Whenever free agency starts, Billy King is going to have some decisions to make. We’re not sure what direction he’s going to go, but we have some ideas on what we’d do in his shoes.
1) You’re Billy King. What’s your first priority this offseason?
- Justin DeFeo: Priority one is ensuring I’m taking the necessary steps towards re-signing D-Will. That means making moves in free agency with our eyes on doing one of two things: 1) improving the roster, and 2) adding assets while still maintaining financial flexibility should a big fish (see: Dwight Howard) becomes available.
- Dennis Velasco: Keep Deron Williams happy. Granted King can’t contact D-Will because of the stupid lockout, but once the non-contact rule is lifted, King should immediately give D-Will a call and ask him what he wants King to do. Simple. It’s all about keeping a smile on D-Will’s face and despite everything pointing to him being happy with the organization, you can’t take anything for granted. And, it probably wouldn’t hurt to ask about signing an extension, but D-Will may wait to see what offseason moves go down. I wouldn’t blame him.
- Devin Kharpertian: You heard those two: Do whatever Deron Williams wishes. Yes, he’s slated to play in Turkey now, but once free agency is on, he’ll be back with New Jersey. It may not be worth risking the fine today, but make sure you are clear on his interests. If he wants David West, sign David West. If he wants Josh Smith, let’s make a deal. Hell, if he wants anybody, make it happen.
2) Okay, now what’s your second priority this offseason?
- Justin DeFeo: If the first priority is hitting a home run like acquiring Dwight Howard, then the second priority is looking to hit singles. Let’s see if there are any bargains in free agency that can add much-needed talent and depth to the roster.
- Dennis Velasco: Don’t overpay for any free agents or potential trade targets unless said player is Dwight Howard. The Nets are currently in a very good place in regards to the salary cap, but who knows what happens with the new CBA at this point. Regardless, if the Nets can’t trade for Howard now, they’ll need to be careful what they do before the season starts and at the very least, having money available when the 2012 free agency period hits with the obvious object of affection being Howard.
- Devin Kharpertian: Find a big man who will play help defense. The Nets were terrible at stopping the pick & roll and slashers last year, and that’s because none of the rotation bigs were particularly great at helping out. Humphries is a good man defender, but defense is a 5-on-5 proposition. Dwight Howard is the ideal candidate, but there are other options on the market.
3) Which big man (if any) should the Nets target in free agency?
- Justin DeFeo: I’m personally a Kris Humphries fan, so I would first see what kind of market value he is attracting. If the price is right, I’d look to re-sign him first. Avery Johnson has already come out and endorsed his pleasure in Hump, plus he’s shown that he is a good complement in the front court to Brook Lopez.
- Dennis Velasco: Yes, David West is a scorer and decent rebounder, but unless he comes under market value (doubtful), I wouldn’t want to sign him. The same goes for Kris Humphries. I love the hustle and all that, but as mentioned, the focus must be on getting Howard and keeping D-Will happy. That said, I may suggest the Nets overpay for Nene because of his ability on offense and defense. However that comes with the caveat that D-Will approves the move and would be a major factor (if not the deciding factor) to him re-signing with the Nets.
- Devin Kharpertian: Nene, if only because he has the fewest question marks. He’s on the right side of 30. He’s always been ridiculously efficient. He’s a capable (albeit unspectacular) defender. Although the rumors are that the Nets aren’t targeting him, I think they’re making a mistake. Unless Deron told them in private to stay away, he may end up becoming the best value grab in free agency.
4) Which wing player (if any) should the Nets target in free agency?
- Justin DeFeo: He may not be a wing in the most traditional sense, but I believe the Nets should target Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. He’s more of a four in today’s NBA, but he’s versatile enough to play the wing. He gives the Nets depth, rebounding, and athleticism, and he’s capable of guarding multiple positions.
- Dennis Velasco: I’m a huge Marcus Thornton fan, but the drafting of MarShon Brooks makes going for MT23 a moot point. Granted, it’s always better to have a player with NBA experience (although relatively limited in Thornton’s case) over a rookie, but a more traditional small forward and not another shooting guard should be the aim. That said, I’m not really sure I like any available wings that are available to take a shot on with the aforementioned cap space being important. However, if D-Will signs off on someone like Andrei Kirilenko, go for it. Do you get the picture yet that the most important thing this offseason is to keep D-Will happy?
- Devin Kharpertian: The Nets are set at the guard positions, but they’re in dire need of a small forward. Reports have indicated that the Nets are seeking a free agent through the trade market, so keep an eye on that. That leads me to my guy: Caron Butler. He was a target at the deadline, and as an unrestricted free agent could sign outright or perhaps be a piece of a sign-and-trade. If Dallas doesn’t want Butler, the Nets could seriously use his scoring punch at the 3. Just keep the contract relatively short and insured.