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Friday, May 23, 2014
How should Billy King spend his summer?

By Mike Mazzeo

What can Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King do to help his team this summer via trade?

Let’s take a look at some options:

The Kevin Love pipe dream

This feels unrealistic. So unrealistic that the best trade the Nets could make for Love would be a straight-up deal for the 2003 version of Kevin Garnett, a point made by TrueHoop’s Zach Harper (as a joke, in case that wasn’t clear). Nevertheless, why wouldn’t Brooklyn at least call Minnesota about Love? He’s a client of Jeff Schwartz, the power agent who also happens to represent Nets coach Jason Kidd, Deron Williams and Paul Pierce. It doesn’t appear the Nets have the requisite stable of draft picks and other young assets required to land Love. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.

What about Williams?

The point guard is getting surgery on both of his ankles Tuesday. He’s owed $63.1 million over the next three seasons. So what will the trade market bear? It’s at least something King has to explore. It feels like Williams could use a fresh start, and so could the Nets. The problem is, his value isn’t exactly sky high, and he has a 15 percent trade kicker. Would Brooklyn be amenable to the Jeremy Lin-Omer Asik package briefly discussed with Houston last season? Both Lin and Asik will be in the final year of their contracts, which would enable the Nets to gain some financial flexibility while immediately retooling, rather than rebuilding. But perhaps the better option is to hope Williams comes back healthy and can return to top-flight form.

And Brook Lopez?

Another guy who’s coming off surgery, Lopez is 26, but his value is also diminished as a result of his health. How much would a team be willing to surrender to get its hands on an extremely skilled big man who may be one more foot injury away from retirement? Lopez is also owed $32.4 million over the next two seasons, so it would be a pretty significant risk to take him on. In this case, once again, the best thing might be to see how Lopez recovers and hope that, like Williams, he can return to All-Star form.

The futures of Pierce and Garnett

A couple of things you may be wondering: Yes, the Nets can sign-and-trade Pierce and yes, Garnett still holds a no-trade clause. It is possible both will decide to continue their careers in Brooklyn. But it’s also possible Garnett will walk away from the guaranteed $12 million he’s owed in 2014-15 and retire. And that could very well affect what Pierce decides to do. Pierce is a free agent, and the Nets can offer him more money than any other team because they have his Bird Rights. But Pierce may decide he wants to go back to Boston or reunite with his old coach, Doc Rivers, in Los Angeles. The Nets could facilitate that and recoup some lost assets in an S&T deal.

What are King’s biggest trade assets?

Probably Mirza Teletovic and the rights to Bojan Bogdanovic. Teletovic made some significant strides this past season and is the type of sharpshooting floor-spacer that most teams covet. He’ll be going into the final year of his deal at $3.4 million, and Brooklyn’s best option may be keeping him. King left open the possibility that Bogdanovic could come over next season, but it would be a surprise. It looked like it was going to happen this past season, but the deal hit a snag, and the Nets signed Andrei Kirilenko instead. Both players could be used as sweeteners in a bigger trade because they are assets with small financial commitment. King has been known to make moves on draft night, so perhaps he buys or trades for a pick or does something there. Either way, it’s going to be fun to see what develops on the trade front.

What do you think King should do? Let us know in the comments section below.