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Saturday, December 21, 2013
Making sense of Brooklyn

By Mike Mazzeo



An expanded look at some tweets from ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:

Indications are Nets will explore applying for Disabled Player Exception after losing Brook Lopez to yet another sad foot injury

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 21, 2013


If the Nets secure the DPE, it would allow them to acquire one player via free agency or trade to replace Lopez under the following conditions, courtesy of CBA expert Larry Coon:

• The team may sign a free agent for one season only, for 50 percent of the disabled player’s salary or the amount of the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception, whichever is less.

• The team may trade for a player in the last season of his contract only (including any option years), who is making no more than 50 percent plus $100,000 of the disabled player’s salary, or the amount of the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception plus $100,000, whichever is less.

In short term, though, Brooklyn unlikely to rush out in search of fill-in bigs w/KG, Blatche, Plumee, Evans and Teletovic there to step in

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 21, 2013


Given that the Nets are in win-now mode, expect GM Billy King to explore every possible avenue with which he can upgrade the roster.

But as Stein points out, at least in the immediate, the Nets are going to have to live with what they have internally.

Andray Blatche would seem to be the obvious candidate to start alongside Kevin Garnett. Blatche is averaging 11.8 points and 5.9 rebounds off the bench on 47.4 percent shooting.

If the Nets wanted to go smaller, they could start Mirza Teletovic, who hit a career-high six 3-pointers Friday night in Philadelphia.

Rookie Mason Plumlee has been better than expected, which essentially pushed veteran rebound specialist/offensive liability Reggie Evans out of the rotation.

The Nets touted their depth in the offseason, but no amount of depth is going to make up for the loss of one of the NBA’s premiere centers.

Also, Lopez’s absence is going to make it tougher for the Nets to conserve Garnett, which was the plan going into the 2013-14 campaign. In fact, Garnett did not play Friday night so he could rest.

Brooklyn also hoping Kirilenko finally on brink of return to action to provide needed boost on variety of fronts. Rebounding has to improve

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 21, 2013
Andrei Kirilenko told reporters recently he’s targeting sometime before the team’s road game in Indiana on Dec. 28 for his return to the lineup.

Kirilenko has already missed 22 games this season due to back spasms. While trying to return, he has already had three setbacks and taken two epidurals.

The Nets desperately need him back -- even more so now.

Kirilenko averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season on 50.7 percent shooting in 31.8 minutes. His defensive versatility was also extremely useful.

The Nets would gladly sign up for those numbers -- or, at least, somewhere around there.

The Nets are currently 28th in the NBA in rebounding. Only New York and Miami are worse.