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Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Nets offseason questions

By Mike Mazzeo

The Brooklyn Nets will be facing several questions heading into the offseason after being ousted from the playoffs by the two-time defending champion Miami Heat in the second round.

Let’s take a look at some of them:

1. What does the future hold for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce?

Garnett has a guaranteed $12 million contract for 2014-15, but, at the age of 37, does he decide to walk away, hang it up and retire? Pierce, 36, will become a free agent, but the Nets have his Bird Rights, meaning they can offer him more money than any other team. Both men have big decisions to make. They, at their advanced ages, aren’t the players they used to be. But both still bring a lot to the table -- most notably veteran leadership -- if they decide to stay.

2. Will Shaun Livingston take less money to stay in Brooklyn?

Livingston
Livingston
Coming off the best season of his career, Livingston is going to command more than just the veteran’s minimum -- and he certainly deserves it. Because of salary cap restrictions, the Nets can offer their starting guard at most a three-year, $10 million contract, the taxpayer’s mini mid-level exception. Other teams will be able to offer more. Perhaps, much more. Can the Nets convince Livingston to take less to stay?

3. Is it time for the Deron Williams era to end?

Williams
Williams
Williams had an extremely disappointing postseason. He has three years, $63.1 million remaining on his contract, but perhaps it’s time for him to get a fresh start elsewhere. Problem is, his trade value is pretty low given his on-court performance and history of ankle injuries. If Williams does stay, the Nets need to make sure he keeps himself healthy in the offseason. They can’t afford for his ankles to flair up for a third straight season.

4. How will Brook Lopez recover from yet another foot surgery?

Lopez
Lopez
The Nets could’ve used Lopez in the playoffs. He doesn’t fit their smallball style, but he can score in the post. That is, if he’s healthy. Lopez has had multiple right foot surgeries and also had left ankle surgery in March. He played in just 17 games in 2013-14 before suffering yet another season-ending fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot. Lopez is only 26, but it’s possible that another foot injury could be career-ending. He has two years, $32.4 million remaining on his contract. Is there an outside chance Brooklyn could shop him around? His value, like Williams’, is low.

5. What about the rest of the roster?

Andray Blatche ($1.4 million), Andrei Kirilenko ($3.3 million) and Alan Anderson ($1.1 million) all have player options at very low numbers. The Nets are already well over the cap, so they’re limited as to what they can do. Joe Johnson ($23.2 million), Williams ($19.8 million) and Lopez ($15.7 million) are all locked in for 2014-15 at massive numbers. Brooklyn doesn’t have its first-round pick, and there’s little flexibility with regard to free-agent dollars. Nets GM Billy King has his work cut out for him.