Five Guys The Nets Should Target That Aren’t Named Dwight Howard

I’ll be perfectly honest. I’m a little tired of the Dwight Howard talk. It’s not nearly as bad as the Carmelo Anthony trade rumor debacle last year that amounted to little more than “will-he-won’t-he-this-trade-sucks-that-trade’s-worse” for six months, but there’s still more annoying smoke than actual fire thus far.

So, the five of us here at Nets are Scorching decided to throw down five additional names the Nets should think about, ranging from “could get done today” to “beyond wildly optimistic.” To be clear, these are all our ideas, not anything that’s officially been discussed. But we’d like it if they did.

1. Justin DeFeo — Josh Smith

Dealing for Smith gives the Nets an athletic force and a player who brings lots of experience at the four position. Smith can score and rebound and has been doing it his whole career. He’s made better decisions with his shot selection over the past few years and is more of a complete player.

And consider this: Smith has played basically his whole career without a point guard who can get him easy baskets. Pairing Smith with a table-setter like Deron Williams makes my mind go to places I’m not quite sure it’s gone to before. Those lobs to Kris Humphries that fall short or those penetrating dishes to Shelden Williams that get blocked? J-Smoove turns those into YouTube clips.

Also, getting back to the blocked shots. Let’s say the master plan works and the Nets end up with Dwight Howard. Can you imagine a front-court pairing of Dwight Howard and Josh Smith? The “no lay-up” rule would turn literal as in, no one would get a lay-up, ever.

Here’s a trade that could work. If Smith is dead-set on leaving Atlanta, they could certainly use the cap relief — and Okur’s salary, if it keeps him out all season, is paid 80% out of the insurer’s pocket. They may have to sweeten the pot a bit, but it’s a starting point.

2. Sandy Dover — Michael Beasley

Super Cool Beas, otherwise known as Michael Beasley, would be a great pick-up for the New Jersey Nets for several reasons. One reason is his youth; for a player as talented as Beasley, he’s been in the league for four seasons now, and is still only 23. He is still maturing, but the former No. 2 pick has a lot of years in him to contribute.

Another asset, simply, is his skill level. He’s a gifted scorer/shooter, which the Nets sorely need. As a multitalented forward that can play the 3 and the 4 interchangeably, he can fill the need for perimeter scoring along MarShon Brooks and Deron Williams and alleviate Kris Humphries in the post. He can shoot the three-point shot and drive to the basket with relative ease at 6’9″ and 220 lbs, providing the necessary length and size to create match-up issues for defenses that the Nets require to execute against distracted opponents.

Lastly, Beasley can go to a team that’s willing to give him an option as a featured player, but without having to cater to his bruised ego. Earlier in his career, he’d often gotten chances as a spotlight player, but he floundered under the pressure and pursued the ease of marijuana and alcohol, keeping him from reaching his full potential much sooner. Being under the authority of Avery Johnson, known famously for having a military approach to coaching and for being a deeply spiritual person, may be just what Beas needs to become a whole player (and maybe a whole person).

The risk favors the Nets, and because his leash is short, he can always be sent away.

3. Mark Ginocchio — Chris Kaman

When Brook Lopez initially went down in December with a foot injury, rather than kicking the tires on a clearly end-of-his-line Mehmet Okur, Billy King would have been better served inquiring about the availability of Chris Kaman, another bloated expiring who had just been traded to New Orleans as part of the Chris Paul mega-deal (basketball reasons).

Kaman doesn’t have the scoring panache that Okur had in his hey-day, but he’s a steady enough big man who would add an interior presence that the Nets have sorely lacked outside of the five games Lopez has played. If the Nets can’t get any other centers at the trade deadline, Kaman is worth a phone call (maybe a future first or second rounder and Okur’s expiring would suffice?). He could be just enough to help the Nets make a longshot bid for the 8th seed.

4. Chris Hooker — Gerald Wallace

Gerald Wallace would bring size, experience and defense to the depleted Nets wing position. Right now, the consistent starters at the 2 and 3 are Anthony Morrow (3 year vet), MarShon Brooks (rookie) and DeShawn Stevenson (bad). Gerald Wallace, a 6-7, 10 year pro, immediately contributes to the starting rotation.

At 13.4 points per game, Wallace isn’t an offensive wizard, but I believe that on this Nets team without their main scoring option after Deron Williams healthy, those numbers would go up. Wallace, combined with Brooks, would add to the length of Nets small forwards, and he’s grabbed 12% of available rebounds in his career. Wallace posses an unbelievable jumping ability, which makes blocking shots and ferocious dunks very easy for him. Think Gerald Green — if Gerald Green ever filled out.

On the defensive end, Wallace is about as good as it gets. He is a lockdown defender who hustles and stays with his opponent. Of course, age is a factor in a potential Wallace trade, which is probably part of the reason Portland is willing to part with him, and he isn’t as quick as he once was. However, even Wallace’s aging defense would make him and DeShawn Stevenson a tight rotation at the 3. Throw that in with Brooks or Morrows’ ability to score (depending on who is included in a trade), and the Nets would immediately improve at the wing.

5. Devin Kharpertian — Andre Iguodala

Andre Iguodala is what happens when you take two Gerald Greens, physically mash them together, then give the super-Green super defensive instincts. Iguodala is the #1 perimeter defender in the game, other than maybe LeBron. He scores well in the most efficient ways possible — at the rim and behind the arc. He’s a willing passer and a strong rebounder. He’s not known for his shooting ability, but the Nets have a fair number of shooters already — they need the defense. He’s a monster in transition and an awesome complement to Deron Williams.

If the Nets throw the “Brook package” at Iguodala — Lopez, one of Morrow/Farmar, Humphries and/or Okur’s expiring (if they’d like that sort of thing), maybe Shawne Williams, and two first-rounders — that would make the Nets a very attractive destination for anybody in free agency, and with some trading magic to rid salary, the Nets could afford those two plus one additional max contract. A combination of Iguodala, Williams, and some pretty good center would compete with any big 3 tandem in the NBA.

The reason why it’s a pipe dream: Even though the Sixers have begun their descent back into reality after that red-hot start, they won’t be willing to part with Iguodala unless 1) they’re completely set on blowing it up, which doesn’t appear to be the case, or 2) they find someone to take on Elton Brand’s contract, which the Nets can’t do. It would be Atlantic Division suicide for Philadelphia, who’d ensure that they wouldn’t compete for at least five years. But hey, I can dream.