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Thursday, December 8, 2011
Nets fans: Sit tight and be patient

By Mike Mazzeo

As the NBA’s offseason buzz reaches a fever pitch a day before training camp opens, the Nets have become an afterthought.

The Knicks are closing in on landing Tyson Chandler. Meanwhile, the Lakers have their sights set on pairing Chris Paul with Kobe Bryant and possibly ... Dwight Howard.

The Nets? Well ... they have to do something. They have needs up front, at small forward and on the bench.

Over the weekend, they sounded confident that they’d be able to make a splash. So far, at least to our knowledge, that hasn’t happened.

Now, before you begin flipping out and wondering why the Nets can’t be more like the Knicks, remember this:

The Nets were left for dead near the trade deadline last season after failing to close the deal on Carmelo Anthony. And yet they ended up upstaging the Knicks by coming out of nowhere and landing Deron Williams.

GM Billy King said last week that he hoped to avoid a so-called “media circus.” He vowed to keep all his team’s dealings in-house.

So maybe he has something up his sleeve. Something that hasn’t been leaked yet.

The Lakers, Knicks and Celtics have all been reportedly vying for Paul’s services. Los Angeles has aspirations of creating a BIGGER THREE featuring Bryant, Paul and Howard.

There’s no question D-Will would love to play with his good buddy D-12. He made that known earlier this week. The Nets at the very least have to look into seeing what it would take to make a deal work, even if it means taking the risk of sacrificing Brook Lopez and two future first-round picks for a player that could walk and leave them with nothing at the end of the season.

Aside from that dream scenario, they can continue to pursue Nene, and if that doesn’t work, maybe they bring back Kris Humphries. He did average a double-double last season, so he wouldn’t be the worst consolation prize. And any small forward not named Travis Outlaw would be an upgrade.

Restricted free agents DeAndre Jordan and Thaddeus Young could be worth offer sheets.

Worst comes to worst, the Nets try to sign a bunch of guys to short-term contract, keep all their assets and maintain cap flexibility going forward to the restricted summer of 2012. They already have a superstar, it’s just a matter of putting quality pieces around him.

And maybe that doesn’t happen now. Maybe it happens down the road at the trading deadline. Maybe it happens in free agency next offseason assuming they can convince Williams to stay.

If you’re a Nets fan, all you can do is sit tight and wait. King has surprised everyone before. Perhaps he does it again.

He has to. The team’s future success -- as well as D-Will signing a long-term deal as the Nets head to Brooklyn -- depends on it.