The Brooklyn Nets have been trying to become New York’s biggest draw since before they moved to Brooklyn. Nets owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, tried to spend his way to a championship, but that didn’t happen. He ended up with dried-up veterans and other bloated contracts.
The Nets front office doesn’t like what they have seen so far and have put their three best players on the trading block. Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson could all be headed out of town…but are any NBA teams willing to take on their large contracts?
Lopez, Johnson and Williams are the highest-paid trio in the NBA at $58.7 million combined. Not only will a trade partner need to worry about this season, but all three players are on the books for future money.
Let’s breakdown each player and if there’s a chance any team would take a shot on them.
Brook Lopez is the youngest of the trio (26), but his ankles are 50-years old. He can’t stay healthy. He has a player-option for $16.7 next season and he will exercise the crap out of that. There’s no way a team would pay him that kind of money as a free agent. I don’t see a trade partner for Lopez. The Nets wouldn’t get anything worthwhile in return. It would just be a cash dump…if there’s an NBA team out there looking to spend money. I doubt Philadelphia would want to saddle themselves with his contract.
Joe Johnson is the third-highest paid player in the NBA. That’s freaking crazy. He’s also due another $24.9 million next season. He’s a good shooter, but I just don’t see the Nets liking any deal proposed to them. Does Charlotte want Lance Stephenson out of town bad enough to send him to Brooklyn for Johnson? You never know.
Deron Williams has the most value out of the three (and that’s not saying a lot). Williams hasn’t lived up to the promise he showed his first few seasons in the league. He’s signed through the 2016-17, but has an opt-out and could be a free agent during the 2016 offseason. He would be 32 years old. Brooklyn out-bid Dallas back in 2012 for Williams. I doubt they still have interest with Monta Ellis and Jameer Nelson on the roster.
In order for Brooklyn to move any of these players, they would need to eat a large portion of the remaining money on their contracts. It doesn’t make any sense for a rebuilding team to trade for any of these players and give up their youth. Also, contending teams don’t have the kind of cap space available in order to add any of these guys. Brooklyn could be stuck with them until the offseason.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.