The trade deadline is upon us, and that has created an exciting, thrilling whirlwind of trade rumors, involving the Nets and Lakers (Jordan Hill!), Knicks (Iman Shumpert for Darren Collison?; Beno Udrih to any taker?), Timberwolves and Celtics (Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo blockbusters?), and others. With the deadline at 3pm tomorrow, the Nets have already done more than just talk, sending Jason Terry and Reggie Evans to the Sacramento Kings for Marcus Thornton.
Change is in the air at BrooklynsBeat as well. I am pleased to announce that I have added five new contributors to the staff: Jake Henson (@jwhenson_), Dylan Mendelowitz (@DylanM_NBA), Jordan Patton (@jordanpatton22), Anthony Pignatti (@apignatti360), and Robert Watts (@bobbywatts_). Our staff is ready to provide you with premium content, and is excited to get to work. Jake is an NBA writer from Australia. Dylan is an aspiring teenage NBA writer. Jordan is from the former home of the Nets, out in Oradell, NJ. Anthony hails from Syracuse. Robert is an NBA blogger from Brooklyn, NY.
The contributors got together to discuss the trade deadline, and all things Nets:
1) What should the Nets do with their Disabled Player Exception?
Jake Henson: We are in the bottom 5 in the league for rebounding and the logical stop gap for that issue at the moment is Jordan Hill. D’Antoni isn’t a fan and the Lakers believe he will leave in free agency for greener pastures so it makes him a very gettable target. Hill is averaging 18 minutes a night but averages more rebounds per game then any Net does currently with 7rpg. In saying that, Jordan is nothing more then a role player in this league so don’t expect the addition (if it happens) to sway the table greatly.
Dylan Mendelowitz: Jordan Hill is certainly a very good option for the Disabled Players Exception. He’ll bring some much needed athleticism and rebounding, and is a much more polished player than Mason Plumlee currently is. Another option could be going for a Point Guard, a position of need if the Nets continue to start Shaun Livingston. A couple Point Guard possibilities could be Luke Ridnour, Ramon Sessions and Kirk Hinrich.
Jordan Patton: To me, this one is a no-brainer: Jordan Hill of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers seem to be more than willing to part with Hill, who would provide a well-needed boost to the interior presence of the Nets second unit. With the addition of Hill there is a good chance that he will be the piece they are looking for to help solidify their defense when Kevin Garnett is off the court. Hill is a perfect fit, the only question is whether or not he’s worth the added luxury tax the Nets will have to pay to get him. My gut says he’s worth it.
Jordan Hill or Don’t use it. There are numerous options the Nets have with their Disabled Player Exception that was granted by the NBA following Brook Lopez’s latest foot injury. The Brooklyn Game provides a list of players the Nets are able to acquire via the Disabled Player Exception here
. This list mostly contains players that either teams would be crazy to trade, or players that I don’t see as worthwhile contributors to this team as currently constructed. While Vince Carter would be intriguing (and selfishly I’d love him to come back to the franchise), I don’t see his style of play adding value to this team, especially after the Marcus Thornton deal. Recent rumblings about the Nets showing serious interest
in Jordan Hill of the Lakers could add a defensive presence the Nets lack when Garnett is on the bench or resting. If the Nets are able to swing a deal for Jordan Hill, I’d pull the trigger. Outside of Hill, I don’t see any value to this year’s team.
Robert Watts: The Nets shouldn’t use their DPE at all. Jordan Hill is a great talent but I find him to be rather injury prone. Hill has played in 239 of the available 365 games (65%) in his career. For comparison Brook Lopez has played in 342 of the available 445 games (76%) in his career. Hill is great talent but I can’t see him as a future reliable back up.
2) What do you think of Marcus Thornton, a Brooklyn Net?
I’m excited about it. He’s only 26 years old and has played on countless amounts of bad teams, with bad players within a bad organisation. If anybody needs a fresh start it’s Marcus Thornton. Granted, his season has been verging on atrocious posting career lows in FG and 3-point %’s but he was once a capable scorer in the league and at 26 still has the time to turn it around. Coach Kidd and a host of savvy veterans is exactly the environment he needs to reinvigorate his quickly declining career. I thought the deal was a savvy one by Billy King, offloading Jet and Reggie meant that we also opened up a roster spot that could be used to acquire Jordan Hill or in the offseason. Here’s hoping the Bayou Bomber finds his range again in Brooklyn.
Dylan: I definitely like the move a lot. Getting rid of Jason Terry and Reggie Evans alone makes it a great deal. On top of that, I think Thornton could definitely be a solid contributor off the bench, giving them some needed scoring power. Thornton’s contract is an $8 Million expiring next season, which could turn out to be a big asset during the off-season. Billy King definitely did well on this one.
Jordan: I absolutely love this trade for the Nets. It shows that the team is committed to winning this year while still preparing to have some cap room for the Summer of 2016. Mikhail Prokhorov continues to show that if he feels a move will help his team, he will not hesitate to open up his wallet. Despite having a down year so far in 2013-14, the Nets absolutely stole Thornton from the Kings for the price of Jason Terry and Reggie Evans (both in the midst of sub-par seasons). With the Nets starting Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston for the foreseeable future, Thornton appears to be coming in to provide ball handling and shooting in the second unit (point guard duties had previously fallen to Alan Anderson and Jason Terry with neither being particularly impressive). The 26-year-old Thornton is an immediate upgrade to the Nets second unit and backcourt. It should be very interesting to see how Thornton meshes with his new Brooklyn teammates, the only risk here is that he will harm the chemistry that the nets have finally started to form here over the course of 2014. On paper this deal is a slam dunk, but we will have to wait and see if it turns out to be too good to he true (but I doubt it).
Anthony: Slasher, Floor Spacer, Scoring Punch. Marcus Thornton adds an element to the Nets’ bench that has been missing; an athletic guard who can get into the paint. Outside of the occasional burst from Shaun Livingston and the garbage time Marcus Teague would see, there wasn’t much penetration into opposing defenses. With Joe Johnson lurking behind the 3pt line or posting up smaller guards, Pierce too slow at this stage of his career to get past opposing wings (although his move to the 4 has helped him immensely), and Deron’s inconsistency left the Nets with no real consistent threat to drive the lines. Thornton has that ability, and I’m eager to see how that may open up more open looks from 3 moving forward. Oh yeah, he can also hit from deep himself. His career 3pt% is 35.9%. While that number may not make you jump our of your seat, he also played with the Kings. The Nets’ floor spacing schemes have potential to benefit his game, while his game has potential to complement his teammates. He is what you’d call a volume scorer; someone with the ability to put the ball in the basket. Keep in mind: The Nets rank 21st in the NBA this year in ppg at 97.2.
Check him out lighting up the Indiana Pacers (!) for 42 a few weeks ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWdCCCn_V5M
Robert: I think Marcus Thornton was a ‘meh’ move right before the deadline. He’s in the middle of the worst season of his career and the only thing preventing him from being amnestied was the fact that his contract was signed after the new CBA was in place. The Nets didn’t lose much for him as Reggie Evans and Jason Terry were rarely in the rotation. Hopefully the fresh start in Brooklyn can rejuvenate Thornton’s season for the Nets’ playoff push.
3) Should the Nets cut their losses and trade Deron Williams?
Jake: I have been a big critic of Williams this year. He doesn’t show enough fight, pride or effort. He was never a leader nor a strong character but even I was surprised with exactly how ‘soft’ he has been. Mentally and physically, on and off the court. It’s a huge disappointment considering we have seen him at his almost best (post AS break last year). However, now is not the time to be dealing Deron. His value is at an all time low. It would be like selling low. Best case right now? Deron gets somewhere close to healthy to close out the season with some solid play. Then, the Nets can reevaluate his position in the off season once they know more about Brook’s health and what KG is doing.
Dylan: Although it would never happen, I think it would be the best move for the franchise. Williams seems, not only incapable of being healthy, but incapable of being any sort of leader. I know Pierce and Garnett are considered the leaders of the team, but as the point guard and “floor general,” Williams needs those leadership qualities. Your point guard shouldn’t stop playing hard and express poor body language when he’s not playing well. Take Goran Dragic as an example, beyond his talent, his leadership and floor general abilities have made the Suns one of the league’s best teams. The Nets sorely need this out of Deron, and unless he can magically turn healthy and become a leader, I think it would be best if both sides moved on.
Jordan: This is a tough question for me as I have grown fond of Deron since the Nets acquired him from the Jazz back at the 2011 trade deadline. The fact of the matter is, however, that Deron isn’t getting any younger and his ankles just seem to be failing him as nears his 30th birthday this June. Deron has shown quick glimpses of the player he was in Utah but he has never really played at the high caliber level consistently that the Nets believed he could. The issue with trading Deron is what the Nets could get in return for the oft-injured point guard – I just can’t see any teams giving up what the Nets would be looking for to get a 29-year-old point guard who can’t stay on the court. Hopefully we’ll see from Deron what we saw after the all-star break last year when he was back to looking like the best point guard in the league.
Anthony: No. Not yet… I can still remember the day Deron Williams tweeted a photo of a Brooklyn Nets logo when he finally made his decision to become the face of this franchise. Now, just 7 months later, legitimate questions regarding whether Deron is worth that very contract have emerged. Deron’s health has been an issue prior to being sent to the then New Jersey Nets. Doctors in Utah were unaware of lose particles in his wrist that were ailing him during the 2010-2011 season. As his injury bug spreads to both of his ankles, his knees, and anything else related to the anatomy of the human body, Deron is in the midst of his worst statistical season with averages of 13.3 points and 6.6 assists per game. With that said, I think it would be in the Nets’ best interest if they play Deron out for the remainder of this year and at least the beginning of next year. If he continues on his current trend, his trade value will continue to plummet and he will be considered one of the worst contracts in the NBA. But ditching him now means rebuilding mode; a mode Proky and the current Nets’ roster want no part of. Let’s talk again at next year’s trade deadline.
Robert: The Nets should certainly trade Deron Williams. He’s never healthy and his season is on par with Jameer Nelson’s of the Orlando Magic. His best days are behind him (due to injury) and can’t be counted on in the long term. It’s best to part ways now because his value lowers by the day. I would’ve brought up how bad his contract is but it seems like Billy King doesn’t care about bad contracts after the Marcus Thornton trade.
4) Should the Nets blow it up and start over?
Jake: No, not right now. They would be selling low on too many guys. They need to wait until the off season and evaluate the future of the veterans (KG, Pierce) and the health of the stars (Lopez and Williams).
Dylan: At this point, no they shouldn’t. Brooklyn has already traded basically all their picks in the foreseeable future, and has gone “all in.” With the Eastern Conference extremely weak this year, and with Brooklyn having success against Miami, I think the Nets should add a piece or two who can contribute this season to go for it. With the East being so weak, the Eastern Conference Finals and potentially beyond could be a realistic possibility, as crazy as it sounds.
Jordan: This, again, is a tough question because again: what are the Nets going to get? The Nets are never getting back everything they gave up to bring Garnett, Pierce, and Williams to Brooklyn – those draft picks and young assets are gone and they aren’t coming back. I don’t really see a scenario in which the Nets CAN blow up the team and start a rebuild, I think until 2016 the Nets are stuck with what they have and need to try to make the best of it.
Anthony: No. This question is directly related to question number 3. If you believe in Deron’s health both short-term and long-term, then this team, even at 24-27, has potential to make noise in the postseason. Mikhail Prokhorov has made it clear time and time again that payroll is a non-factor. With the newest addition of Marcus Thornton, they’re current payroll for the 2013-2014 season exceeds $210 million. From our standpoint, he seems crazy. But his desire to put together a winning basketball team to ultimately win a championship is admirable from a fan’s perspective as well as a player’s perspective. While the Nets lack a significant amount of assets in the foreseeable future, assets do not make championship teams overnight. Prokhorov has quickly established a reputation; a reputation that has potential to lure Kevin Durant in the summer of 2016. Keep spending Proky.
Robert: The Nets shouldn’t completely “blow it up”. Show that you’re willing to try to improve as long as any move doesn’t affect the plans for the 2016 offseason. Having your best two players (Deron and Brook) be very injury prone can’t be attractive to star free agents, though. Find ways to part with one and I say the one should be Deron.
5) Which team contending with the Nets for playoff position is most likely to make a move at the deadline?
Jake: I think that the Wizards are the third best team in the East and desperately need point-guard depth. They have a wealth of options at small forward to try and weave into some deals. Andre Miller, Jameer Nelson and Jarrett Jack come to mind.
Dylan: Charlotte, who is currently slotted as the eighth seed in the East, seems to be the most active Eastern Conference playoff team in “buying mode.” Guys such as Evan Turner and Pau Gasol have come up in rumors to potentially be headed to Charlotte, both would help them immensely. There’s also still the possibility of the Raptors trading Kyle Lowry, but given his outstanding play, I doubt Lowry goes.
Jordan: Short answer: the New York Knicks. The Knicks (read as: Jim Dolan) are desperate – both to make the playoffs and to keep superstar Carmelo Anthony. Before the season Knicks owner Jim Dolan thought that his team had enough talent to win a championship – not make the playoffs, win a CHAMPIONSHIP. As the trade deadline draws near, the Knicks sit at 20-33, good enough for 11th place in the dreadful eastern conference. With Carmelo Anthony having the ability to opt-out of his current contract at the end of the year, you can bet that Jim Dolan will do whatever he can to bring in a piece that will help his team get back into the hunt.
Anthony: New York Knicks. The East is a mess. It’s remarkable that the Nets are in a virtual tie for 6th place having started 10-21 on the season. The irony of the situation is that you’d think a handful of teams would make attempts to make a run at it this year with the lack of competitiveness sans Indiana and Miami. However, we have heard rumors that the Cavs are interested in moving Luol Deng (a player they had just acquired weeks ago) for fear that he may pack up this summer for a winning situation. The Pistons have been rumored to be shopping Greg Monroe, their promising starting center. The Sixers have reportedly made everyone available for their desire to stockpile picks. The one team that I believe may make a move that could turn their season around however, is the New York Knicks. James Dolan is one of those owners who often surprises (and that’s not usually a good thing for Knicks fans). If the Knicks, who are reportedly interested in Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets and Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, could swing a deal, they may be able to make a turn for the better and squeeze into the East playoff race. Like the Nets, the Knicks are not playing for ping pong balls. They are in win now mode, no matter what their record may reflect. The Knicks would love to be able to convince Melo in staying by adding a contributing piece down the stretch (Similar to the Joe Johnson move in order to sway Deron). Bottom line, too many of the teams in the East are tanking for them to make a move that improves their team for this season. The Knicks are the team to keep an eye on. Tank on everyone…
Robert: I can see the Cleveland Cavaliers try to make a move at the deadline to improve their playoff push. They’re in the midst of a 5 game winning streak and can really use a 3 in the worst way. Rumors of Harrison Barnes being traded there should only bring joy to Kyrie Irving’s eyes.