When the Brooklyn Nets made their Big Apple debut in 2012, they brought them with them some expectations. But all the Nets have done is become impatient in their attempt to win an NBA Championship as the losses have mounted for them. In three-plus seasons in Brooklyn, the Nets have gone through five different head coaches while also mortgaging their future by giving up draft picks in order to acquire washed up players. And although that the Nets have made the NBA Playoffs in each of the last three years, they’ve never been a legitimate title contender. This season the Nets are 12-33 and if it weren’t for the struggles of the Los Angeles Lakers or the hapless Philadelphia 76ers, we would be talking about Brooklyn as being the worst team in the NBA.
This NBA season never got off to a good start for the Nets who lost their first seven games which they’ve never been able to recover from. After 37 games, Lionel Hollins was fired as Nets head coach while Billy King was relieved of his duties as the team’s general manager. Under interim head coach Tony Brown, the Nets are 2-6 and at this point it will be a miracle if they manage to win 25 games this season. And to make matters worse, the Nets first-round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft belongs to the Boston Celtics after one of the worst trades in league history which saw Brooklyn send three first-round picks to Boston in 2013 in exchange for small forward Paul Pierce, Power forward Kevin Garnett, and shooting guard Jason Terry who are no longer with the team. In a year where the Nets need an early pick in the NBA Draft to potentially turn around their franchise, they will really be starting over as this team needs a new general manager and head coach.
Mikhail Prokorov purchased the Nets in 2010, and he immediately vowed to win an NBA Championship within five years. Prokorov has never had a problem in spending money as since coming to Brooklyn, the Nets have always been on the wrong side of the NBA’s luxury tax. Obviously the wins have not come as frequently as Prokorov or the folks in Brooklyn would like which has taught the Russian billionaire a hard lesson in humility as winning in the NBA won’t be as easy as he expected.
Going forward the Nets must find a general manager that has a sharp basketball mind that can also scout some young talent. The new general manager in Brooklyn must also bring in a head coach that can cultivate that talent as the two need to work together in order to build a contender. And for Prokorov, he must understand that this process won’t happen overnight.
In 2010, Prokorov was so intent of competing with and developing a rivalry with the New York Knicks as the two NBA franchises are separated by the East River, that he made the same mistakes that the Knicks were making at the time which was attempting to buy a championship and do it overnight. Since then the Knicks have realized their mistakes and they’ve actually attempted to draft and build a team which is something that the Nets should now pay attention to.
The Nets aren’t going anywhere this NBA season which makes it prudent for them to think about trading the assets that they have in order to get some future building blocks. Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson is in the final year of his contract as he is earning $24.8 million this season, and in the world of the NBA, expiring contracts are considered gold. After this season center Brook Lopez will still be owed $43 million from the Nets through 2018, and as a 7-footer that have averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds for his NBA career, he has some value on the trade market.
With or without Lopez and Johnson, the Nets are going to be a bad team, and at this point they might as well attempt to be an inexpensive bad team. The Nets attempted to lure in a fan base in 2012, and like all New Yorkers, the folks in Brooklyn want to see a winner. Going forward the Nets will actually have some cap space, but it wouldn’t be prudent to pull the trigger on deals that aren’t going to drastically improve the team while also inflating their payroll.