Brooklyn Nets: Shaun Livingston

King's biggest concern is rebounding

October, 9, 2014
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The Brooklyn Nets are loaded with shooters and can score in a variety of ways.

But one major area of concern last season could be an issue again –- rebounding.

Last year, Brooklyn finished 29th in the NBA in rebounding at 38.1 per game. Only Miami’s 36.9 rebounds per game were fewer than the Nets.

The Nets were outrebounded by 4.8 boards per game. While Brook Lopez’s return to the lineup should help the Nets on the glass, general manager Billy King knows rebounding could be a problem again.

“The biggest area I’m concerned about is rebounding the basketball,” King said. “We’ll be able to score. We’ve got enough scorers. I think our defense is gonna be better. But to be a good defensive team, you’ve gotta rebound the basketball.”

Lopez averaged 6.0 rebounds a game in 17 games last season before suffering a season-ending foot injury. The Nets will need his size on the glass, but the 7-footer has averaged 7.3 rebounds per game in his career and hasn’t averaged more than 6.9 rebounds in a season since his second season, in which he averaged 8.6 boards.

Kevin Garnett averaged 6.6 rebounds last season while averaging just 20.5 minutes per game. Lionel Hollins says Garnett may play more this season depending on his health and how the 38-year-old is playing.

Mason Plumlee should see more playing time in his second season after averaging 18.2 minutes and 4.4 rebounds per game. He should help the Nets on the glass. Same goes for Andrei Kirilenko if can stay healthy.

The Nets will have to replace Andray Blatche’s 5.3 rebounds per game. Also, 6-7 swingmen Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston combined to average 7.8 rebounds. All three moved on as free agents.

We’ll have to see how new addition Bojan Bogdanovic does on the glass. Bogdanovic and Mirza Teletovic, who could see key minutes, will have to use their size inside as well.

The Nets also have some height in newcomers Sergey Karasev and Cory Jefferson. But it's unclear what kind of roles await the 6-7 Karasev, who is more of a shooter, and the 6-9 Jefferson, a second-round pick.

Jarrett Jack, who nearly averaged four rebounds per game in 2011-12, might have to hit the glass, as will Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.

“To me, that’s the one area that we’ve gotta get better at from last year, and even so far in practice,” King said. “We’ve gotta be a better rebounding team, and it’s not just gonna fall on Brook or KG. It’s gonna fall on all five guys on the court to rebound the ball, because we don’t have that traditional rebounder, so it’s going to take a team effort.”

Burning Q's: Who's the most vital sub?

September, 15, 2014
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Jaret JackDon Emmert/AFP/Getty ImagesCan Jarrett Jack forget his Cavs days and recapture the game he displayed at Golden State?
With training camp a few weeks away, we’re examining the burning questions facing the Brooklyn Nets.

Today’s question: Who is the Nets’ most important bench player?

In his first season as a Net, Jarrett Jack will be the most important sub for Lionel Hollins.

The Nets are hoping Jack can be the super-sub that he was for the Golden State Warriors. Jack averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 assists while hitting 45.2 percent of his shots just two seasons ago, and he hit big shots in the postseason for Golden State.

SportsNation

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Last season, Jack’s averages dipped to 9.5 points, 4.1 assists and 41 percent shooting for the Cavaliers. Jack is eager to show that his down season was more a product of his role and the offensive system in Cleveland.

With the Nets, Jack could be Hollins’ sixth man. He can spell Deron Williams at point guard and run the second unit. He also could potentially play alongside Williams.

In many ways, Jack will have to replace Shaun Livingston, who signed with Golden State in July; he could play multiple positions and often played alongside Williams.

The Nets have plenty of key contributors coming off the bench this season. Mason Plumlee is looking to continue his rise after helping Team USA win gold at the World Cup. With Brook Lopez coming off surgery and Kevin Garnett likely playing on minutes restriction this season, Plumlee will be a key big for the Nets and should see more minutes than his rookie season.

Andrei Kirilenko will be needed to provide energy, defense and his unique hustle plays. Mirza Teletovic will be looking to show that last season’s breakout year was no fluke and that he will continue to provide dead-eye shooting. And Alan Anderson should play a key role as Hollins’ best defender off the bench.

The Nets also hope to develop youngsters like Bojan Bogdanovic, Sergey Karasev and Markel Brown.

But Jack will be needed to provide a bit of everything. He has to give the team a boost off the bench, be able to heat up and hit some big shots, spell Williams, be ready to play both guard positions, and give the team an edge and provide some leadership with the second unit.

With Williams coming off surgeries on his ankles, Jack could see a bigger role early in the season and provide the Nets with a potential starter if Williams needs a night to rest his ankles. If Jack plays the way he did two seasons ago for the Warriors, the Nets will be thrilled with their offseason acquisition.

Question: Who do you think is the Nets' most important bench player?

Burning Q's: Can D-Will regain star form?

August, 29, 2014
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With training camp less than two months away, we’re examining the burning questions facing the Brooklyn Nets.

Today’s question: Will Deron Williams return to All-Star form?

Much of it depends on if Williams can make a full recovery physically and mentally after undergoing surgery on both of his ankles in May.

The physical part appears to be on track as Williams is said to be making progress. But it is in his and the Nets’ best interest for the point guard to take a cautious approach in camp.

[+] EnlargeDeron Williams
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesCan Deron Williams return to elite status in the NBA?
Since the 2011-12 season, when he averaged 21 points and 8.7 assists, Williams’ game has been on the decline physically and mentally. Injuries took its toll on the point guard, who needs to hit the reset button and jump-start his game again.

Williams averaged 18.9 points and 7.7 assists in 2012-13 but saw those numbers dip to 14.3 points and 6.1 assists last season. He played in 64 games, missing time due to his sore ankles.

And he might’ve rushed back too soon after missing five games in the middle of January. Williams just rarely looked comfortable last season, playing well in spurts. He averaged 16.9 points and 5.6 assists in the first round against Toronto but saw those numbers dip in the second round against Miami to 11.2 points and 6.2 assists per game. During a Game 2 loss to the Heat, Williams went 0-for-9 from the field in 37 minutes and finished with no points, seven rebounds and six assists.

While Williams might not have been healthy, his confidence was also clearly far from being in peak form as well. Sports Illustrated recently did an in-depth interview with Kobe Bryant and also released a series of excerpts from the time with Bryant. During one excerpt on Bryant’s views on confidence, Williams’ 0-for-9 night came up.

SI wrote: Gotham Chopra, the director of “Kobe Bryant’s Muse,” an upcoming documentary on Bryant, told a story about being with Kobe and watching the Nets and the Heat play. Recounts Chopra, “Deron Williams went like 0-for-9. I was like, ‘Can you believe Deron Williams went 0-9?’ Kobe was like, ‘I would go 0-30 before I would go 0-9. 0-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game, because Deron Williams can get more shots in the game. The only reason is because you've just now lost confidence in yourself."

And there is likely the answer to whether Williams can regain his All-Star form. First, he must recover physically. And then, perhaps even more important, Williams has to gain confidence again in his ankles and then build his confidence back up in his game.

Last season, he had to get used to having Jason Kidd as his coach, and he often deferred to Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson. Add on the fact that he wasn't feeling at his best physically, and you have a down year. He has to get back to feeling like he is "The Man" on the team again. That’s going to take time.

I believe he can average 18-to-20 points and double-figure assists again. Reaching those averages this season will be difficult, given his offseason surgery and having to learn a new coach and system again. The Nets also still have Johnson, and Brook Lopez is also making his own return from surgery. With no Shaun Livingston, Williams should have the ball in his hands more. And with Pierce in Washington, Williams has to take this team and make it his team.

Williams, 30, has three years remaining on his contract. He has plenty of time to regain his All-Star form, and I think he can. I just wonder if it will happen in Brooklyn or if he might need a fresh start somewhere else to get back to the old D-Will.

Question: Will we see Williams regain his All-Star form with the Nets again?

Positional analysis: Coaching

August, 8, 2014
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Lionel HollinsAP Photo/Seth WenigLionel Hollins looks to install a new system following Jason Kidd's sudden departure.
Now that free agency has died down, we’re taking a look at where the Nets currently stand position-by-position. Today, we look at the coaching.

COACHING:

New additions: head coach Lionel Hollins, assistants Paul Westphal, Tony Brown, Joe Wolf and Jay Humphries.

Gone: head coach Jason Kidd, assistants Joe Prunty, Eric Hughes, Sean Sweeney.

Strengths: After going through last season with a first-time coach in Kidd, the Nets opted for a much more experienced man in Hollins. The defensive-minded coach should be a good fit with a unit that improved in the second half of last season. The no-nonsense coach is tough and should be ideal for the Nets' veteran-laden roster. He has worked well with big men like Marc Gasol, which should bode well for Brook Lopez.

Potential obstacles: With the Nets, health is a big key. Hollins will have to do what he can to keep Deron Williams and Lopez healthy after both underwent surgery during or at the end of last season. Kevin Garnett is one year older and Hollins will have to manage his minutes and games. The Nets lost Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston -- two key pieces -- in free agency. They basically replaced the veterans with combo guard Jarrett Jack and some younger, developing players, like Bojan Bogdanovic, Sergey Karasev and second-round picks Markel Brown and Cory Jefferson. Hollins will have to try to keep the Nets in contention while also developing some younger players. On top of all this, the Nets will be learning a new system from a new coach for the second time in a year.

Biggest challenge: Due in part to injuries, Kidd was not able to get Williams to play at a high level last season. Now, Hollins will try to get his star guard playing at an All-Star level again. Getting healthy is a major key for D-Will. And regaining his confidence and happiness is just as big. Can Hollins get the best out of him?

What they’re saying: “When I look at this team I look at some veteran players that can score, some young guys that are coming up and need to be developed,” Hollins said. “And when we start talking about style, I have to sit down and see through watching the tape just exactly what we want to do. I know that I want to play at a little quicker pace than they even played at, that we played at in Memphis. But I don’t want to run up and down the court and jack up shots. I want to be aggressive. I want to be tough defensively. I want to be tough mentally.”

Outlook: Kidd took over a team as a first-year head coach under win-now expectations. Hollins takes over now with the franchise lowering its championship aspirations after letting Pierce walk in free agency. The Nets still want to contend and make the playoffs. But they are realistic about their title hopes. In the offseason, the Nets wanted to get younger and more athletic but maintain a veteran core that can get to the playoffs. Hollins will have to balance it all and monitor and maintain the health of Williams, Lopez and Garnett.

Kidd had a rocky first season at the start before turning it around in the second half. But throughout it all, he maintained the respect of his veteran players. Now, Hollins will have to win over vets like KG, get the best out of D-Will and develop the likes of Bogdanovic and Karasev all while installing his system and establishing a new culture. After being out of basketball since 2013, Hollins has been itching for another crack. He comes to the Nets humbled and motivated. And the team will be looking to him to establish stability after the franchise’s dramatic split with Kidd.

Position analysis: Point guard

July, 28, 2014
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Jarrett JackAnthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports New acquisition Jarrett Jack is a scoring point guard who can start in case D-Wil isn't healthy.
Now that free agency has died down, we’re taking a look at where the Nets currently stand position-by-position. Today, we look at point guard.

POINT GUARD

New additions: PG/SG Jarrett Jack, PG Xavier Thames.

Returning/on roster: PG Deron Williams, PG Jorge Gutierrez, PG Marquis Teague.

Gone: PG Shaun Livingston.

The starter: Williams is the starting point guard unless new coach Lionel Hollins decides to go with a two point guard lineup like Jason Kidd did with Livingston and Williams. If that’s the case, Hollins could start Jack alongside Williams. Health remains the biggest question mark surrounding Williams, who hopes to come back stronger than before after surgery on his ankles.

The wild card: Jack. The guard saw his numbers dip last season to averages of 9.5 points, 4.1 assists and 41% shooting overall for the Cavs. But in 2012-’13, Jack averaged 12.9 points, 5.6 assists and 45% shooting while in Golden State. He also hit big shots in the postseason and was fearless for the Warriors. The Nets are hoping to get that Jack to replace the departed Livingston. Jack’s value also is that he is a scoring point guard who can start in case Williams isn’t healthy.

Outlook: The Nets’ season could very well be determined by their point guard play. The Nets need Williams to regain his health, confidence and All-Star game again. Losing Livingston in free agency was a major blow. And losing Kidd also has an impact on the point guard play as well since he could provide his future Hall-of-Fame vision from the bench. But if Williams and Jack can regain their former play and have a good season, the Nets will benefit greatly. This position is the most important position for the Nets this season.

Question: How big of a loss is losing Kidd and Livingston for the Nets' point guard play this season?

Would this Nets deal have been a winner?

July, 18, 2014
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What do you think of this “deal”?

Nets trade: Jason Kidd, Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston
Nets receive: Lionel Hollins, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev

Would you have considered it at the start of the offseason?

Obviously, the Nets did not make the trade above. But when you look at it, they basically did.

Out are Kidd, Pierce and Livingston. In are Hollins, Bogdanovic, Jack and Karasev.

On paper, it looks like the Nets got an upgrade at coach and a downgrade in personnel.

The games will have to be played, of course, to determine whether that is actually the case.

Early on, the Nets looked like a disaster last season. But then they got their act together, figured out who they were as a team, and began to thrive. Kidd, Pierce and Livingston all played a huge part in that. Kidd became a better coach with experience, Pierce’s leadership proved to be invaluable and Livingston was such a pivotal part of Brooklyn’s turnaround. It would’ve been nice if they all came back next season, with their system and identity already in place. But Kidd made his failed power play, and that was that.

Nevertheless, maybe Hollins will have an impact similar to a Steve Clifford or a Tom Thibodeau. Maybe Jack will revert back to being the dominant point guard he was in New Orleans and Golden State. Maybe Bogdanovic will live up to the hype.

We’ll just have to wait and see before determining whether this has all worked out in the end.

Question: How would you have viewed this “trade”? Let us know in the comments section below.
Jarrett Jack isn’t sure what his role will be with the Nets just yet but he believes he can help ease the blow of losing Shaun Livingston.

Jack said he is open to coming off the bench or starting alongside Deron Williams and helping Williams in any way that he can.

“I think I can be someone who can kind of relieve Deron at times, you know the ball-handling responsibilities,” Jack said in a conference call with reporters. “A person that is trying to create opportunities for myself or for my teammates.”

Jack, 30, is thrilled to be joining the Nets. Brooklyn sent Marcus Thornton to Boston and the draft rights to Ilkan Karaman, Christian Drejer and Edin Bavcic to Cleveland.

In return for helping Cleveland clear needed cap space for the possibility of landing LeBron James, the Nets get Jack and Russian prospect Sergey Karasev. The Nets were high on Karasev in the 2013 draft. Karasev went 19th overall and the Nets drafted Mason Plumlee with the 22nd pick in that draft.

Brooklyn has had its eyes on Jack since before the trading deadline from this past season. The Nets envisioned Jack as a combo guard who could hit big shots and deliver scoring punch off the bench while also providing the team with insurance in the case that Livingston departs. Livingston agreed to a deal with Golden State at the start of free agency.

Jack averaged 15.6 points and 6.3 assists for New Orleans in 45 games during 2011-’12. The next season in Golden State, Jack averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 assists. He stepped up in the postseason for the Warriors, averaging 17.2 points in 12 playoff games in 2012-’13.

But last season in Cleveland, Jack’s numbers dropped to 9.5 points and 4.1 assists per game.

“You know, in certain situations you’re asked to do certain things, and in other situations you aren’t,” Jack explained. “I was more of a facilitator and had less scoring punch than I was accustomed to being and I think that was more so the cause of it than anything.”

Jack says he is ready to do whatever new coach Lionel Hollins wants him to do.

“I’m definitely trying to go out there and compete for a job,” Jack said. “And whether that’s being in the starting lineup or coming off the bench, I’ll be happy to fit in any way possible.”

“I’m tremendously excited,” Jack added. “There’s a lot of guys I have admired from afar that I can be teammates with now. I think that’s the most intriguing part. But I definitely think we have the potential to do some damage in the East and make some noise, and be the force that people expected Brooklyn to be last year.”

Rapid Reaction: Livingston to Warriors

July, 1, 2014
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The Brooklyn Nets were bracing for the departure of Shaun Livingston going into free agency.

It didn’t take long for their fears to become a reality.

Livingston is signing a three-year contract for the full midlevel exception with the Golden State Warriors, sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.

Why it happened: Livingston had a career year for the Nets last season. But Brooklyn could only offer him its full taxpayer mini midlevel exception (three years, just over $10 million). Livingston, 28, averaged 8.3 points, 3.2 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 26 minutes per game for the Nets in 2013-14. He proved to be the steal of the summer, inking a deal for just the veteran’s minimum.

What they’ll miss: Livingston is a versatile guard who can defend and facilitate for his teammates, and take advantage of his size in the post. Brooklyn’s turnaround following a 10-21 start was keyed by former coach Jason Kidd’s decision to move Livingston into the starting lineup in 2014 after Brook Lopez was lost to a season-ending foot injury. The Nets started thriving by playing small ball, forcing turnovers and firing up a ton of 3-pointers. Kidd was instrumental in convincing management to take a chance on Livingston. It paid massive dividends.

Can they replace him? Livingston is such a unique player given that he’s 6-foot-7 with a long wingspan. In short, the answer is no. The Nets now need to turn their attention to point guards who fit their price range, which is either using all or part of their taxpayer mini midlevel or offering the veteran’s minimum. They could also try to execute a trade, of course. Deron Williams seemed to be at his best when playing with Livingston, who allowed Williams to play off the ball. It’s unknown if the next coach the Nets hire will want to continue this type of alignment, albeit with a different guard. King said Tuesday that Jameer Nelson is on the list. Kirk Hinrich, Devin Harris and Ramon Sessions are some of the other reasonable options out there.

What they’re saying: “If Shaun gets a great deal, I’ll be happy for him,” Nets general manager Billy King said Tuesday. “I think he’s earned it and he’s come a long way, and if he gets a great deal I told him, I said, 'I’ll be happy and hug you every time I see you and I’ll appreciate the job you did this year.'"

Good for Shaun: Livingston had earned $25.1 million in his career prior to signing this deal. It could’ve been much more, though, had he not suffered that gruesome knee injury in 2007. But Livingston has made an incredible comeback. He’s a great guy, and he deserves this.

Stein: Teams chasing Pierce, Livingston

July, 1, 2014
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The Brooklyn Nets may be able to pay Paul Pierce more than any other team, but they’re already facing some stiff competition to retain his services.

Shortly after the NBA free agency period began at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein tweeted the following:



The Nets have Pierce’s Bird rights, which allows them to pay more than any other team.

Sources told ESPNNewYork.com that Brooklyn would like to sign him to a short-term contract worth from $6 miilion to $8 million per season.

It’s understandable that the Clippers would be an attractive situation for Pierce. The 36-year-old forward would have a chance to reunite with his former coach, Doc Rivers.

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are also in the prime of their careers, and Los Angeles will definitely continue to contend in the Western Conference.

As for Shaun Livingston, Stein tweeted:



The organization has already been bracing for Livingston’s likely departure. And that was before the stunning turn of events with Kidd.

The Nets can offer Livingston at most a three-year, $10 million contract -- their entire taxpayer’s mini midlevel exception.

All the teams Stein mentioned can offer more.

5 things to know about Nets free agency

July, 1, 2014
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The Brooklyn Nets head into the free agency period starting Tuesday. Here’s a quick primer along with five things to look out for:

Nets under contract: The Nets have nine players under guaranteed contracts totaling $88.5 million (see the chart on the right for a complete breakdown).

Non-guaranteed contract: Jorge Gutierrez ($816,000)

Draft rights: Markel Brown (second-round); Xavier Thames (second-round); Cory Jefferson (second-round)

Rights held: Bojan Bogdanovic (overseas); Ilkan Karaman (overseas)

Unrestricted free agents: Paul Pierce (Bird Rights); Shaun Livingston; Andray Blatche (Early Bird Rights); Alan Anderson; Jason Collins

Exceptions available: Taxpayer’s mini midlevel (starting at $3.3 million), veteran’s minimum deals.

Can the Nets retain Paul Pierce?

Before this whole Jason Kidd fiasco, the prevailing feeling around the organization seemed optimistic that, yes, they would retain Pierce. Now, it’s more uncertain. Pierce became a huge piece of Brooklyn’s turnaround last season. He brought leadership, the occasional offensive outburst, surprisingly strong defense and big-play ability as a stretch-power forward. It’s unknown how much Pierce has left in the tank, but regardless, the Nets would be smart to overpay him if they have to; a two-year deal worth around $20 million might suffice. He made $15 million last season. Pierce could be enticed by reuniting with his former coach, Doc Rivers, in Los Angeles or going back to Boston, though, at age 36, the idea of playing for a rebuilding team might be unappealing. Kevin Garnett is all but expected to return, though perhaps that could change as well.

Can the Nets retain Shaun Livingston?

Highly doubtful. The organization was already bracing itself for Livingston’s departure. And that was before the Kidd story broke. Livingston had a career year in 2013-14, and as a result is primed to cash in on the open market. The Nets can offer Pierce more money than any other team because they own his Bird Rights. That isn’t the case with Livingston. Brooklyn can only offer him at most the entire taxpayer’s mini midlevel exception -- or three years and just north of $10 million. Kidd was instrumental in bringing Livingston aboard. The Nets are going to have to replace him, which, because of their cap constraints, is basically impossible. Kidd, Pierce and Livingston all share the same agent: Jeff Schwartz.

Will Deron Williams or Brook Lopez be traded?

Probably not. But that doesn’t mean Nets GM Billy King shouldn’t gauge the trade market to see what both players could fetch in a deal. Williams and Lopez are both coming off surgery and owed a hefty chunk of change, so their trade values are clearly much lower than they once were. Lopez, 26, probably has more value. There are questions as to how he’ll fit in Kidd’s system. Williams has been plagued by injuries throughout his tenure with the Nets. At the end of the day, Brooklyn will probably end up holding on to both players and hoping they get healthy and return to All-Star form.

Will Marcus Thornton’s expiring contract be shopped?

You would think so. The Nets don’t have many assets, but Thornton’s $8.6 million expiring is one of them. They could look to package Thornton and the rights to Bogdanovic in order to fill other needs, such as obtaining Livingston’s replacement or adding a big man who can rebound. If the Nets keep him, Thornton will probably continue in his role as a spark-plug scoring option off the bench.

Who is going to coach this team?

Seems like it’s going to be a veteran such as Lionel Hollins, George Karl or Mark Jackson at this point. But the Nets did hire Kidd, so they’re more than capable of doing something outside the box. Brooklyn has shown interest in Jeff Van Gundy before. Ettore Messina, the former CSKA Moscow coach, is rumored to be a candidate as well. It would certainly behoove the Nets to get a coach in place as quickly as possible, but they also want to do their due diligence before making a move.

LeBron is free, but Nets eye 2016-17

June, 24, 2014
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LeBron James' opting out and becoming a free agent has many teams dreaming of landing the best player on the planet.

For the Brooklyn Nets, it certainly would be a fantasy for many reasons.

James
James
For starters, the Nets' cap situation is so overloaded that they would have to find a way to clear a ton of space. Their two youngest and best trading chips -- Deron Williams and Brook Lopez -- are each coming off surgeries and either a disappointing or a shortened season. The Nets will certainly explore all options to improve this summer. But trading one, if not both, will be awfully difficult.

Williams will make $19.7 million next season, and Lopez is set to earn $15.7 million. And then there’s Joe Johnson, who will make $23.1 million in 2014-15.

All indications are that Kevin Garnett will return for his final season under contract worth $12 million. So while the Nets can still re-sign Paul Pierce and pay him more than any other team because they own his Bird rights, you get the point of any hope for LeBron being a fantasy.

The Nets would have to find a taker, or takers, for some of their unsavory contracts, while taking nothing back in return contractwise to clear cap space. And LeBron isn’t interested in carrying a team. He would want to go to a situation that is built to win it all now with help from other stars and the ability to contend for the next several seasons.

Going to a Chicago or Houston or staying in Miami certainly appears more attractive than coming to the Nets and teaming up with Williams or Lopez coming off surgery.

So what about next season? What if James were to sign a one-year deal with the Heat and then become a free agent next summer? The Nets would basically have to sign minimum guys this summer and likely let Shaun Livingston and Pierce walk in free agency.

The Nets would be an average team at best if that were the case and with no guarantees of landing James next summer. Their goal is to remain competitive and try to keep their diminishing window of contention open as long as they can. Bringing back Pierce and having Garnett return at least gives them two years out of last summer’s blockbuster trade.

The Nets will look to try to add onto what they have, if at all possible, rather than subtract and hope to land a big free agent next summer.

Brooklyn has its eyes focused on further down the road -- for 2016-17 when Kevin Durant becomes a free agent and the Nets are expected to have salary cap freedom and space.

Draft preview: Kyle Anderson

June, 16, 2014
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AndersonRobert Hanashiro/USA TODAY SportsA product of Jersey City's St. Anthony HS, Kyle Anderson is expected to be a late first-round pick.
With the draft coming up next week, we will be taking a look at prospects the Nets might consider trading into the draft for.

Brooklyn does not have a pick in the draft but GM Billy King has said he is interested in trading for one if a player they like is available. Here is one player that could entice them to trade for a late first-round or second-round pick.

KYLE ANDERSON, F, UCLA

HEIGHT:
6-9

WEIGHT: 230

THE 411: Kyle Anderson, who played at St. Anthony and is from Fairview, N.J., is a skilled point-forward type who can play multiple positions. He’s a versatile talent who can handle the ball and has vision like a point guard. He is at his best when he has the ball in his hands, averaging 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.8 steals as a sophomore. He has a 7-3 wingspan, is an improved shooter and can rebound. Anderson is only 20 and still has a lot of room for improvement, especially on the defensive side. Anderson also isn’t super athletic or fast and has to get stronger.

FORD PROJECTION: According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, Anderson could be a late first-round pick. He currently has Anderson going 30th overall to the Spurs at the end of the first round.

FORD’S REPORT: The NBA GMs I spoke with here remain divided. They all agree that on the right team, in the right system, he could have success. But it's a gamble right now.

“Will an NBA head coach give him minutes given his defensive liabilities?" one GM said. "That's my first concern. And if he gets minutes, will an NBA coach put the ball in his hands, because that's when he's special. If he's just a power forward, there are much better prospects. I just don't know. I know he has as good of a feel for the game as anyone in this draft. Everything comes easy to him."

Look for Anderson's stock to continue to be all over the place. He could go anywhere from No. 14 to No. 30.


WHY SHOULD THE NETS TRADE TO PICK HIM: The Nets are bracing themselves for the strong possibility of losing 6-7 Shaun Livingston in free agency next month. Jason Kidd’s offense likes to exposes matchup problems. Kidd loved using Livingston’s height in the post over smaller point guards. Anderson may not be a true point but he can handle and has vision like a point guard and has the height and length to potentially give opponents problems. Kidd, who was a walking triple-double, might be able to develop Anderson’s versatile game. If Anderson slips, the Nets could look to see if there are any sellers late in the first round or early second round.

Nets offseason breakdown: Jason Kidd

June, 11, 2014
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Jason KiddSteve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsJason Kidd started slow but found his footing as the season progressed.
This is the 13th installment of our daily Nets breakdown, with an emphasis on what’s to come for next season.

JASON KIDD, HEAD COACH

Year in review:
Kidd’s first season as a head coach at any level got off to a tumultuous start. There was a falling out with lead assistant Lawrence Frank, numerous injuries including losing Brook Lopez for the season, minutes restrictions, blowout losses and even a fine for purposely spilling a soda to create an extra timeout.

Kidd pretty much experienced everything and anything in his first three months on the job. Through it all, though, he didn’t lose the locker room or the respect of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. After a 10-21 start, Kidd began to get comfortable and more assertive. He took control of the team’s style of play after demoting Frank, tinkering with the defense and offense. He moved Pierce to power forward and Garnett to center after Lopez went down in late December and the Nets took off after Jan. 1, going 34-17 in the New Year.

Kidd
Kidd
Kidd won Eastern Conference coach of the month honors twice and led the Nets to a franchise-record 15 straight home wins. Shaun Livingston and Mirza Teletovic had breakout seasons under Kidd’s tutelage, and Mason Plumlee developed into an All-Rookie performer. Kidd kept Pierce and Garnett’s minutes down to save them for the playoffs.

In the playoffs, Kidd’s growth as a coach continued as he coached the Nets past the Raptors in seven games in the first round before falling to Miami in five games. Kidd saved some of his best coaching moves for when the Nets were on the brink of elimination, making lineup changes and adjustments while even drawing a fine for politicking for more favorable officiating before Game 6 against the Raptors. Miami, though, proved to be superior, especially in the final two minutes as the Nets couldn't execute when they needed to the most in Games 4 and 5 with the chance to win both games.

Role moving forward: Kidd’s second season should go smoother for the simple fact that he now has a year under his belt, is more comfortable and knows how he wants to run his system. The Nets will be in the second year in Kidd’s system and won’t be trying to learn adjustments in December to a system installed in training camp.

Kidd still has plenty to learn and experience as a second-year head coach. He has to find a way to get the best out of Deron Williams, who underperformed in the playoffs and struggled due to injuries. And the Nets can do a better job of maintaining second-half leads. The second-round series against the Heat also showed that the Nets can play the final two minutes of meaningful games better.

Kidd’s roster remains uncertain as of now with Pierce and Livingston hitting free agency next month, Garnett’s uncertain future plans, and Andray Blatche and Andrei Kirilenko potentially exercising player options in their contracts. Kidd could have to work with several new players next season while having to monitor the health of Williams and Lopez -- both are returning from surgeries. Also, he will have to find a way to alter his offense with Lopez returning.

Contract status: Kidd is entering the second year of a four-year contract worth $10.5 million.

What they’re saying:
“No idea. Really. That is the one thing you can definitely say about Jason Kidd -- he was very unpredictable.” -- Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, on who he thought Kidd would go to on a possession that saw Shaun Livingston get the ball with 32 seconds left with the Nets down two in Game 5.

Should they bring him back: Kidd was the biggest question mark for the Nets entering last season and now he has proven he can coach. In fact, he probably deserves a raise considering the five-year, $25-million contracts Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher recently signed.

Now that the Nets know they have a coach –- Kidd’s success helped ease the path for Kerr and Fisher to coach without any previous experience –- Brooklyn has to figure out how to improve its roster with limited cap space to help Kidd take a step forward next season.

Offseason breakdown: Alan Anderson

June, 6, 2014
6/06/14
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This is the 10th installment of our daily Nets player-by-player breakdown, with an emphasis on what’s to come for next season.

ALAN ANDERSON, GUARD/FORWARD

Year in review:
Anderson became a valuable sub and one of the team’s best defenders for Jason Kidd in his first season in Brooklyn. The 6-6 guard/forward provided his gritty defense and hard-nosed attitude while providing some timely outside shooting. Anderson set career-highs with 78 games played and 26 starts. He averaged 7.2 points and shot 40% in 22.7 minutes a game.

Anderson’s best moments of the season came in the first round against Toronto. He nearly helped the Nets complete a stunning comeback in Game 5 with 13 points and three three-pointers. Kidd opted to put Anderson in the starting lineup to provide defense on DeMar DeRozan and some outside shooting for Games 6 and 7 and the move helped the Nets overcome a 3-2 deficit to win the series and advance.

Role moving forward: If Anderson returns, he will continue to play the same role which is as one of the team’s best defenders and a valued key member of Kidd’s rotation with the ability to start if needed.

Contract status: Anderson will make $1.063 million next season but has a player option.

What they’re saying:
“It was just a feeling,” Kidd explained of starting Anderson over Livingston in Game 6. “With Alan, we’ve asked him to do everything. It’s nothing Shaun hasn’t done for us. It was more of a feeling from the coaching staff, let’s give Alan, the way he played that fourth quarter in Toronto [in Game 5], to see if it can carry over. And he definitely picked up where he was in Toronto –- rebounding the ball, we’re asking him to guard [DeMar] DeRozan, and he had some great looks that he normally feels he can make. That is why we went with him.”


Should they bring him back? Yes. The Nets, though, are cap strapped so they would only want to bring Anderson back on the cheap. However, he offers value to the team because he is a defensive specialist who is fearless and can hit the occasional outside shot. He brings a gritty mentality and the Nets would like to have him back.

Offseason breakdown: Shaun Livingston

June, 3, 2014
6/03/14
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This is the seventh installment of our daily Nets player-by-player breakdown, with an emphasis on what’s to come for next season.

SHAUN LIVINGSTON, GUARD

Year in review:
It was a breakout season for Livingston, who displayed significant flashes of the enormous potential he had before suffering a devastating left knee injury in 2007. Livingston played in a career-high 76 games, averaging 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals.

Livingston was a vital piece to the Nets’ success this season and a key component in Jason Kidd’s offense. Kidd started Livingston for 54 games, many alongside Deron Williams which allowed Williams to concentrate on his offense. Kidd loves to take advantage of mismatches and he often posted up the 6-7 Livingston on smaller guards and worked off Livingston in the paint. Livingston’s defense –- in particular his long arms and quick hands –- also helped fuel the Nets’ big run after Jan. 1.

Even though Kidd opted to start Alan Anderson ahead of Livingston in Games 6 and 7 against Toronto in the first round, Livingston was one of Kidd’s most trusted players. The point guard logged 31.8 minutes a game against Miami and averaged 11.4 points, 3.6 assists and 3.0 rebounds in the second-round series. Kidd also went to Livingston late in Game 5, posting up the taller guard on Dwyane Wade with the game hanging in the balance. The Nets felt Livingston was fouled on his five-foot miss but it showed how much Kidd trusts the point guard.

Role moving forward: If Livingston re-signs with the team, he will continue his pivotal role starting alongside Williams. He’s an integral part of Kidd’s system on both offense and defense. He allows Williams to focus on his own offense and the Nets can work through Livingston and Joe Johnson out of the post and find mismatches and open shooters. Defensively, he is long and tall enough to defend three positions.

Contract status: After earning $884,293 last season, Livingston is a free agent.

What they’re saying:

“That definitely plays a role for me,” Livingston said when asked what if a non-contending team offers a lucrative contract. “My situation is backwards for me. Usually, guys get a chance to be really a free agent for the first time early [on]. For me, I kind of missed out on that time. But I'm 28, you know, in the prime. I'd like to win. That's my goal.”

Should they bring him back? While Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett’s decisions this summer will draw more attention, Livingston’s decision will have a big impact on the Nets. While the Nets got him on the cheap last summer, Brooklyn will have a difficult time replacing Livingston if he earns a much-deserved pay day elsewhere. Livingston is a glue guy and is excellent for team chemistry as well and that's hard to find from a minimum salary guy again if Livingston leaves.

The Nets likely have to hope that Livingston will consider returning for the taxpayer mid-level exception ($3.278 million).

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Joe Johnson
PTS AST STL MIN
15.7 3.6 0.8 35.6
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsM. Plumlee 6.8
AssistsD. Williams 6.2
StealsJ. Jack 1.1
BlocksB. Lopez 1.6