Most NBA experts predicted that the Brooklyn Nets were going to go out in the first or second round of the playoffs, and they were right. The Nets went down in five games to the Miami Heat and looked pretty bad as well. Is it time for the Nets to tear it down and try to start over?
The quick answer to that question is they can’t. The Nets don’t have any draft picks that they control until 2019, so if they were to start a rebuild, it’d take six years at the minimum. That’s just not the smart way to do things. The Nets are cap-strapped until at least 2016, when the only player on the books will be Deron Williams. 2016 is going to be known as the summer of Kevin Durant.
Now there is no indication Durant even wants to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder, but two years is a long time, and with the owner’s reluctance to paying the luxury tax, how long will they be able to compete?
We know that Mikhail Prokhorov has no issue spending, with an estimated $90 million in tax bills this year. So the Nets can’t do much in free agency over the next two years, and there’s no promise they can land Durant in 2016. The Nets are in a bad situation with no draft picks, and the trade value of their top two players is at an all-time low.
The best the Nets can do next year is to try and go for it all over again: bring back the band, get younger role players, and get healthy because Williams and Brook Lopez could use some health. The team can go for it all one more time before ripping down everything.
So, the Nets shouldn’t start the rebuild process yet, but when they do start, expect it to be a long and grueling process because of the lack of picks. Basketball in New York doesn’t look to have a bright future on either side of the East River.