As Jonah wrote about here, the Brooklyn Nets only have three players who are guaranteed to return barring a draft day trade (I predict the Nets will make at least one such trade). Therefore, many Nets players will be able to choose to return to play in Brooklyn. While some players will simply play for whichever team offers them the highest paying salary, others would be truly disappointed to not play for the Nets in their inaugural season in Brooklyn. In this post, I speculate on which Nets players really want to play for Brooklyn next season and which players have no loyalty to their team and just want a chance to log minutes while earning a salary.
Brook Lopez: really wants to return.
Brook Lopez has repeatedly spoken about his desire to return. He was drafted by the Nets and feels comfortable playing for them. At the Brooklyn Nets’ opening ceremony, he spoke very enthusiastically about the Nets’ move. Here are some quotes:
- This is really the place I want to be. I was drafted here. I love being a Net. It’s the only thing I know. I like everyone in the organization. I have good friends here. I’ve enjoyed my time in this area, and would have no objections at all to continuing to be here. [ NBA.com ]
- Hello Brooklyn! I’ve been waiting for a long time to say that! [ NetsDaily ]
Deron Williams: wants to win above all else; would rather win in Brooklyn.
Williams has made his position clear: he wants to play for a good team. He is an extremely competitive player and loves winning above almost everything else. However, he clearly understands that Brooklyn offers opportunities to become a global basketball icon that most other cities do not offer. If the Nets can bring in one more great player (i.e. Dwight Howard), Williams would certainly re-sign with Brooklyn even if he is offered a contract by a great team elsewhere. In other words, Williams cares most about winning; but, he is attracted by Brooklyn. So, if the Nets do not assemble a good team this offseason, Williams will probably leave for another team. One other note: I do not think he cares much for loyalty – he is shrewd. Here are some quotes:
- It would be great to be a part of that first game (at the Barclays Center), that first team there, kind of start our own legacy in Brooklyn. So that’s definitely enticing. That’s definitely something I think about on a regular basis. [ NBA.com ]
- This has been one the toughest years, definitely the toughest year of my career and one of the toughest years in my life just trying to deal with [losing]. I never lost at any level going back to middle school. It has definitely been a struggle. [ HoopsHype.com ]
As these quotes show, D Will hates losing and would hate to be a member of another losing team. However, he realizes a unique opportunity to be famous and popular, playing in Brooklyn.
Kris Humphries: really wants to return.
Humphries also wants to stay. He feels comfortable playing for the Nets. Last offseason, he signed a one year contract even though he probably could have gotten a long term deal elsewhere. He was booed at every arena he traveled to this past season, however he was loudly supported at the Prudential Center. Here are some quotes:
- Of course (I want to return). I think everyone wants to come back and be a part of Brooklyn. But we understand that we probably won’t have the same exact team as this year, so hopefully, as many guys as possible can be a part of it. [ ESPN.com ]
- I’ve been to Brooklyn a lot. We did a ton of stuff in the community there, and our community involvement staff and the PR team, everyone did a great job, getting us familiar with Brooklyn, helping connect us in the community, so I think we’ll be able to hit the ground running, if I’m here, and for the guys who are here next year. [ NBA.com ]
Gerald Wallace: wants a good contract
We’ve seen throughout his games with the Nets that Gerald Wallace just loves to play basketball, even if he is playing on a losing team. However, he has told the press that he will probably opt-out of his contract with the Nets because he doesn’t want to play on a one year deal. As a free agent, Wallace will probably accept the best offer that comes his way. The Nets will probably offer him a three year deal. If a dumb team offers the aging veteran a longer term deal, Wallace will probably accept and leave the Nets in shock and frustration. Wallace has only played about 20 games for the Nets and probably does not feel loyal to them. Here are some quotes:
- I don’t want to play on a one-year deal. [NYTimes.com ]
- Just the buzz and the atmosphere from the community around [the Charlotte Bobcats' inaugural season]. And they had already had a team. Brooklyn has never had a team. I can just imagine. [ NBA.com ]
The Supporting Cast
Gerald Green: really wants to return
Gerald Green has said he will give the Nets a discount this offseason because he feels loyal to them and wants to return. However, it has yet to be seen if he will still demand a long term, burdensome contract. Green hasn’t had any job security throughout his NBA career and would probably pounce on a long term contract if he gets offered one. I’m not sure the Nets will be the team to offer him a long term deal.
- Here, I definitely [want to play] with the Nets. I have a strong feeling I’m going to be with the Nets. I don’t feel like I’m going to be anywhere else. I know I’m not getting any feedback now from anybody. I can’t. Can’t talk to anybody. So I have a strong feeling about here. They want me here I want to be here. It’s not like I have to weigh my options. I really don’t have any options. [ NYPost.com ]
- Most definitely I would [give the Nets a bargain]. I’m about loyalty and this team was the first team to pick me up for the year. They gave me an opportunity. They gave me a shot. Look what they’re doing. Our record doesn’t speak for itself. We’re a lot better team than our record says. [ NYPost.com ]
Jordan Farmar: wants a good contract
If I were Jordan Farmar, I would be pretty annoyed with coach Avery Johnson right now. At the beginning of the season, Sundiata Gaines replaced Farmar as the Nets #2 point guard even though Sundiata is terrible. Farmar would probably like Brooklyn, though.
The Defensive Specialists
DeShawn Stevenson: wants to stay in the league
This season, DeShawn showed up to training camp out of shape and repeatedly demonstrated that he is washed up and does not belong in the NBA anymore. He will be happy just to get an NBA contract anywhere. He probably does not feel loyal to the Nets, however he is good friends with Deron Williams.
Shelden Williams: wants a good contract
Shelden had a strong start to the season and somewhat fizzled out towards the end of the season when he had to wear large goggles. He showed a lot of heart and hustle throughout the season and can probably get a small contract from some team. It is anyone’s guess which team winds up offering Shelden the contract he is hoping for. Shelden definitely classifies as a ‘journeyman’ player because he’s played for way too many teams during his career. He is rarely quoted by Nets beat writers and I can not find any good Shelden quotes to post here.
Damion James: wants to return
Only Greg Oden has been injured more often than Damion James in recent years. Additionally, James has shown he is a very limited player. He probably wants another chance to prove his worth to the Nets and since the Nets can retain him for cheap, he may get this chance. If the Nets don’t retain him, I would not be surprised to see him out of the NBA, even though he hasn’t been that terrible.
Keith Bogans: wants to stay in the league
After being signed mid-season, Bogans played about five games for the Nets before suffering a season ending injury. If the Nets didn’t sign him, he may have spent the whole season sitting at home as a free agent. He definitely does not feel loyal to the team and is just desperate to stay in the NBA. I have no quotes from Bogans.
Jordan Williams: really wants to return
Just from reading J Will’s tweets, I get the sense that he is a very loyal person. Also, he will probably not receive many offers this offseason because he is a very limited player with limited upside. If he gets an offer from the Nets, he’ll take it.
Sundiata Gaines: wants to stay in the league
Sundiata demonstrated countless times to the Nets that he is not good enough to be a backup point guard in the NBA. He probably wouldn’t mind a fresh start with some other NBA team; however, he may have to wait a while before getting offered a contract.
Armon Johnson: wants to stay in the league
Armon Johnson is a D-League extraordinaire who is desperate for an NBA contract.