With the Brooklyn Nets’ season over, it is time to start looking at how this team can improve next year. Billy King began the discussion today in a press conference. You can read more about that at ESPN New York. Clearly, Billy’s first move was deciding to not bring back P.J. Carlesimo, who was officially let go this morning, only a few hours after the Nets’ season ended.
Before talking about any offseason plans, however, King first talked about Joe Johnson’s health. King said that if the Nets had won last night, Johnson would have missed the first two games of the Miami series because his plantar fasciitis has gotten that bad. That would shrink the already tiny chance the Nets had of beating Miami. Despite Johnson not being healthy at all now, he will not need surgery, just a lot of rest, which he has time for.
Another player King talked about was backup center Andray Blatche, who played a key role in the game 6 win over Chicago. Blatche is an unrestricted free agent, but King seems confident Blatche will be back, saying “He’s not going to make more money. Hopefully he likes the situation and wants to be here”. Because Blatche was amnestied by Washington before coming to Brooklyn, he will probably not be able to make any more money anywhere else. Andray seemed very happy in Brooklyn this year and I’m sure he wants to be back.
King also brought up another backup, point guard C.J. Watson, who has a player option of just over $1 million next season. Watson recently switched agents, which might be a sign that he is looking to go elsewhere. In my mind, he is worth around $3 million per year, which is nearly 3 times greater than his salary will be next year if he opts in to his contract. Even if C.J. opts out, the Nets could still re-sign him for more money if they so choose.
If they lose Watson, they will have a hole at the backup point guard position. Yes, they do have Tyshawn Taylor, who will be in his second year next season, but it is unclear if the Nets believe that he is a viable backup or if they will need to go out and sign someone else.
Lastly, King talked about Bojan Bogdanovic, who the Nets drafted a couple of years ago with the first pick in the second round but who has yet to come over to the NBA from Europe. King thinks the Nets could finally get Bogdanovic this year, which could be a nice lift to their bench, although he may have the same role as Mirza Teletovic.
The biggest difference between Brooklyn and New Jersey is that for the first time, free agents want to come to the Nets. Even last year, Brooklyn was a mystery that some players were driven away from. The Nets are now a desirable destination and they should be able to acquire some key role players in free agency this season.