The start of the NBA free agency period begins at midnight and many teams will be knocking at the doors of superstars Dwight Howard, Josh Smith and Andre Iguodala. The Brooklyn Nets will not be able to add any player of this caliber to their roster but they will be looking to add a few key role players to go along with what Jeff Van Gundy called “a championship-caliber team” and “the best starting unit talent in basketball” on ESPN New York’s 98.7 FM’s “The Michael Kay Show.”
The Nets are severely handcuffed by the salary cap and cannot make a ton of big moves via free agency, however they do have a mini mid-level exception ($3.2 million this season and $10 million over a 3 year span) and the rest of the roster will be filled out with veteran minimum contracts. The Nets are certainly hoping that their All-Star studded lineup might convince some players to take less money in order to chase a championship. Here is a list of players that the Nets might sign in the next few weeks.
Right now the Nets glaring need is a backup point guard, C.J. Watson decided to turn down his player option and they will need to find someone to replace him. Tyshawn Taylor will be on the roster next season, but he has not shown he can efficiently run an offense to this point and the Nets will look to add a more experienced floor general.
Sebastian Telfair, the Brooklyn native and highly touted draft pick coming into the NBA never lived up to the expectations that he had coming out of Abraham Lincoln H.S. However, Telfair has turned into a serviceable NBA point guard and could be a good fit for the Nets. Kidd said he would like to get out in transition more and push the tempo and Telfair would certainly help out here. Telfair was a teammate of Paul Pierce’s on the Celtics in 2006-2007 and since he was born and raised in Brooklyn a homecoming might be an attractive option.
Jamaal Tinsley is another player that the Nets could look at to fill in as Deron Williams’ backup. Tinsley is also from Brooklyn and has been a productive point guard for a number of years. The 35 year old Iowa State product is a good distributor of the basketball and understands his role as a pass first backup point guard. He would be a good fit with a primarily veteran squad and will have no trouble running the offense while Williams takes a breather.
Andray Blatche is the most important free agent the Nets can sign this off-season. Blatche was an extremely productive player for Brooklyn last season and on a team that boasts Williams, Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson he could end up being the key to the team’s success. With the drafting of Mason Plumlee, Blatche can now play more significant minutes at power forward a position that fits his skill set better than center. He can rebound and defend down low and will be the best scoring option coming off the bench. His ability to play the 4 or the 5 will prove to be important in monitoring Garnett’s minutes. After the season he had last year Blatche could make a lot more money if he leaves Brooklyn, but he made it clear he wanted to return to the team and has been working out at the team’s facilities throughout the summer. In addition, Blatche is owed $15 million from the Washington Wizards over the next 2 years, from when they amnestied him a few years back. Expect Blatche to be back next season, unless someone throws a huge contract at him.
Kyle Korver has been a name floating around the organization for a few days now and could be the 3-point specialist off the bench for the Nets. Korver was drafted by the Nets and then traded to the Philadelphia 76ers on draft night when Billy King was still the general manager in Philly. Since he came into the league he has been one of the top pure shooters and can provide a spark off the bench, as well as great spacing for players like Lopez and Williams to operate. Korver, like Blatche, will have to take a pay cut in order to come to the Nets but he is good friends with Williams from their days in Utah and a chance to finally get a ring might entice him to join the team.
Bojan Bogdanovic is finally ready to come to America after playing in Turkey this season and the Nets might be willing to give him a shot. If Korver decides to go somewhere else, Bogdanovic could slide right on in. The Nets acquired his rights in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves and have been monitoring his progress in Europe. He is a great shooter who can develop into a solid stretch 4 for the team. He averaged 16 points per game and shot over 40% from deep this season in one of the top European leagues. If the Nets decide to bring him over he should be a good asset right away.
If Korver doesn’t come to the Nets, they might look to use the mid-level exception on someone like lockdown defender, Tony Allen or NBA veterans Matt Barnes or Martell Webster. However, for now there has not been much talk of these guys coming to Brooklyn. The Nets have also signed Damion James and David Lighty to their summer league roster and one of those two might fill out the bench.
The most likely scenario for the final 4 roster spots is Korver, Blatche, Telfair and James, however don’t be surprised if a few other veterans want to join the Nets and help bring a title to Brooklyn for the first time since the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers won the World Series.
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