With the potential departure of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson this offseason it is unlikely that the Brooklyn Nets can get any starting caliber players in return. The Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly offered Brendan Haywood and Anderson Varejao for Joe Johnson however the talks have reportedly become stagnant.
The Nets want more immediate assets as they want to try to avoid a steady rebuild and diving head first into the luxury tax. They barely have any future draft picks which brings them to a roadblock. They have no money to spend, no picks to draft a star, and no valuable trade assets that they are willing to give up. There must be sacrifices if the Nets wish to be stars once again.
The front court residing in Brooklyn has been solved re-signing Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young in for long-term deals. So we look to the starting backcourt of Williams and Johnson. Johnson, though having a more expensive contract than Deron, has proven to be a more valuable asset to the team and more teams are willing to acquire him, largely in part to his expiring deal.
Williams seems to have lost his stardom and has a contract that will be on the books longer than Johnson’s. He could be a gamble for a team willing to acquire him as it is perceived that the point guard only needs a change of setting.
Since it is almost impossible to get starting quality players for these two players, the team’s needs must be filled with free-agency. Backcourt help would be a great benefit for the team even with Steve Blake, Jarrett Jack, Shane Larkin, and Markel Brown. Ryan Boatright has proven to be a promising prospect but can MAYBE be a third string point guard at best for now. What guards can help Brooklyn the most if both Deron Williams and Joe Johnson are gone next season?
Gerald Green would be great option who is a boost on the offensive end would be much cheaper than Joe Johnson. He is a quick player who can add speed to a slow offensive game based around Brook Lopez. Green is coming off a small drop-off from a great year in the 2013-14 season but still averaged double digit points per game coming off the bench. He averaged a staggering 22 points and 4.6 rebounds per 36 minutes last year would be a push in the offensive direction and a small drop-off in defense. Brooklyn may be the right place for Green to get back on track and earn a starting role in the prime of his career. Also, who wouldn’t love to see a former Net make a return.
Although Alexey Shved may not be the best player available he is certainly a good option for the Nets. He is an offensive floor spacer with his shooting and still very young at 26. He will take a small salary to be able to play a starting role on the Nets squad if needed. He average about 15 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game with New York making about 37% of his three pointers.
This may be a stretch but Crawford can be a possibility for the Nets through the Cleveland trade. Johnson could go to Cleveland shipping Brendan Haywood and Jamal Crawford to the Nets and Anderson Varejao to the Los Angeles Clippers. This is possible because the Clippers are now in desperate need for a center after DeAndre Jordan left the Clippers for the Dallas Mavericks via free agency. Jamal Crawford is a 35-year-old veteran who still puts up prime numbers. He averaged about 16 points per game last season coming off the bench and shot 90% from the free-throw line. He’s only making about $5.6 million next season and then becomes a free agent. He is a great short term option that will allow more moves to be made this offseason.
Vince Carter/Beno Udrih
This duo could be part of a possible deal since it was reported that Memphis was interested in acquiring Joe Johnson. Both are cheap totaling together about $6 million next season. Udrih’s contract expires this year and Carter’s the next. Udrih can be a solid reserve point guard as he has had been limited to a bench role behind Mike Conley. He averaged 14.6 points and 5.3 assists per 36 minutes of playing time last season. His contract ends this season, not that it was much of a hindering making a little over $2 million this year.
This deal would be similar to the return of Kevin Garnett to Minnesota but with Vince Carter coming back to a team where he spent five of some of his best years as a then New Jersey Net. His veteran leadership would be great for the Nets as he could lead a locker room much better than anyone on the Nets team now. His on the court contributions would not be anywhere near as valuable as his off the court contributions.