Take a look at the 2011 free agency landscape, and it’s hard not to be underwhelmed. The top guy (Nene) is a B-lister, a 7-footer who’s not particularly sound defensively and doesn’t rebound well. Despite the dearth of talent, Chris Bernucca of Chris Sheridan’s SheridanHoops blog takes a look at the “best fit” for the top 20 free agents in this offseason (whenever it starts), and Bernucca mentions the Nets with four players: Nets FA Kris Humphries, Jazz FA Andrei Kirilenko, Wizards FA Jamal Crawford, and Celtics RFA Jeff Green.
According to Bernucca, the Nets “really can’t chance letting (Humphries) walk unless they bag a bigger prize,” though if they throw their cap space at Jeff Green, there’s no need to keep Humphries. He adds that Crawford could fill a hole in NJ at shooting guard, and that Kirilenko would fit best once the Nets fill their SG need. He didn’t include the Nets as players for Nene or David West, despite prior rumors to the contrary.
The Nets are gearing up for their Brooklyn opening in 2012, so it doesn’t make much sense for the Nets to spend a ton in this free agency class. The only way I see plausible movement is if amnesty becomes a reality; then the Nets can reallocate the $7 million per year in cap space owed to Travis Outlaw to someone like Kirilenko or Green. Crawford doesn’t make much sense to me as anything but a short-term rental — he’s fun, but he’s a 31-year-old guard that relies on his quickness coming off a down year. Given that the Nets already have a floor spacer in Anthony Morrow and an (albeit unproven) isolation scorer in MarShon Brooks, adding Crawford seems superfluous.