will be paid the veterans minimum this season and will have player option in 2016-17
He averaged 14.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in 29 games for the Knicks last season.
Well, this is unexpected, but a very pleasant surprise. The Nets desperately needed another big on their roster, and Bargnani, though not the conventional seven footer, fits that bill. The nice part about this deal is that it comes with no expectations. Bargnani is reportedly getting a two-year veterans minimum, so the former number one pick won’t be under any pressure to perform. Plus, how great will it be to see the player the Knicks gave up their 2016 first rounder for in a Nets’ uniform.
I do wonder how Bargnani will fit into Lionel Hollins’ system. The old school coach doesn’t seem like the type who loves his seven footers hanging out on the perimeter. But it’s still a nice weapon for the Nets to have.
The magazine puts the value of the Brooklyn franchise at $1.5 billion, 24th on the list of 50 clubs. Last year, the Nets did not make the list.
Ten NBA teams appeared on this year’s list. Only the Lakers, Knicks, Celtics, and Clippers were ranked higher.
Forbes lists the Yankees as the most valuable New York team (tied for second, $3.2 billion), followed by the Knicks (8th, $2.5 billion), the Giants (12th, $2.1 billion), and the Jets (17th, $1.8 billion). The Mets rank 32nd ($1.35 billion).
I don’t care what TV deal the NBA just landed, I’m having a hard time believing that the Nets are worth more than the Mets. As we’ve seen in the past few years, a franchise is only worth what someone will pay for it. No one thought the Clippers were worth $2 billion, but that’s what they sold for. Similarly, Mikhail Prokhorov thought he could fetch $3 billion for the Nets, and that idea went over like a ton of bricks. Despite by skepticism, the Nets’ brass have to feel great about their jump up in value. If they could ever put together a deep run in the playoffs, the sky is the limit for a team with a shiny new arena in one of the most trendy places in the United States.