Brooklyn Nets’ Franchise In Complete Turmoil


Brooklyn Nets’ Failures: Not Just About This Season

In what is turning into a lost season for the Brooklyn Nets, there are many issues beyond 2015. Let’s start from the beginning. In 2011, Nets management failed to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets. In an effort to make up for that, they traded Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and 2 first-round picks to the Utah Jazz for Deron Williams. At the time, this was a no-brainer trade for a player who was considered, with Chris Paul, to be one of the top 2 point guards in the NBA. It was an exciting time in New Jersey (soon to be Brooooooooklyn). Little did Nets fans like me know, this would be the worst thing that could happen to the franchise.

We watched Williams get his feet wet in 12 games for the Nets in 2010-2011.  There was a new buzz around the team and the only concern now was, “Will he sign after the 2011-2012 NBA season”.  In an effort to persuade D-Will, the Nets traded for 6-time All-Star Joe Johnson and his colossal contract. That being said, the Nets gave up a first-round pick, second-round pick and essentially a bag of basketballs to make the dollars work.  Just days later, D-Will signed a 5-year $100 million contract.  Their plan had worked! The Nets needed stars for their new Russian/Rapper funded arena in Brooklyn and they got them.

Every Nets fans’ dream was for them to be the top dog in New York. It almost seemed more important than contending for a ring. Now they had Williams, Johnson, and Brook Lopez (who they tried trading 100 times for Dwight Howard and failed), Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov.  Things were about to get REAL! Real bad…

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The Nets went “all-in” with this plan. They traded a 2012 first round pick to the Portland Trail Blazers (which ended up being Damian Lillard) for Gerald Wallace: a trade that was very confusing to fans. With a slow start and a coaching change from Avery Johnson to P.J. Carlesimo; the plan didn’t seem to be working.  However, the Nets turned it around, winning 49 games, and were the 4-seed in the Eastern Conference. Game 7, Nets vs. an injured Bulls team in Brooooooklyn! This is what they were waiting for! Instead, they throw it away after a very lack-luster performance, to Nate Robinson and the boys. The new-look Nets are bounced from the playoffs after just one round.

Fast forward to the offseason and the Nets are looking for a way to get over the hump. They need to make yet another splash, so why not use whatever draft picks they still have left. After a nice run that included a championship, the Boston Celtics were looking to start over. What better team to trade Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to than the desperate Brooklyn Nets. Pierce and Garnett were the center pieces of a trade that included 3 first-round picks from the Nets. Aging veterans were going to turn the Nets around. Carlesimo was fired and Nets all-time great, Jason Kidd, coming straight off the court (playing his last NBA season for the Knicks) was to be their new coach.

After a season ending in disappointment, there was once again excitement in the Brooklyn air. Another slow start began to worry management, but yet again the team rebounded. 44 wins and the 6 seed in the Eastern Conference wasn’t exactly what they were hoping for but they were entering the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the league. Game 7 in Toronto felt like Déjà vu for this team, but they prevailed and beat the Raptors, to go on to play the defending champs. Surprising nobody, the heartless Nets got eliminated 4 games to 1 at the hands of the Miami Heat.  For other teams, this would have been a successful season, but the Nets invested EVERYTHING into a small “championship” window.

9 months later, the Nets are sitting at 21-31 and currently the 9th seed in the lowly Eastern Conference, but they are still better than the Knicks! The issue with this is that the Knicks have a future, while the Nets do not. They are one of the oldest teams in the league, with an injury stricken roster. Williams is a shell of himself and cannot stay on the court for more than 3 weeks at a time. Johnson is getting old and slowing down drastically.  Brook Lopez’s feet, sadly are failing him. He’s on the court for now but who knows how long that will last. Mason Plumlee is a nice young player, but by no means a franchise cornerstone.

They have essentially no draft picks for the next 5 years and very little in trade assets to fix that.  A lottery pick would be great, except the Hawks have the right to swap picks because of the Joe Johnson trade.  The irony of that is the Hawks are 43-11 and the top team in the East by far.  The only saving grace is the cap room they have after the 2015-2016 season. They will have the money to sign anybody, but who will want to play for such a poorly run franchise?  Looking back on it, a potential core of Derrick Favors and Damian Lillard doesn’t look too shabby.

The Nets made Kidd look like a genius for forcing his way out and into the young Milwaukee Bucks organization. On the flip side, Lionel Hollins looks like a fool for wanting the Nets job. The excitement of the D-Will trade in 2011 seems like decades ago. It was the beginning of the end of the Nets’ franchise for the foreseeable future.  Think of it like a poker game. The Nets organization went on full tilt and lost miserably. With an absentee owner looking to sell and a team in complete turmoil, Nets fans should prepare themselves for years of being irrelevant.

Next: What Are 5 Possible Landing Spots for Brook Lopez?

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