By Todd Singer @breakingbadfish on April 19, 2014
While their current focus is on the playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets have quite a few questions to answer this offseason. Once the playoff run is finished, GM Billy King will have some work to do if he wants to bring back several key pieces from this year's roster. The following are the biggest questions he and his personnel will have to answer this offseason.
Andrei Kirilenko's signing with Brooklyn last offseason drew a lot of hemming and hawing to say the least, but Kirilenko's contract included a player option for a second year. Kirilenko's recurring injuries caused him to miss over 40 games, which could lead to his value being sandbagged. It's no coincidence that the Nets' record is significantly better with him in the lineup, and they need him back.
Brook Lopez is still arguably the Nets' best player and their best offensive option, but the Nets' resurgence started this season after he went down for the year with another foot injury. Brooklyn has had a load of success with a small ball lineup since January, but it remains to be seen whether Lopez is a part of their future plans, especially after another injury. The Nets may look for a suitable deal for him, but won't shop him actively.
When the Nets signed Shaun Livingston to a one-year deal for the league minimum, no one could've imagined that he'd become one of the key cogs in their remarkable turnaround. Livingston's length has been integral in the Nets' ability to switch on screens, and he's also allowed Deron Williams to play off the ball more. The Nets will have to get very creative to keep Livingston, as he could be looking at a significant pay raise this offseason.
Paul Pierce is a free agent this offseason, but the Nets retain his Bird Rights, so they can offer him more than any other team. With the way Pierce has played this season, it's a good bet that the Nets will offer a deal somewhere in the two-year range for a nice sum, given that payroll isn't an issue to Mikhail Prokhorov. Whether or not Pierce stays or heads back home to Los Angeles to finish his career will have a big impact on the Nets.
While the Nets were able to hold their own when Garnett missed 20 games between March and April, he's been the anchor of the team's revamped defense. Without him, as admirable as Mason Plumlee's effort has been, the Nets simply lack the necessary inside defense. Garnett could opt to hang them up this offseason due to his balky knees and back, or he could opt for one more run, which largely depends on if Pierce stays.
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