NBA Future Rankings 30.Brooklyn Nets
*Photo via AP
There isn’t a nice way to put this; the Brooklyn Nets are currently in the worst position of any NBA franchise. The Nets will be over the cap this season, despite their lackluster stature as a borderline playoff team in the Eastern Conference. Within the past five seasons, trades for Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, and Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett have exhausted nearly all of Brooklyn’s assets and handicapped their ability to draft in upcoming years. To add insult to injury, only Joe Johnson remains on the roster for the 2015 – 16 season.
In 2011, the Nets made a blockbuster move in acquiring superstar point guard Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz. Brooklyn then paid Williams like a superstar, inking him to a 5-year, $98 million extension during the summer of 2012. Fast forward three years into that extension and Williams isn’t even considered a top-15 player at his position. After agreeing to a buyout, Williams will be suiting up for the Dallas Mavericks in 2015, and Nets fans should be happy about it.
After acquiring Williams from the Utah Jazz, the Nets made every transaction in hopes of convincing Williams to sign a long-term deal. Unfortunately for them, they were successful. Brooklyn traded an unprotected 2012 first round pick to the Portland Trail Blazers to acquire Gerald Wallace. With that unprotected first round pick, Portland selected All-Star point guard Damian Lillard. As for Gerald Wallace, he’s now on his second different team after Brooklyn traded him away in 2013. Who he play for?
*Photo via NYPost
The Nets also traded for proven All-Star, Joe Johnson, and his super expensive contract. Johnson is now on the last year of this contract that has him as the second highest paid player ($24.89MM) in the NBA. Since Johnson has been in Brooklyn, his numbers have declined and are nowhere near what they were with Atlanta. To acquire Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks, the Nets gave up rights to a pick swap in 2015 to Atlanta. Instead of picking 15th in the 2015 NBA draft, Brooklyn selected 29th.
No deal handicapped Brooklyn like the one for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The trade cost Brooklyn three unprotected first round picks (2014 – James Young, 2016 and 2018) and the rights to swap picks on a fourth first rounder (2017), a steep price for two players who played less than two season in Brooklyn.
It’s not all bad for the Nets. Brooklyn selected Chris McCullough, who is coming off a torn ACL, with the 29th pick and shipped bouncy backup center, Mason Plumlee, to Portland for the 23rd pick, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The Nets also re- signed injury prone center Brook Lopez (3YR/$63MM) and versatile swingman Thaddeus Young (4YR/$54MM) this offseason. The Nets could potentially have upwards of $40 million in cap space next season, but after trading away multiple first round selections, and unwisely spending money the past five seasons, the Brooklyn Nets are the worst team in our future power rankings.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com, NBA.com and ESPN.com
Transaction information courtesy of RealGM, NBA.com