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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Nets offseason notebook

By Mike Mazzeo

A few Brooklyn Nets offseason notes:

1. The Nets are in no rush to add a head coach, according to those familiar with their search. They don’t mind not having one in place, even with the June 27 NBA draft fast-approaching. Ultimately, with the help of scouts and other player personnel people, GM Billy King is going to have the final say on who the team selects with the 22nd pick in the first round. As has been reported, the Nets are waiting for potential candidates like Lionel Hollins and Brian Shaw to finish up their respective teams’ playoff runs so they can gauge possible interest. All that’s definitely known right now is that King talked to Phil Jackson, and the 11-time coaching champion declined the job.

Andray Blatche
C.J. Watson and Andray Blatche
2. The more you look at it, the more you realize King hit a pair of home runs when he signed Andray Blatche (non-guaranteed one-year) and C.J. Watson (two years, player option) to minimum contracts last season. Both players were worth far more to the team than their modest salaries would suggest. And that’s what’s going to make keeping both of them so difficult. Because they’re over the salary cap, the Nets are restricted as to what they can offer Blatche and Watson. If either -- or both -- decide to play elsewhere, it’s going to be difficult to find a capable replacement at a bargain basement price.

Some of the conceivable options on the free-agent market come July 1? Daniel Gibson, Nazr Mohammed, Earl Watson, Beno Udrih, Joel Pryzbilla and Ryan Hollins.

To reiterate: the Nets can only offer free agents -- including Blatche and Watson -- the taxpayer mini mid-level exception or the minimum.

But if they’re going to give slick-shooting wing Bojan Bogdanovic perhaps all of the mini mid-level to come over, that leaves them with just the minimum.

As a result, they’re going to have to hope that Blatche -- who is still owed $16 million over the next two years by the Washington Wizards after being amnestied by them -- will be intrigued by the possibility of starting at power forward next season for a playoff contender that gave him a chance to revive his career.

Watson, who holds a player option for the minimum, shot 41.1 percent from 3-point range last season, often benefiting from the double-teams that Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez saw.

The Chicago Bulls lost several key bench pieces from their 2011-12 roster, but managed to replace them in 2012-13. If the Nets lose Blatche, Watson or both, it’s up to King to at least attempt to do the same.

3. While King said he doesn’t necessarily have to make a trade this offseason, he does have Kris Humphries’ $12 million expiring contract at his disposal. Obviously, power forward was a bit of a weakness for the Nets last season. King could look to upgrade it by packaging Humphries along with MarShon Brooks, who was in the doghouse all season, and future first-round picks (the Nets have all of their firsts going forward).

Purely speculation, but some players that could potentially help the Nets include power forwards David Lee, Carlos Boozer, Zach Randolph and Ersan Ilyasova, though it’s unknown if their current teams would deal them. Or maybe King could use the Humphries contract to replenish the bench if he has to.

4. You never want to say never, but the Nets’ chances of getting Dwight Howard are basically zero because they’d have to clear nearly $30 million to get him in order to become compliant with the CBA. Salary cap guru Larry Coon broke the remote possibility down in a detailed blog post on his site.