If there is one thing that can be taken away from this terrible season, it is that Yi Jianlian isn’t the long-term solution at power forward. Also, despite the strong start of Kris Humphries’ Nets career, he doesn’t seem to be the answer either. Going into next year the Nets are stuck with both of them, as both contracts do not expire this offseason. I use the word “stuck” because both of these players are solid backup options (maybe good for a spot start here or there), but if you want a winning team, neither of them should be starting full time. With the Nets looking to be set (though willing to upgrade by signing LeBron/Wade – drafting John Wall) at all positions except the PF spot, I expect it to be a position that the Nets focus on this offseason. So what are their options? Well, I can come up with three pretty good solutions:
Option 1: Sign Chris Bosh
Yeah, this one was pretty obvious huh? There has been a lot of talk that Chris Bosh should be the third option when it comes to the big Free Agents this year (behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade), but I have been saying since last offseason that Chris Bosh is the one player I hope the Nets pursue. For one, I think that he is the most likely to leave (of the three) this offseason. I also think that Bosh is a perfect fit for the roster they are building. Nets’ fans saw first hand what he can do not only on the inside, but on the outside, which is why he fits so well with Brook Lopez. Bosh can dominate the high-post/elbow area while Brook Lopez can dominate the paint (think Tim Duncan and David Robinson). You know how Brook gets doubled as soon as he touches it this year? I think teams would hesitate to double Brook if Bosh was the man they had to leave open (and vice versa).
Option 2: Sign David Lee
Now there is the chance that Bosh resigns with the Raptors or that he chooses to play with another team (alongside Dwyane Wade in Miami perhaps). David Lee on the other hand is almost guaranteed to become a free-agent this offseason and could be an attractive option for the Nets. While not as much of a threat from the outside as Chris Bosh, David Lee was an all-star this past year and he is a very good screen setter and rebounder. On the defensive end, not so much. I think Lee and Lopez could work, and apparently they do too (from our friends at TheKnicksBlog):
“…If statistics work out, they get the No. 1 pick,” Lee said, “They have a great center in Lopez, an All-Star point guard, Devin Harris, great athleticism with wings Chris Douglas-Roberts and Terrence Williams. They could have a big turnaround year next year if they get a good free agent and the No. 1 draft pick. It’s going to be interesting which direction they go.”
“It would be great,” Lopez said of possibly teaming with Lee, “a guy who loves to crash the offensive glass for so many extra possessions. Then with Yi, if you had the three of us playing together, it would be a great situation…”
This is the type of signing that you can’t really like or dislike until it happens. In my opinion it all depends on the cost it takes to bring in Lee. As a restricted free agent, Lee signed a $7 million one-year deal last summer with the Knicks, but with all this cap room available, teams could overpay for Lee’s services. David Lee isn’t a max-contract guy, but there may be teams out there who would offer him that.
Option 3: Upgrade Via The Draft
The Nets have three draft picks in this upcoming draft, and I can see them using one of these picks on a Power Forward. Now, unless the worst case scenario happens and the Nets end up with the 3rd or 4th pick in the lottery, the Nets won’t be using their first round pick on a PF. However if the worst does happen, there are a lot of options at PF early in the draft (after the first two spots):
- Derrick Favors
- DeMarcus Cousins
- Al-Farouq Aminu
- Ed Davis
Out of these four guys, my pick would be Favors. The problem with all of these guys is that they are picks made on “potential” rather than coming in right away and helping, and while Yi and Humphries can hold down the fort until one of these guys are ready, that is a less favorable option.
The Nets’ second first round pick comes courtesy of the Dallas Mavericks through the Jason Kidd-Devin Harris trade. Right now, this is projected to be the 27th pick (thanks Washington!). I actually seeing the Nets using this pick as a part of a trade (maybe a sign-and-trade with a big three guy?), but I can see the Nets taking someone like Patrick Patterson if his stock falls. Don’t know if it will happen, but with the emergence of all the young guys on Kentucky, Patterson has taken a back-seat. While his ceiling isn’t as high as the guys I mentioned before, Patterson will be able to come in and contribute a lot sooner, thus making him more attractive of a pick in my opinion.
The third pick the Nets have is their second round pick. Despite the off the court stuff with CDR, he was a pretty solid second round pick, and the Nets have a history of doing pretty well with their second round picks (at least in my opinion). I can see the Nets taking a flyer on any one of the following players with their second round pick:
- Jarvis Varnado
- Trevor Booker
- Charles Garcia
Anyone of these guys would be a pretty solid second round pick in my opinion. There is also a slew of international big men this year (I am not too familiar with them), and with a new Russian owner, who knows if that is an option.