Fan Mailbag!

Nets fans: today, brooklynsbeat.com is doing its first ever fan mailbag. Many of you had questions for me about your Nets. Here are your answers:

Name: Austin Glasser
Email: austinglasser@gmail.com
This is a question for the mailbag. What do the Nets have to do to retain Andrei Kirilenko beyond this season? I know he has a player option, but do you think he will look to chase a bigger contract elsewhere? Will we be in a cap situation where we will have the ability to offer him something better? Does the team’s apparent luke warm interest in bringing Bogdanovic over affect his situation at all with regards to the cap? If Paul Pierce doesn’t resign for the vet minimum, and KG choses to retire as a result, will we be able to use his money for Kirilenko? Is offering Blatche a contract from his early bird rights relevant at all? Salary cap rules in the NBA are very confusing.

Austin: the CBA is a beast, happy to help. Kirilenko has a player option and is back if he exercises it. I believe we have his bird rights if he opts out so we can keep him without using our mini midlevel, or taxpayer, exception. I think he will opt out.

I think Brooklyn wants Bojan, but would be required to use the taxpayer exception to bring him over. Last year they wasted chances to look at others to wait on him and they may ask for a firm “NBA or not” stance this year. Given the lack of youth I think they want him.

With Pierce, we have his bird rights so we can sign him well above the minimum. I personally believe, given the Nets plan that this core gets them to 2016, that the Nets will offer Pierce something in the 2 year $24 million neighborhood to secure his services and talk KG into staying active.

With Blatche, the Nets can pay him something like 4 years, $24 million, a figure others can beat but likely won’t try to. He does not affect the others, outside of a large tax bill.

@strausblaze: is the front office beginning to take Blatche out of their long term plans? Feeling Kidd prefers a TChandler type vs his game

That is a legitimate question. Blatche can score and is a thrill, but he struggles defensively. The Nets crave a defensive identity he struggles to fit in with. This decision could be tied to Brook Lopez: if they see Lopez as a cornerstone they may decline to build with Blatche, especially given Mirza Teletovic’s defensive limitations. Also, Blatche is better than Mason Plumlee…today. But Plumlee is younger and cheaper, and has the potential to develop into a much better player.

It will be interesting to see what the Nets think of Blatche’s worth this summer.

@honeybearrocks: When will Kidd come to his senses and start a conventional lineup preferably with AK starting at the 4?

Kirilenko is surely playing well enough to start, and should see time with te starters. However, Kidd also has had much success with the 2 point guard lineup, and Pierce at the 4. The lineup creates matchup problems, and a second ball handler gives us a nice offensive blend. I also think Kidd hopes that Kirilenko can stabilize the second unit defensively.

This is a tough one because I think starting Kirilenko could work, but we know that starting Livingston works. But you’re right that Kirilenko should see more time with the first unit: Deron, Joe, Kirilenko, and the Boston guys represents our top 5 players.

@Seanmondello: when do we move in a new direction as a unit?

The answer here is probably 2016. The Nets do not have enough future asserts to rebuild without the process being drawn out, so they are forced to try to contend now. With a treasure trove of 2016 cap space in time for Kevin Durant and other big names, at that time the Nets will be able to build a wholly new roster. For now, with little flexibility, what you see is largely what you get. The Nets could deal some of their deals expiring this or next summer for longer deals (and better players on paper) expiring in 2016, but such upgrades would be marginal and even then the Nets would not take on a deal that runs into 2017 due to they all important 2016 cap space.

In short, let’s hope Deron can be the top 10-15 player he was billed as (deservingly at the time). That is our sole path to salvation for the next 28 months.

@Shook_Jones: When was the last time Dwill and JJ had a good game on the same night?

Last I remember was the Philly game at home. Deron controlled that game from start to finish, and Joe had that enormous third quarter. That outburst was a byproduct of Deron breaking down Philly’s defense and setting Joe up for a ton of open looks.

Which goes to my larger point. Joe’s struggles are somewhat on Deron because at this age, Joe is reliant on having a playmaker like Deron to be effective consistently. Joe goes as Deron goes: when Deron does not create offense Joe is forced to Iso, which rarely ends well in the first 47 minutes of games. But when Deron is on, finding guys for good looks, Joe thrives as a corner shooter and attacker into open space off the ball.

The Nets, and Joe, will do what Deron’s ankles allow.

@sebRetalk: Are the BK Nets better than the @Raptors ?

That is a tough one. I sure hope so. Toronto has earned it’s first place spot by being 10th in the league offensively and a stout 6th defensively. They play hard for coach Casey, and relied on internal improvement from Lowry, DeRozan, Valanciunas, and Ross to get to this point. It’s a tough athletic team with 2 players that can score 20 points, good point guard play, and a good defense.

The Nets can beat the Raptors, and I will be confident if we see them in April. But unless they stumble they will win the division because we are behind a few games with little time. I think we can be better than Toronto: we are 19-8 since January and an inbounds from a 2-1 head to head, but they have earned the right to be called better at this point, if only slightly, based on the body of work. But come playoff time: I would love to see them round 1.

@Neveragain02: why did we get Collins where was he tonight… Hate this NBA business.. Get players to win not for attention.

Respectfully, I disagree here. Of course, signing Collins has brought attention.
However, that does not mean that the purpose of signing him was to induce that attention.

With Brook out and KG on a minutes limit, the need for another big to soak minutes – and to provide defense for a bench that has scored but not guarded – has been long lasting. Those are areas where Collins has excelled. And at this time of year, any available player is a guy not on a roster – so the pool for competition for his spot was not large. I wrote on this site why I believe in the signing.

I agree with you that publicity, or making a splash, is a bad reason to do a move. I just don’t think this move was about that.

@NewmutantsWill: with toughness being an issue, any chance of Ivan Johnson getting a look? I feel he adds a dimension nets sorely need.

It is possible. The Nets have one roster spot open if they keep Collins for the season. And in looking at the roster, they are set at point, and Thornton has filled a backup wing role. As you can never have enough shooting perhaps the Nets target a shooter instead, to provide insurance if we get the Thornton Sacramento got all year.

However, Johnson is a possibility. He is similar to Reggie Evans, but has some attitude issues. My instinct is Brooklyn stays away because the team is gelling and he would add another ego, but it is possible.

@wbernardez79 do you think plumlee will see time during the playoffs #Nets

Some time, yes. Plumlee’s minutes are erratic, getting more time when KG sits, but he does typically at least catch a few minutes of action. With KG and Pierce starting, Plumlee is essentially the third big off the bench behind Blatche and Teletovic, when Kirilenko plays the 3.

Plumlee deserves credit for earning minutes and I think he has a great future. He can become an excellent defender with his athleticism and work ethic if he gains muscle and develops a better understanding of NBA offenses, and the little things like how to take good angles. On offense, he’s a decent finisher who can see development there, as well as in his post game and with his jumper.

However, as fun, popular, and motivated as he is, he has work to do. At the moment, he is a net minus defender who can make the highlight play, but does not know how to guard on a possession by possession basis. I think that will change in due time – because of his potential and desire to put the time in – but he is not quite there yet. It will be interesting to see how much the Nets pay Blatche this summer if at all – it could indicate their take on Mason’s developmental curve.

At the moment, I see him getting spot minutes this postseason, particularly when Mirza is ice cold.

@jwhenson_:Playoffs basketball will require a much tighter rotation, give me your best final 9 in a Nets rotation. #beatmailbag

What a smart question. Maybe I should get this guy to write for this site! 🙂

Tough. I would go Deron, S. Dot, Joe, Paul, KG, Kirilenko, Blatche, Teletovic, Thornton – with Plumlee in relief on nights Blatche = Baltche or Teletovic is both off from 3 and getting torched defensively (he can look like an elite stretch 4 one night and unplayable the next).

That it is tough to pinpoint underscores one Nets problem this year: the team in some ways has too many specialists. Blatche is a one end big, as is Mirza. Collins is the definition of a specialist. Prior to the trade Reggie Evans was a one trick pony. The Nets, particularly up front, have too many one end guys on the roster in some ways. Nevertheless, #8 is capable of covering those issues up if he plays the way he has post all star break for the most part.

Thanks for the questions, everyone! Lets do this again sometime.

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