Despite pouring dump-trucks of money into their roster, the Brooklyn Nets ended up fruitless in the 2013-14 NBA season as they were bounced in the second round of the playoffs. Left with hardly any monetary flexibility and a questionable outlook, the Nets were faced with a challenge from the start in NBA Free Agency and the offseason.
Things got even stranger and more challenging for the Nets when arguably the biggest of their summer developed in the form of head coach Jason Kidd departing for the Milwaukee Bucks. Though Kidd was hardly perfect in his first year as a head coach last season and had a bit of trouble holding on to beverages, he seemed to develop into a solid asset in that department for Brooklyn last year. Having him walk was certainly a bit of a blow for the Nets.
That wasn’t the only blow for Brooklyn either as they also saw Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston leave town for new (and possibly better) situations than what the Nets had to offer. Though Pierce showed decline last season, he was a valuable and viable offensive threat for them last year. Moreover, Livingston was also a monster asset off of the bench in Brooklyn.
The Nets also gave up Marcus Thornton, a player they got before the 2014 NBA Trade Deadline, in a three-team trade. However, that deal landed them two plus-assets in Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev. Jack is a much different player than Livingston, but offers a quality replacement in the role of coming in behind Deron Williams. Karasev is also a young player that still needs to develop, but could wind up being something for a team that desperately needs youth.
The Nets’ only real signing this offseason wasn’t about youth at all, though, as they re-signed veteran guard Alan Anderson to a two-year, $3 million deal. Anderson still has value at the NBA level, but I’m not sure that value is maximized on an aging team like the Nets that also happens to be pretty set in their backcourt.
In the interest of adding some of the youth Brooklyn is lacking, though, the Nets were able to trade into the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft and grab three prospects that seemingly slipped in the draft and could have value. Markel Brown is a stud athlete with more basketball skills than people give him credit for, while Xavier Thames and Cory Jefferson need polishing but could develop into serviceable rotation players. Bringing over Bojan Bogdanovic could also give them another rotation player.
Brooklyn was able to add an influx of youth this season, even if all of that youth wasn’t lottery-level talent. The organization was also able to replace a big loss in Livingston, even if they weren’t able to retain or replace what Pierce gave them last season. However, all of this pales in their biggest gain this offseason: getting a healthy Brook Lopez back in the lineup. If he can stay healthy, the Nets should make noise in the Eastern Conference again.
Final Grade: C+