The Nets are built for summer deals. Way back in July 2004, the Nets traded Kenyon Martin to the Denver Nuggets for picks. In June of 2008, the Nets traded Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlian. The next year, in June of 2009, they dealt away Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson for Courtney Lee. July of 2012 brought the Joe Johnson trade from Atlanta, and those after-effects are still being felt today. Of course, there was the franchise-altering trade that involved Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and a smorgasbord of Brooklyn picks in 2013.
None of them went so well. Jianlian lasted just one year before being traded to Washington. Jefferson had several productive years with San Antonio, Golden State, and Utah, before finding a rotation role with Dallas. Courtney Lee played just one season for the Nets before being traded for Troy Murphy, who sat out for all but 15 games in New Jersey with back issues. Today, Carter, Lee, and Anderson all played crucial roles for Western Conference playoff teams (Memphis and New Orleans). Just to keep the wound fresh, Pierce trolled the Raptors out of the playoffs last month in a four-game sweep for his new team in Washington.
This proves two things. Firstly, yikes. Secondly, you can’t succeed if you don’t try right? Right? … Quick, somebody help me put a silver lining on this. Either way, the Nets have done some of their biggest recent business during the months of June and July, so it’s time to crack open the trusty trade machine and come up with some of the most enticing, absurd and inane deals the franchise can do this summer.
(Editor’s note: I can promise you that by the end of this piece, Ben has completely lost his mind.)
Joe Johnson to the Orlando Magic for Channing Frye, Evan Fournier, Ben Gordon and Andrew Nicholson
Why the Magic do it: Frye still has three years left on the crazy deal Orlando gave him last summer, and they’d be more than happy to get him off the books for one year of Joe Johnson. Orlando struggled last year, and could lose Tobias Harris in free agency if they don’t match him. Pair this young Magic team with Tom Thibodeau, let Joe Johnson close out games, and this team could find success quickly. Incredibly low risk for Orlando and would still let them go two deep at every position, plus the fifth overall pick: Payton/Ridnour, Oladipo/Green, Johnson/Harkless, Gordon/O’Quinn, Vucevic/Dedmon.
In the Eastern Conference, with a good coach, that is a playoff team.
Why the Nets do it: Shake it up! Admittedly, taking on Frye’s contract would hurt, but it wouldn’t be a bank breaker with the cap rising. Frye had a down season with Orlando, but has shown in the past he can thrive around the 3-point line. In that regard, he’d a good replacement for Mirza Teletovic should he leave this summer. Nets add more bench shooting in Gordon, a young, athletic forward in Nicholson, and a decent all-around piece in Fournier.
Nicholson, Fournier and Gordon are all expiring contracts in 2015-2016, and would be able to move on if they don’t work out.
The Nets would (barring other trades) then run out Williams/Jack, Bogdanovic/Fournier/Brown, (Young)/(Anderson)/Clark/Karasev, Frye/(Mirza)/Jefferson, (Lopez)/Plumlee.
Jarrett Jack and Cory Jefferson to the Phoenix Suns for P.J. Tucker and Danny Granger.
Why the Suns do it: Two-guard sets with Jack and Bledsoe should be decent, all things considered, and the Suns finally add a player that can combat some of those buzzer-beaters thrown down against them this year. Cory Jefferson is another big man to develop under Jeff Hornacek. This trade would make room for gifted scorer T.J. Warren to move up the depth chart.
Why the Nets do it: With this trade, the Nets are able to put warm bodies at small forward, the position at which Brooklyn needs the most help with. If Anderson bolts as expected, Tucker isn’t a horrible replacement. Granger gets another fresh start and a new opportunity to play some real minutes in Brooklyn.
Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson to the New Orleans Pelicans for Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon
Why the Pelicans do it: Following the surprise ousting of Monty Williams, the franchise is a hot landing spot for coaches. Because of that, they may want to head in a different direction entirely. In this trade, they grab Joe Johnson for a year while shedding Gordon’s atrocious contract and Evans, who never quite fit in during his time in New Orleans. Next summer, after Johnson’s contract expires, they can attract a shiny max contract player to play with platinum Anthony Davis.
Why the Nets do it: It’s probably about time for the Nets to decide whether or not chasing Kevin Durant’s shadow is futile. Chances are they are. In lieu of ending up with Johan Petro again, they hunker down and try to revamp the team once more. Evans and Gordon have dealt with their fair share of injuries, and adding them to Williams and Lopez might cause historic numbers of Brooklyn aneurysms, but it might be a risk worth taking.
The “OK, You’re Losing Me” Trade, Part I: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Markel Brown and Cory Jefferson to the Nuggets for Kenneth Faried, Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and J.J. Hickson.
Why the Nuggets do it: The Nuggets are no strangers to making a big splash via trade. In a way, this trade offers the Nuggets the rare opportunity to (nearly) hit the reset button. They trade a frustrating, often-injured point guard with two years left on his contract for a frustrating, often-injured point guard with two years left on his contract, ditch Faried’s large four-year extension for Johnson’s expiring, and gain two young players in the process. If they draft Stanley Johnson at #7 and Williams thrives outside of a big market, this could be a team to watch again.
Why the Nets do it:
When you go all-in, you might as well double down. When you’re doubled-down, you might as well triple-up. When you’re triple… wait, what was this analogy about again?
The Nets have “gone for it” as many times as humanly possible; what’s one more? They swap Williams for Lawson, add some much-needed small forward depth on reasonable contracts and take a chance on Faried’s absurd extension. Fourth time’s the charm, right?
Joe Johnson to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin
Why the Wolves do it: The Wolves just nabbed the #1 pick in the draft, and they’ll most likely pick a center with it, making Pekovic — and his contract — expendable. One year of Joe Johnson will equal another max contract to pair with Rubio, Wiggins and Okafor/Towns — that alone is enough to pull the trigger. Plus, they ship off Pekovic and Martin’s contracts, while allowing Dieng and LaVine to keep their heavy minutes in the rotation.
Plus, who wouldn’t want to see Garnett and Johnson again after Pierce’s comments? Awkward.
Why the Nets do it:
The Nets would receive good cover if Brook Lopez leaves this summer for greener pastures. If he can stay heathy, Kevin Martin would do a solid job replacing Joe Johnson. If they can retain Young and Teletovic, that’s a decent rotation in the East with flexibility going forward.
Jarrett Jack and Mason Plumlee to the Charlotte Hornets for Lance Stephenson
Why the Hornets do it: To trade Lance Stephenson.
Why the Nets do it: Because gambling is a serious addiction.
Deron Williams, Cory Jefferson and Markel Brown to the Dallas Mavericks for Devin Harris, Raymond Felton, Al-Farouq Aminu and Richard Jefferson.
Why the Mavericks do it: The Rajon Rondo experiment didn’t work out and he’s walking. Enter: Deron Williams, Mark Cuban’s former daydream turned nightmare turned daydream one last time. Cuban and the Mavericks don’t have time to waste in Nowitzki’s career and must make another win-now move. Low cost, high reward.
Why the Nets do it: Reunion Tour 2015 for former heroes Devin Harris and Richard Jefferson plus a solid, promising small forward in Aminu. Brooklyn moves on from the Deron Williams Era with some capable veterans and a new outlook on the game of basketball. It all comes full circle when Devin Harris nails a game-winner in front of the Bucks’ bench and sticks his tongue out at Jason Kidd.
As an added, unforseen bonus, the combination of Jarrett Jack and Raymond Felton together creates a blackhole in Brooklyn that sucks the entire franchise up forever. Soon after, the city forgets they ever had a basketball team at all.
Things are better. Things aren’t bad. We just exist.
The “Save Us All” Trade: Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and Lionel Hollins to the Golden State Warriors for Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, David Lee and Steve Kerr
Why the Warriors do it: The Warriors, after destroying the NBA in 2014-2015, decide to take in a movie as a team following their four-game sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals. The movie? San Andreas. The Rock’s true, heartfelt performance scares the champions to their very core. The San Andreas Fault Line is just five hours away from Oracle Arena.
The team’s core demands a trade and Bob Meyers, determined to win another Executive of the Year Award, obliges for the squad that won his franchise a championship.
Lopez plays for Golden State over the next seven years, wins one ring, and becomes Mayor of Disneyland.
The “Zombie Nets”: Thaddeus Young opts out, Brook Lopez opts out, Alan Anderson does not re-sign, Brooklyn does not match Mirza Teletovic’s RFA offer; Nets trade Deron Williams, Mason Plumlee, Cory Jefferson and Markel Brown to the Sacramento Kings for Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and Darren Collison; Joe Johnson and Bojan Bogdanovic to the Milwaukee Bucks for Zaza Pachulia, Ersan Ilyasova, OJ Mayo and Jared Dudley.
Why the Kings do it: They finally get their point guard to pair with Cousins and Gay. Additionally, they only have to sacrifice Nik Stauskas to the Nets in order to shed the rest of the team’s long, poor contracts. Little do they know, however, that they are condemning Sauce Castillo to a permanent sentence of the worst kind.
Plus, Mason Plumlee gets another round of tough love– something he’s missed since Brooklyn traded Kevin Garnett.
Why the Bucks do it: Just like the Kings, Milwaukee gets to trade all of the team’s terrible contracts for just one year of Joe Johnson. (They would have to do the trade after the NBA Draft, following the NBA’s restriction after the Jason Kidd deal.) Additionally, they snag the sly Bojan Bogdanovic to round out their crafty, young rotation. The two are a solid replacement squad for Kris Middleton, who is about to be handed trash bags full of cash as soon as the season ends.
And hey, who isn’t a little sappy for a Jason Kidd-Joe Johnson reunion?
Why the Nets do it: The ZombieNets have gained consciousness. They have already infected Brooklyn, but now feast for more. With their disease rapidly spreading across the river and into Manhattan, the ZombieNets set their sights on ruining the rest of the league. Soon after, Nik Stauskas is elected leader of their new motley, undead crew. Delicately, the core moves throughout the country, slowly devolving basketball to its slowest, primitive form.
Eventually, Stauskas marches a rotation of Corpse/Corpse, Stauskas/Corpse, Corpse/Karasev, Corpse/Corpse, and Corpse/Corpse to a graveyard in 2020, and the basketball world never hears from them again.