Transcript after the jump.
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In their neverending search for a PF, the Houston Chronicle reports that the Nets were prepared to make a pretty significant offer to restricted free agent Luis Scola, forcing the Rockets to make a a five-year, $47 million offer that Scola quickly accepted.
Scola is a nice player, but according to the article, the Nets were going to go 5/$55M for the guy, which sounds steep considering the team is just reportedly looking for someone to hold down the fort until Derrick Favors is ready.
With all this talk lately about the Nets needing to trade for a Power Forward, I’ve started thinking more about the merits of just sticking with Kris Humphries to start the season, especially if the ultimate goal for the Nets is to play their starting four for 20-25 minutes a game, while bringing along Derrick Favors. Without even considering his stats, I can conclude that sticking with Hump nets the organization two positives: it eliminates their need to move any worthwhile assets for a stopgap and it keeps the Nets at their current, super-flexible, cap zone. What it doesn’t do is address the current logjam at SG and SF due to the acquisitions of Travis Outlaw, Anthony Morrow and Damion James. Given that Avery Johnson has reportedly been very involved in the front office since being named head coach, I believe these three guys wouldn’t have been imported if they weren’t expected to be part of the rotation immediately – meaning that either Courtney Lee or Terrence Williams is getting relegated to the bench or shipped out of town.
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Nets fans for a while have called Brook Lopez one of the NBA's best big men and he has a shot of proving that on a wider scale this summer as a member of the U.S. FIBA World Championship team. Ben Couch of View from the Couch fame sizes up the competition:
If Brook Lopez again performs well during camp, he should earn a spot among the group reassembling in New York City for the first-ever World Basketball Festival, which tips off August 12 with a special showcase in Times Square before moving uptown to Harlem’s legendary Rucker Park basketball courts on Aug. 13 and 14. A glance at the 2008 Olympic roster shows that USA Basketball carried only a single center, two-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard, and two power forwards: Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer. While Lee and Stoudemire can each play the 5, Lopez is the best of the true centers, and will likely beat out Chandler and brother Robin.
It has been quiet on the free agency front for about a week now and I think that it is safe to say that the Nets are going to hold off signing anymore players this offseason (a trade is another story, but we aren't talking about that right now). What that means is we can now look at the four free agents that the Nets brought in and look at what they can do well, and more importantly, how that fits into the Nets' system.
What He Brings? Anthony Morrow might very well be one of the best catch and shoot three point shooters in the NBA today. In fact, according to a tweet from NetsDaily, Morrow currently has the highest career three point shooting percentage in the history of the NBA at 46%, he just needs nine more attempts to qualify.
Does He Fit? Yes he does. The Nets biggest problem last year was that they had nobody who could hit a jumper, let a lone a three point shot for them. Sure, Keyon Dooling or Courtney Lee would have games where they would hit their shots, but they were far from consistent (and don't even get me started on Bobby Simmons...the Nets' "shooter"). What does a consistent outside threat do for the Nets? It opens everything up, especially for Brook Lopez. What Brook Lopez did last year averaging 18.8 points per game was pretty remarkable considering the amount of double (and even triple teams he saw). Teams were able to bring all this pressure on Brook because there was nobody he could kick it out to on the outside. In addition to helping Brook, having Morrow stand at the three point line clears the middle and opens up the Nets' pick and roll game (and Devin's drive and kick game). Morrow will force defenses to be honest and keep a man close to him at all times.
The Problem? Morrow's only really excels at shooting the basketball. He doesn't play defense particularly well, and despite showing some athletic ability he can't really put the ball on the floor or create his own shot (95.7% of his threes were off of teammates' assists).
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OK - I promise not to mention any trade rumors/speculation this morning regarding a certain athletic wing player the Nets currently employ.
In his latest piece at Nets Insider, Al Iannazzone says there's no doubt that the Nets are a better team than last year. So now, with their cap flexibility, they have to be on the lookout for the right time to make a trade that could bring a legit superstar into the fold a la the Celtics and the Pistons from a few years ago:
The Nets still have more work to do. They need a starting-caliber power forward and hope to get one without having to give up Favors.
They’re high on him and would like to keep him. But Favors is a chip they planned to use in free agency if they needed him to get one of the superstars. He also could be one that helps them get an established star who could become available this off-season or next season, such as Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.
Given the Nets inability to lure free agents to the swamp in the past, trade really does seem to be the only option to put this team over the top. Unlike some other teams out there pining for guys like Paul and 'Melo, the Nets have acquired some legitimate assets to make a deal work.
With all of the starting caliber power forwards free agents pretty much locked up, the only way the Nets can get a guy to play in front of Derrick Favors for a few years so he can develop is through a trade. As Mark told us over the weekend, Terrence Williams might be the guy who gets sacrificed to make this happen.
People who read this site on a daily basis know how much I like Terrence Williams, but I do think if a deal gets made he is the one most likely to be dealt. In my opinion, Terrence Williams is valued higher by other teams than by the Nets. This is because Avery Johnson loves guys who can play both ends of the court, and right now Terrence Williams is weak on the defensive end. So who can the Nets bring in by dealing Terrence Williams? Well, I decided to use Trade Machine to take a look:
Terrence Williams for Carl Landry
Carl Landry is the exact type of Power Forward the Nets are looking for. He is only under contract for another two years, and he is a guy who wants to bang on the inside...the Nets need that. As for the Kings, they don't have a standout Shooting Guard on their roster, and T-Will can be that.
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Nets fans and observers who think Terrence Williams may be best suited as trade bait for a starting quality power forward got some more fuel for their fire in a Marc Spears column over at Yahoo! Spears suggests that #3 Draft Pick Derrick Favors was one of the "losers" of the Summer League, but it really wasn't his fault:
The third pick in the draft averaged just seven shots in the New Jersey Nets’ first four summer league games in Orlando because teammate Terrence Williams(notes) was busy hoisting away. Williams, the Nets’ second-year guard, averaged 19 shots a game.
When the Nets limited Williams to just four minutes in their finale, Favors went for 23 points and 11 rebounds while making 10 of his 17 shots. If the Nets could do it over, they might want to feature Favors a little more prominently.
I didn't get to watch too much of the summer league this year because I'm not a league pass guy, so maybe Sebastian and Devin can chime in over here, but it seems a little premature to say that it was solely TWill who affected Favors' performance. I just have to wonder if some of these writers are being set up by Nets brass to go negative on TWill to make a trade of his a bit more acceptable as it seems inevitable.
A few of us have speculated as much around here, but Dave D'Alessandro really pokes the hornets nest and suggests that Terrence Williams greatest role with the Nets going forward may be as trade bait for an established power forward.
Admit that right now, this kid is a spare part – and an extremely valuable one.
And really, can you disagree with Dave D.? The Nets are overloaded at the wing position, and unless Courtney Lee has completely fallen out of favor with the new regime, I can't see TWill taking PT away from some of the new guys on this team like Anthony Morrow, Damion James and Travis Outlaw. You could maybe solve this problem and move Outlaw to PF temporarily to open up a spot in the starting five for Williams, but I haven't read a single team-connected report that mentions that as a possibility.
I'll be on the record and say I think trading Williams for a stopgap PF will be a mistake, but I agree with Dave D. that there's a certain inevitability to it.
Obviously, this is a New Jersey Nets blog, however, the NAS crew absolutely love the NBA in general. So, every week, Sebastian, Mark, Devin, and myself will answer questions regarding the L.
1) Since the Miami Heat locked up LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, are they automatically going to win the Eastern Conference? Who will be in the hunt for the conference?
Sebastian: I don't know if the Heat are a lock to win the East, but they are certainly the favorites. In the playoffs I see a team like Orlando giving them trouble. A team with a big man that can do work against either Bosh or Haslem. Plus, that team can defend.... MORE →
With the news cycle starting to slow down somewhat, for the time being, I'm going return to doing the "Daily Link" approach and give you some early morning fodder for discussion, rather than dump a bunch of links into your lap which all say essentially the same thing. If you all don't like the format, let me know in the comments.
With that said, new Nets GM Billy King was formally introduced yesterday, while outgoing team president Rod Thorn got the rare opportunity to introduce his successor. Say what you will about Thorn, but he's been class all the way during this process, though I wonder if after some time has passed if we'll ever get the real dirt behind why he decided to leave so abruptly after Mikhail Prokhorov made it known how badly he wanted him to stay (money? power? clashing with Avery Johnson?).
King, somewhat acknowledging that he's made some bad moves in his time in Philadelphia, says he's grown up a little in Dave D'Alessandros' report:
“I’m wiser,” said the 44-year-old GM. “When I took over Philly, I was 32 years old. I did a lot of listening to guys like Rod, Donnie Walsh. Jerry West and Wayne Embry. I think now I have a better understanding and probably a little more patience. In Philly, we tried to do a lot of things quickly. In this league, if you do some things and it doesn’t work, you’re punished for a while.”
Devin expressed his opinions a little bit earlier in the week, and I'd like to echo and say I'm not wild about this hiring, but it's also pretty clear that this is Avery Johnson's team right now and King seems to be a bit of an empty suit if you believe the reports. Whether that's true or not, in an attempt to be positive on the King hiring, the NBA is a sea full of bad contracts that were handed out by GMs not just named Billy King. In Philadelphia, he took his shot with an undersized headcase as his team's focal point, and he even got to the Finals one year. You can't say that about a lot of GMs.
With tomorrow expected to be Rod Thorn’s last day with the Nets organization before he either edges into retirement or finds another job in this league, I thought it would be appropriate to relive the highs and lows of his tenure with the organization. It was undoubtedly a roller coaster with Thorn, who was the NBA’s executive of the year in 2002 while the organization found itself in back-to-back Finals before vying for the worst record of all-time in the latter stages of his time here. For the sake of avoiding arguments, I’m not going to rank these highs and lows – but feel free to use the comments section to dispute or arrange what I’ve put down.
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