UPDATE: I wrote this blog 10 days ago, but I'm bringing it back.
“The Blueprint for Greatness” was never about pairing Mikhail Prokhorov with Jay-Z or Kris Humphries with Kim Kardashian.
It was about pairing two superstars together on a franchise bound for the bright lights and billion-dollar arena in Brooklyn. (All right, so give Prokhorov credit for that.)
In the summer of 2010, the Nets failed miserably in meeting this goal. Their dreams of landing LeBron James and Chris Bosh were shattered by the Heat. So they settled for the likes of Travis Outlaw and Johan Petro, and it completely backfired.
But here they are, a year later, and everything has changed.
GM Billy King accumulated assets and pulled off a blockbuster trade to acquire Deron Williams at the trade deadline in February. And now he’s poised to put together another package of young players -- headlined by Brook Lopez -- and draft picks in order to reel in another big fish: Dwight Howard.
D-Will and D-12. A dominant point guard with a dominant center. A match made in NBA heaven.
A year ago, selling their vision to free agents proved to be a daunting task. Too daunting a task for the Nets to pull off.
But everyday, Barclays Center moves closer and closer to being completed. And the Nets move closer and closer to being the Brooklyn Nets instead of the New Jersey Nets.
Given that Williams and Howard can both opt out of their contracts at season’s end, there is an inherent risk involved. When it’s all said and done, the Nets could be left with nothing.
Still, if they have a chance to pull the trigger, King isn’t going to think twice. And he shouldn’t. It’s a no-brainer.
The franchise’s vision becomes a much easier sell with both players on the team. A couple alley-oops and a couple wins could be all it takes. If all else fails, the palace in New York is a great selling point.
A year ago, the Nets were excited about what the future held. They had cap space. They had ownership with deep pockets. They were ready to take the Knicks head on.
They put that massive “The Blueprint for Greatness” billboard up across the street from Madison Square Garden to announce their presence with authority. No longer were they going to be pushed around.
A massive billboard featuring the NBA’s emerging inside-outside duo would be much more intimidating.
Imagine: the Knicks realizing they got stuck with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire while the Nets have the Deron Williams and Dwight Howard. Broadway being upstaged by Brooklyn. An upset indeed.
Obviously, there’s no guarantee that Orlando bites on the Nets’ trade package. But you have to like the chances of it getting done. New Jersey can take on Hedo Turkoglu’s albatross -- if they amnesty Outlaw -- without making the Magic take on any major salary commitments in return.
It really is the perfect deal for a team forced to trade its superstar. A deal that clearly expedites the rebuilding process.
And even if the Nets don’t land Howard, they have a ton of cap space available, and by CBA rules, they have to spend most of it.
The Nets find themselves in a very favorable position right now. They have assets and they have aspirations.
Most importantly, “The Blueprint for Greatness” is all drawn out. It’s just a matter of closing the deal.