July 13, 2012
The Nets are ready to turn the page and start a new chapter in Brooklyn. The Nets ended their stay in New Jersey with five straight seasons without making the playoffs. They never won an NBA Championship in New Jersey. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov and GM Billy King have shown this last week that they are set to move this team in the right direction to become a major contender in the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn entered the offseason with what was essentially a blank slate. They had tons of money to spend as many of their players became free agents. The major move that had to be made was bringing back All Star Point Guard Deron Williams. Williams met with both the Nets and the Mavericks and had a difficult time making the right decision. When the Nets announced that they had pulled off a blockbuster trade to acquire Shooting Guard Joe Johnson, Williams, the best free agent on the market, knew Brooklyn was the right choice. The Nets also announced that they re-signed Small Forward Gerald Wallace to a 4-year $40 million deal. The acquisitions of Wallace and Johnson showed the star point guard that the Nets meant business and the time to win was now. Williams signed a 5-year $98 million deal to lead the Nets as they open up the Barclays Center in Brooklyn this fall.
Once Willams was on the board, their next step was to try to swing a deal for Magic Center Dwight Howard. After weeks of talks with other teams around the league in hopes of finding additional partners in a potential deal, the Nets pulled the plug on the trade negotiations with the Magic on Wednesday, thus ending their pursuit of Howard. The man who was the center of those trade talks on the Nets end was Brook Lopez. Lopez has had a very impressive start to his career before missing nearly all of last season with a broken foot. Lopez had not missed a game in his first three seasons in the league and averaged 20 points a game in the 2010-2011 season. The Nets re-signed their big man to a 4-year $61 million contract Wednesday night. The Nets now have their marquee players for the upcoming season in place.
The Nets didn’t stop there. They also signed Bosnian power forward Mirza Teletovic to a 3-year $9 million contract. The signing of Teletovic has potential to pay off huge dividends as he put up big numbers overseas last season. Teletovic is a valuable asset as he is a big man with three-point range. He is expected to either start at Power Forward or come off the bench depending on what other moves the Nets make throughout the rest of the offseason..
To round off the bench, GM Billy King added Power Forward/Center Reggie Evans and Small Forward Jerry Stackhouse. Both are veterans with tons of playoff experience, something invaluable when it comes to building a championship team. MarShon Brooks, barring a trade, will come off the bench as the sixth man after a very impressive rookie season where he averaged in double figures.
Billy King has done a tremendous job of turning this team in the right direction in a short amount of time. They needed to start off in Brooklyn on the right foot and these moves put the Nets on track to do just that. Expect the Nets to be a top tier team in the Eastern Conference competing with the likes of the Heat, Bulls, Celtics, and Knicks. Brooklyn will finally have a professional sports team to bring back some magic for the first time since the Dodgers left in 1957.