By Todd Singer @breakingbadfish on June 4, 2014
The Brooklyn Nets were one of the best teams in the NBA in the second half of the season, but their season ended in the second round of the playoffs at the hands of the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. The Nets were in all but one of the six games and showed that if they can return most of their key pieces and make a few shrewd additions, they could compete with Miami. Here are five ways they can do just that.
The Nets don't have many assets that aren't key pieces of the team, thereby being tradeable, so Billy King will again have to get creative this offseason to bring in some new blood. One of the Nets' assets is European swingman Bojan Bogdanovic, who doesn't appear likely to come over to the NBA for another few seasons. As such, King could try to use Bogdanovic in a deal for a late first-rounder or a young player to augment the Nets' roster.
It's no coincidence that the Nets were much better with Andrei Kirilenko on the court this season, but unfortunately for team and player, that occurrence happened far too sparingly. Kirilenko played in only 45 games due to various injuries, but that could ultimately benefit Brooklyn in the long run. Kirilenko was thought to be a long shot to pick up his player option, but after his disrupted season, he may be more inclined to return to Brooklyn.
One of the biggest storylines surrounding the Nets' offseason, if not the biggest, is whether or not Kevin Garnett will return for another season. KG seemed rejuvenated in the latter part of the playoffs and could still be a key piece in the Nets' revamped defense. With the presumed return of Brook Lopez, Garnett may not be asked to start, but can still provide a valuable presence for the team on and off the court.
Shaun Livingston was one of the key contributors to the Nets' success this season, and his status will be a big part of this offseason. Livingston had the best season of his career, even working his way into a two-PG starting lineup alongside Deron Williams. Of course, that's likely to earn Livingston offers that will be out of the Nets' range financially, but Brooklyn is hoping he takes a hometown discount to continue what he started.
Much like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce's decision to stay or go will have a huge impact on the Nets next season. The Nets own Pierce's Bird Rights, meaning they can offer him more years and money than any other team in the league. Brooklyn also offers him a chance to play for a contender as his career winds down. Whether or not KG returns will likely have a direct impact on Pierce, but the Nets need to get him back in the fold at all costs.
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