The rumors have quieted a little bit but apparently, the Brooklyn Nets might be looking to hit the reset button. The Nets front office locked up what was occasionally referred to as “The Big 5.” It began years ago when the Nets picked Brook Lopez in the 2008 NBA Draft. Brooklyn traded with Utah back in 2011 to land Deron Williams. The front office stepped up and traded for Atlanta’s Joe Johnson in 2012. The Nets finished collecting superstars in 2013 when they made a draft night trade to acquire Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics. This group has been together for less than two full years. That is a pretty small window of opportunity to prove that this group win a title, but it seems like they are running out of time fast.
Pierce already jumped ship and joined the Washington Wizards as a free agent this past off-season. Lopez has been injury prone playing only 33 games since the start of last season. Williams’ ankles have rendered him slow and unable to cope with the same number of minutes he once played. Garnett is starting to show his age. Not many players can still contribute at 38 years old. Johnson is the only one who has continued to perform in a Nets uniform into 2014. He is the only one of this starting five (well now four with Pierce gone) that I can see staying with the Nets past this years’ trade deadline. At least the only one the Nets might want to keep. Plus, his contract is difficult to move. Lopez might not be able to be moved because of his injury history. Brooklyn should find suitors for Garnett and Williams. Neither one of them can carry a team the NBA anymore but they can both contribute to a title contending team. Here is where I could see those two moving.
Williams could go to another team in the Eastern Conference such as Indiana who has been devastated by injuries at guard this year. Williams could also move to the other team from the Eastern Conference Finals last season in Miami. The Heat has been looking for an upgrade at point guard over Mario Chalmers for years. Shabazz Napier could become that player in a few seasons but he is not that player right now. Houston has been busy recently with trades but it could potentially be in play for a move for Williams. Having him setting James Harden and Dwight Howard is a scary thought. I think the most likely possibility here is Miami as they are the ones with the most tradable pieces.
For Lopez, if he is moved. I could see him landing in Golden State. The Warriors tried hard to land Kevin Love but instead they could land Lopez and make a title run if he can stay healthy. The Lakers have also been in the market for anyone who is not currently under contract. Getting a big man who can score in the paint won’t get the Lakers to the playoffs but it will get them on the right track and maybe help them acquire another big name player in the off season. The Suns could also be in play for Lopez. Phoenix could use an upgrade at center and could move Eric Bledsoe finally as has been rumored for about a year now.
Lastly, Garnett might find his way back to one of his former teams. I could see him playing for either Minnesota or Boston in his final few seasons as a way for the organizations draw fans while they rebuild. I could also see him joining Toronto if it chooses to add another frontcourt weapon before making a playoff run. The Raptors currently sit atop the Eastern Conference but a deeper team featuring Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas and Garnett rotating in could be scary for teams to deal with.
I don’t know if the Nets organization will definitely hit the panic button and restart but I think it might be a wise move. The longer this team stays together, the more Brooklyn is putting off attempting to find young talent to replace this aging crew. I think the Nets need a fresh start. Building around Joe Johnson for the time being could be the plan. They might also hope that building around Lopez is still an option. Either way, this team needs to start moving in a different direction.