Analyzing the Nets’ Offseason
“I’ve never heard of half these guys and the ones I do know are way past their prime.”
This was heard in the opening scene of the movie, Major League when the Cleveland Indians’ front office was discussing players who have been invited down to Spring Training. In a sense, this line could be applied to summarize how the Brooklyn Nets’ offseason has played out.
Nets’ general manager, Sean Marks initially targeted restricted free agents in Portland’s Allen Crabbe and Miami’s Tyler Johnson, but those plans were foiled when both players’ four year contracts were matched by their respective teams. It was a setback for the Nets’ rebuild as both were viewed as players who could grow and develop in Brooklyn under Kenny Atkinson’s tutelage. Pivoting to “Plan B” has left Nets fans with some familiar faces, albeit in the twilight of their careers, and a few names the casual fan has probably never heard of, specifically Joe Harris and Justin Hamilton.
Since he was hired, Marks has stressed the importance of patience and rebuilding with players who will help transform the culture in Brooklyn. The reality is the Nets were not going to be a playoff team even if Crabbe and Johnson were signed, so it’s important that Marks didn’t panic and lock the Nets into bad deals with other free agents on the market.
Aside from Jeremy Lin who was signed to a three-year deal, all other free agents were either signed for two-years (Harris, Anthony Bennett, Trevor Booker, Justin Hamilton) or one-year (Greivis Vasquez, Luis Scola, Randy Foye). This will ensure the Nets will have flexibility moving ahead in future offseasons, which was smart. Who knows if an expiring contract like Vasquez’s or Foye’s can be used to acquire a draft pick from a playoff team this season as the year progresses, thus giving Marks another asset for next June.
Even if their final record isn’t good, there’s an element of intrigue with this team. With rookies, Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead, and second year players, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris McCullough, there seems to be a nice blend of youth to go along with the veterans who were brought in. Additionally it will be interesting to see if Atkinson’s staff can develop something out of Bennett, the top pick from the 2013 draft who may be down to his last chance with an NBA organization.
The 2016–17 Nets may not be Eastern Conference contenders but this season figures to be an important one as they attempt to develop a culture and identity under a new regime. The official campaign for this season is “We Came to Play”. With a young, athletic,and hungry roster now in place perhaps the Nets can become a feisty team and turn some heads this season…just like those Cleveland Indians from Major League.