The Clippers and Kings are two teams full of players who may be available this summer: but can the Nets take advantage?
As for the Clippers, for the first time since acquiring Chris Paul in 2011, there is legitimate discussion of the possibility that they will look to make personnel changes to move their roster in an alternative direction. Doc Rivers said preseason that he thinks contenders get stale, and while the Clippers were besieged by injuries, they had their worst season in 2015-2016 since coming together as a core. That makes for potentially poachable free agents, and even trade targets, as Rivers may look to shake things up rather than give this group another shot.
As for the Kings, it is easy to view them as the Western conference version of the Nets before hiring Sean Marks (and hopefully, not after). However, whenever a team makes coaching and management changes, those changes provide an opportunity to begin building a world class culture. So many current contenders or near contenders — the Warriors, Cavaliers Clippers, and Raptors, come to mind – are organizations that were once downtrodden and represented the butt of jokes across the NBA landscape. All thirty teams can be great or awful, regardless of their history, depending on how they are run. The Kings, with the hire of Ken Catanella and the fact that their coaching search has truly been diligent, may be changing their culture. Still, their roster is clearly not one that can stay together going forward.
So who from the Clippers or Kings is obtainable for Brooklyn?
Seth Curry: Curry may be seen as a funny piece to go after in light of his surname. Forget all of that, and what you have is a young player who has been quietly solid in Sacramento, who in limited samples showed he can shoot the ball and can guard competently. Curry has a $1 million player option so he can hit the market, and the Nets would be a good landing spot in light of their sore need of guards. He is a player who has a ceiling he is yet to hit, and that is the type of thing the Nets need to search for this summer.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute: Mbah a Moute at his physical peak was an excellent defender on the wing. At this point, he does not offer as much, but he is a strong locker room presence. And a good role model for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, as long as the Nets did not sign him expecting big minutes.
Austin Rivers: Rivers has a player option to stay with his father in LA, and can opt out and get paid by his Clippers. While the Clippers clearly added Rivers for nepotistic reasons (why deny the obvious), if you set that aside, he is a useful rotation guard in limited minutes. Still, he is not a starter, but may command starter like money or close.
Jamal Crawford: Crawford has always been a piece of intrigue for Nets fans, but that was when the Nets were in win now mode. Crawford scores, but does not make plays for others, and it has to be noted that he is a part of the awful Clippers bench that consistently fails to produce behind Chris Paul. Crawford has been winning a lot the past several years, and is from the Pacific Northwest: he does not seem like a candidate for a rebuild in the Northeast.
Rajon Rondo: Rondo is overrated at this point. He played in Boston. He was on a team that won a championship. He is the type of player who, in getting steals, liking at times to guard bigger guys, and making unusual plays often not centered around scoring, who “basketball people” tend to become enamored with, but he cannot shoot, and that is a huge issue in the modern game. In light of that, and how he flamed out of Dallas, should the Nets really hand him the keys to their offense?
Jeff Green: Every team that acquires Green becomes worse when they get him, and the Clippers are no different. He just has not shown how he can help an NBA team. And now that he will be through nine NBA seasons, it can’t be said that he has potential to wait on. The Nets should pass.
Cole Aldrich: Aldrich has always been a decent bench big as a bruiser. But at this point, the Nets, with Willie Reed and Henry Sims in house, would barely be upgrading with Aldrich.
Branden Dawson: The Clippers added him in the 2015 draft after a draft day trade, as a second rounder. He has not played much, but the Clippers have a $875 team option they will likely exercise.
Quincy Acy: Acy is a decent rebounder, who has bounced around the league. Having him would not hurt, but he simply isn’t an upgrade over anything the Nets already have.
Pablo Prigioni: The fall of Prigioni has been swift. He simply offers little as an NBA player at this point. The Nets should look elsewhere.
Wesley Johnson: If the Nets did one thing right under Prokhorov (despite undoing it months later via the Deron Williams trade and missing out on DeMarcus Cousins), it was drafting Derrick Favors over Johnson, who has been a huge bust as a pro, and who the Nets were legitimately considering in the 2010 Draft’s third spot. Johnson has a player option to stick in Los Angeles, and perhaps won’t be in the league if he does not.
James Anderson, Caron Butler, Duke Dujan, and Eric Moreland: Dujan and Moreland are barely NBA players, as is Anderson, and Butler offers nothing but a veteran presence at this point. Pass.
Trades: This is where the Nets lack of assets hurts them. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan, as well as DeMarcus Cousins, all could be on the market this summer. But the Nets simply do not have the assets to get a deal done. All but Jordan are worth trading Lopez for, but is he enough to bring in those three players? And in the case of Paul, he is an unrestricted free agent in 2017, so that weighs into any analysis.