Skip to content

The coach is gone, now what moves must Nets make this offseason?

May 8, 2013, 1:56 PM EST

Brooklyn Nets' Evans, Lopez and Williams wait during time out in their game with Chicago Bulls in the fourth quarter of Game 7 of their NBA Eastern Conference Quarterfinals basketball playoff series in New York Reuters

P.J. Carlesimo wasn’t really the problem in Brooklyn. But he wasn’t really the answer, either.

Brooklyn goes into the summer looking for a new coach and that hire is huge because it’s questionable how much the roster can be changed from last season’s 49-win, fourth in the East squad.

That’s the challenge for the Nets this summer — between the coach and roster tweaks they need to ad variety to their offensive game and they need to get some accountability at the defensive end.

For coaches they are looking first at big names — Phil Jackson said no so expect names like Larry Brown, the Van Gundy brothers (though that seems unlikely), Brian Shaw and maybe others. What the Nets need is a creative coach who can push the right buttons, not just the biggest name — they had conversations with Tom Thibodeau last coaching search but didn’t want to hire an assistant, they wanted a name for the marquee. Thibodeau just coached the Nets into the ground in the first round of the playoffs.

That coach has to come in and put in a system that gives Deron Williams freedom and also gets Brook Lopez the ball on the move and in spots where he can be effective. Part of that would be to up the tempo — the Nets played at the third slowest pace in the league last season. With guys like Williams and the mobile Lopez — not to mention MarShon Brooks and others — the Nets should get more easy buckets in transition than they do.

The coach would be helped by adding some versatility to the roster. But that’s where things get tricky — the Nets have $85 million in salary on the books for next season already. While owner Mikhail Prokhorov may be fine with the luxury tax hit, the contracts they have and the restrictions on deals because they are taxpayers will make Billy King’s job hard. They have one free agent they want to bring back in Andray Blatche, but he says he wants minutes to go with his money and the Nets may not have enough of the minutes part (although money always wins that battle).

As for trades, the options are limited. The Nets are not going to trade Williams and Lopez, those guys are set.

They’d be willing to trade Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace but that will be very hard — Johnson has the worst contract in the NBA with three years, $70 million remaining after this season; Wallace has three years, $33 million and just had a dramatic drop in productivity at age 30. We’ve seen in recent years no deal is untradeable, but these come close and they would not get much quality back in return for them.

Kris Humphries has one year, $12 million left and that seems more likely to get shopped around, but there’s not going to be a lot of demand for his services. Maybe he can packaged with Brooks or Mirza Teletovic to get a better deal. Maybe. But any deal is going to be tough to come by because of the trade restrictions on them (as a tax payer) and because they don’t have assets other teams are all that interested in.

Any deal needs to focus on someone at the four spot — when Wallace and Reggie Evans were paired the Nets were easy to defend because neither of them were a real threat to score. But Carlesimo paired them a lot. What the Nets need is more versatility, a guy who can provide different looks other teams have to defend. Humphries and Evans were not those guys, they were they guys you willingly helped off of.

The biggest problem for the Nets is that pretty much what you see is what you’re going to get with the roster. They aren’t making big moves.

Which is why the coaching hire here is key — they need a coach that can elevate the roster they have, because that is the roster they are largely stuck with (for a couple of years). If the Nets want to climb out of the middle of the Eastern Conference pack it’s going to take a good hire as coach and some clever work by Billy King. He overpaid to get a roster together that could win in the new building in Brooklyn, but now the Nets are that roster and things will not be easy.

Latest Posts
  1. Raptors unveil new logo, get ribbed by Nets’ official Twitter account about it

    Dec 19, 2014, 4:29 PM EST

    Nets v Raptors Eastern Conference Quarter Finals Game 7 Getty Images

    Black-and-white version of Toronto’s new logo looks similar to Brooklyn’s

  2. Report: Minnesota agrees to trade Corey Brewer to Houston

    Dec 19, 2014, 2:56 PM EST

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    This gives the Rockets a little more depth on the wing with Harden and Ariza.

  3. Kevin Durant (ankle injury) game-time decision vs. Lakers

    Dec 19, 2014, 2:15 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Thunder star sprained ankle against Warriors

  4. Report: Mavericks targeting Jermaine O’Neal to replace Brandan Wright

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:04 PM EST

    Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Sending Wright to the Celtics leaves major hole at backup center

  5. Report: Mavericks “confident” they can re-sign Rajon Rondo

    Dec 19, 2014, 12:28 PM EST

    rondomavs

    Mark Cuban is too smart to pull the trigger on this kind of deal unless he has word he can keep his man.

  6. Report: Hornets pull Lance Stephenson off trade block

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:51 AM EST

    Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat Getty Images

    Heat and Nets among teams that showed interest

  7. Mark Cuban finalized Rajon Rondo trade while on set for The Colbert Report finale

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:15 AM EST

    Mavericks owner, one of many celebrities singing off Stephen Colbert, had his priorities in line

  8. Carmelo Anthony turning down the Bulls was a blessing in disguise for Chicago

    Dec 19, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony

    The Bulls are better off with their depth and flexibility.

  9. Draymond Green ruins Stephen Curry’s behind-the-back highlight (video)

    Dec 19, 2014, 9:08 AM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors

    Warriors forward blows dunk, does everything else right in win over Thunder

  10. Mike Malone “surprised” he was fired by Sacramento Kings

    Dec 19, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Los Angeles Clippers v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    He will get another shot at being a head coach in the NBA. He deserves it.

  11. Dallas moves into title contender status with addition of Rajon Rondo

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:01 AM EST

    Rajon Rondo AP

    Rondo moves the Mavs into contender status in the West. Problem is that is a crowded field.

  12. Kevin Durant turns ankle, leaves game not to return; X-rays negative.

    Dec 19, 2014, 12:46 AM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    The team officially described the sprain as “mild.”

  13. Phil Jackson takes to Twitter to defend Knicks trading Tyson Chandler to Mavericks

    Dec 18, 2014, 11:00 PM EST

    Phil Jackson, James Dolan, executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company AP

    Phil responds to an article ripping the Knicks for making the deal.

Featured video

Jabari Parker injury latest for disappointing rookie class
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Favors (7547)
  2. K. Martin (7199)
  3. D. Cousins (6868)
  4. A. Davis (6807)
  5. A. Bogut (6707)
  1. J. Noah (6598)
  2. T. Jones (6531)
  3. D. Lee (6312)
  4. C. Bosh (6285)
  5. T. Parker (6074)