Tag:Nene
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:46 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 6:52 am
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The Nuggets, free of Melo, control their destiny

By Matt Moore

When trading a superstar, you look at two options. You can try and aim for a similar, albeit lesser star, or you can aim for financial flexibility and young players. When the Denver Nuggets traded Camelo Anthony last February, they received young players and financial flexibility, but they also recieved something better. Choice. 

The team was not so devastated by Anthony's deparure as to be forced into a pure rebuilding episode. They had young players like Arron Afflalo, Ty Lawson, and got back more in the form of Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov. But they also had cap room to bring in someone, or, if they wanted to bring back Nene. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that's just what they did, inking the 29-year-old to a 5-year, $67 million deal which puts him at less per year than Marc Gasol, and which is less than the reported four-year, $70 million offer from the Nets. In locking up Nene, the Nuggets are entering into exciting but dangerous territory.

The Nuggets can compete for the playoffs right now. If Lawson continues his progression and Gallinari becomes a full-fledged star and young players like Jordan Hamilton and Kenneth Faried contribute anything, along with Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer, who the Nuggets acquired Tuesday in a trade with Dallas, then Nene allows them to push for as high as a five-seed in the West. With the Lakers undergoing signs of a possible implosion and Dallas clearing space for 2012, along with San Antonio's age finally wreaking havoc on them, the Thunder really only stand as a major long-term challenge in the West, provided the Clippers don't get Chris Paul. A deep, talented, versatile team with depth, size, experience, youth, athleticism and range? The Nuggets have everything you'd want in an all-around collection of talent.

The Nuggets are expected to zero in on restricted free agent Arron Afflalo, according to Berger, and as a result, will have a killer lineup of Lawson-Afflalo-Gallinari with some combination of frontcourt players beside Nene filling out the roster. They'll still have long-term flexibility, with only Al Harrington standing as a major impediment and will still have the amnesty clause as a weapon to use to clear space. Most of that cap space will be absorbed by extensions for Lawson, Gallinari, and potentially Mozgov, but that doesn't alter the fact that they can use those contracts and players to upgrade or go in different directions.

Still, the re-signing of Nene has its drawbacks. They are a win-now team. They are not aiming for the next superstar, they're trying to grow one out of either Lawson, Gallinari, or, less likely, Nene. They're trying to catch lightning in a bottle and that's a difficult act in the NBA. It's said that the worst thing you can do is end up in NBA purgatory, a constant 5-8 seed playoff team who never winds up going anywwhere. But the Nuggets might get to have their cake and eat it, too. With the kind of young roster they have, and a viable anchor in Nene to bolster the interior, Denver can have it both ways.

Masai Ujiri caught flak from everyone for waiting on the Melo deal last fall, seemingly squandering opportunities to get better deals. Instead, not only did he take in a king's ransom for Anthony, he has converted that haul and the cap space it afforded into a team that isn't struggling to fill roster spots, one that can take risks and make savvy moves, a team on the rise that can also compete now. There's no telling where Ujiri will take the Nuggets over the next several years, but unlike so many franchises beholden to the fate of one player, the Nuggets have options, now.

Wherever they're going, it's their decision which path to take.
Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:44 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Back in the habit

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, we ask KB about what the Hornets and Magic should do, what the Bulls are looking for, and when things will pick up for free agency. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS

1. Good gravy we started fast, didn't we? If you were going to tell the Hornets and Magic one thing that you learned from the Melo Debacle, what would it be?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com:  Don't panic. Nuggets VP Masai Ujiri's best trait during the Melodrama was patience. He surveyed the landscape, recognized what cards he was dealt, and let everything play out until he extracted the best deal he could get under the circumstances. He also cultivated a positive relationship with Anthony so there was mutual trust. Otis Smith must do this with Dwight Howard, and Dell Demps with Chris Paul. But having said all this, the time pressure on the Magic and Hornets will be exponentially greater than it was on the Nuggets, who always knew they held the key to Anthony getting a max extension with the team of his choice. My reading of the new rules is that Orlando and New Orleans can't risk their stars playing this out and getting to free agency. If they do, there will be considerable angst and even more considerable risk that their stars will leave and they'll get nothing in return. One more thing, while we're on the subject: The Magic and Hornets have the benefit of a shortened season, which would make the short-term ramifications of a blow-it-up-and-start-over trade fairly fleeting. Plus, cap space in a better free-agent market next summer and a superb draft could speed the reloading process.

2. What are the Bulls looking for in a two-guard?

KB:  They're looking for more offensive production, but aren't willing to break the bank to get it. They'd like to upgrade, but they did win 62 games with Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer at the two. Not a catastrophe if they don't make a major upgrade, and they're definitely not going to overpay. Jason Richardson is the best fit basketball-wise, but not sure how he'd otherwise fit -- and the Bulls may want someone younger who can grow with Derrick Rose.

3. Nene's clearly the biggest name out there. But sussing out his motivations has been tricky. Is he looking for the money? The ring? Some combination of the two?

KB:  Well, if he pushes for a trade to Miami (no assets) or Dallas (some), he'd be signaling that he wants to win. But this might be the only chance he'll get in his career to get a max deal. Only in this free-agent class could a guy who averages 14 points and seven rebounds get a deal starting at more than $17 million.

4. Players are reportedly going to vote on the deal on December 8th, with training camps starting December 9th. Do we always have to cut these things so damn close? (Marty McFly'd)

KB:  Yeah, it's going to go down to the wire. It's going to be a marathon for the lawyers to get this deal in shape and resolve all the B-list issues in time to vote. Same thing happened after NFL lockout, when players essentially voted as they reported to camp. Once all the heavy lifting is done over the next few days, the voting process for both sides should be a formality -- with one exception. Do dissident agents have enough support from clients to get Billy Hunter ousted as executive director of the NBPA as a condition of ratification? My overwhelming opinion is no, but the way this process has gone, expect another flareup of drama before it's over.

5. How much of a scramble are front office executives in to try and figure out this deal which isn't even done yet?

KB:  That's why there's been so little real activity; agents and teams are trying to digest what players are worth under the new rules, what the new rules are, and what impact they will have on their books/strategy for the next few years. I think you'll begin to see teams begin to make firm offers over the weekend, and the activity will pick up starting Monday.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:30 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Pacers exploring trade and free agency

By Matt Moore 

The Indiana Pacers are coming off of fascinating season. They started off hot as fire, then cratered a bit. Jim O'Brien was fired, and then interim coach Frank Vogel took them to the playoffs, where they had as competitive a five-game series against the Bulls as a five-game series can be. So they're looking to upgrade the team and make a run, right now. They brought in George Hill through trade, and now are looking for more additions. 

The Indianapolis Star mentons a pretty intriguing option through trade: Paul Millsap
The Pacers talked to the Utah Jazz about forward Paul Milsap prior to the draft. Expect them to make a phone call to the Jazz again. The 26-year-old Milsap, a Pacer killer in the past, averaged a career-high 17 points last season.
via Mike Wells: A look at players the Pacers might pursue | The Indianapolis Star | indystar.com.

Millsap would make for the power forward the Pacers are looking for in free agency through David West or Nene. If they were to trade Roy Hibbert as part of the package, thiy could sign Nene, then add Millsap making one of the better front courts in the Eastern Conference, along with Danny Granger. The Pacers are clearly looking to enter the conference race right now, instead of waiting to see their young pieces develop. 

The question is, what's the objective? Can the Pacers win a title with Danny Granger as their best player? They've put together an interesting, fast, young team that can defend at one end, hit from the perimeter, and get out in transition. But do they have a team that could get hot and go on an unpredictable run to the title? OK, it wouldn't be unpredictable if we could answer that. But the point is that the Pacers are loading up for what is likely a team whose ceiling is the second round. 

Have to try something, I guess. The Pacers surprised people last season. If they spend wisely, and that's a big if, they could do the same this year with heightened expectations.
Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 3:55 pm
 

Nene is going to get PAID

By Matt Moore 

We've already told you that Nene is the top free agent in the market. But the thing is, it's a weak market. The best players are in restricted free agency and therefore are difficult to acquire. The unrestricted market is full of players with huge limitations or age and injury concerns. As such, you'd expect spending to be limited. After all, teams just got done holding a five-month lockout based on saying that spending to much on players is the problem. 

Nope! Back to the market with their pockets full of change they go!

First, from the New York Post:  
The players the Nets likely will pursue have been out there: Nene, Tayshaun Prince, Jamal Crawford. Then there is always the sign-and-trade route, which seems more feasible again as the new deal apparently will allow for immediate sign-and-trades like in the past.
via Nets ready to get to work on Williams, 'going home soon'.

OK, well, sure, the Nets want to sign him. The Nets are always looking to overpay for a free agent. See: Outlaw, Travis. But surely there's not some sort of huge buyer's market for him, right? Nene is excellent at what he does, but he's not a star. Teams aren't goin to go gaga... oh. From the Houston Chronicle:  
The Rockets have some hard decisions to make. They’re going all out for free-agent center Nene. He’s 29 years old and coming off a season in which he averaged 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Nene is 6-11, 250 pounds, and Morey believes putting him in a lineup with Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin would give the Rockets three to build around.
via Rockets will target Nene in free agency, and if they don’t get him, will consider a full-blown reconstruction. | SportsJustice | a Chron.com blog.

Then you have the Nuggets, who have a world of cap space and every intention of re-signing the Brazillian center. If this winds up being an arms race, they have a good chance as anyone, given Nene's comfort level there. Then there's the possibility Nene could forgo the money and instead opt to chase a ring, putting the Knicks and Heat on the radar. Either way, Nene's goin to be the most sought-after player on December 9th, and there's a pretty good possibility that after a summer talking about controlling costs, a team is going to dramatically over-commit in pursuit of Nene.
Posted on: August 19, 2011 12:44 pm
 

Nene says money won't decide his free agency

By Matt Moore

Nene is arguably the biggest name in free agency. He's a veteran center who's not too old to contribute and yet still mean as all get out in the paint. He's going to be an extremely valuable commodity on the open market, whenever it opens. So naturally, Nene is looking to cash in, right? This is the big final contract before he heads off to build churches in Brazil? That's got to be his biggest priority. Money. 

Well, Nene  says that's not the case. From the Denver Post

 
Whenever the NBA gets going again, Nene will be a free agent, after opting out of the final year of his Nuggets contract ($11.6 million). He reiterated that it's possible he could return to the Nuggets but suggested that one of the reasons he wants to play elsewhere is for a more immediate chance at a championship.

"After nine years, I have goals and I'm a team player," said Nene, who has averaged 12.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in his career. "I'm very competitive. I want to accomplish everything. It's a big opportunity, and it's the only one in my life to be a top free agent. So I want to enjoy this moment. If people think it's about money, they're wrong. I've saved my money. I could retire today. I don't need to prove points. I like it a lot here."
via Nuggets' Nene stays in shape playing soccer during lockout - The Denver Post.

A lot of players talk about money not being the important thing, but with Nene it's likely true. He's long said that he's not in basketball to make as much money as possible. The only question will be what effect money not being an issue will have on where he ends up. 

If money's not most important, is loyalty? Because that would lead him back to Denver. Denver has the cap space to pay him a max contract, but if that's not his biggest goal, it may be irrelevant.

If money's not important and it is winning, there's a concern from many about another possible destination: Miami. Miami desperately needs a center, a veteran center, and a good veteran center. Nene would make them an even more dangerous team than the Finals participant from this season.

Other candidates if Nene's just looking to pursue a title include Boston (a mean-mug replacement for Perkins) and New York (imagine how many dunks he'd get in that system).  But Nene's been a star in Denver and finally has the spotlight to himself with Melo out. It's a tough decision but a fun one to make. When money's not the only thing that matters, you get to see what your options are a bit more. 
Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:47 am
 

Danny Granger wants better for Indy at PF

By Matt Moore

The Indiana Pacers are working on building off of momentum. They made the playoffs and gave a good show against the Bulls. With Darren Collison, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and Danny Granger, and now adding George Hill, they're in a position to look for a player to get them to the next level. In an interview with the Indianapolis Star, Danny Granger, resident Indiana star, Granger identified several free agents he'd like to see added to the team, and these aren't exactly value pick-ups. He wants the big guns.  
Q: Free agency will be a lot shorter once the lockout ends. What area do you guys need to address most?

GRANGER: I think with what's on the market at power forward, we have the opportunity to go get one of them. David West, Nene and Carl Landry are available. There are some good power forwards out there. I think we need to be deeper at that position.
via Q&A: Pacers' Danny Granger frustrated with NBA lockout | The Indianapolis Star | indystar.com.

West has been linked with the Pacers in the past, as has Landry. Nene is widely thought to be joining a contender if he doesn't return to Denver in a mega-deal. These are all bigger names, along with Glen Davis that make up a strong power forward free agency class.

It's notable that Granger played 18 percent of his minutes last season at power forward, and that Tyler Hansbrough proved to be a suitable option at the position. Granger's public support of an upgrade doesn't speak well to Hansbrough keeping the spot. Of course, how much money Herb Simon will want to commit to the team given its eight-seed status isnt' known at this point, nor is it known how much money will be available for the Pacers to spend under the new CBA, of course. But Granger's comments do speak of the direction of the Pacers, or what Granger thinks it should be, which is a move away from youth and towards veterans that can help them contend.  
Posted on: July 11, 2011 6:23 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 10:23 pm
 

What teams risk in a lockout: Northwest Division

A look at what is at stake for the NBA's Northwest Division if a whole season was lost due to the lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver.

ricky-rubio

Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the Southeast Division, the Atlantic Division, the Central Division and the Southwest Division. Let's continue with the Northwest Division.  

MINNESOTA Timberwolves


The NBA's worst team won just 17 games last year, had the league's seventh-worst home attendance and is generally mentioned at the top of the list of examples that "prove" the NBA's economic system is broken. That's because their local television, ticket and memorabilia revenue simply cannot compete with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics of the world. Despite all of that, the Timberwolves might very well have more to lose than any other team in the Northwest Division if the league were to miss an entire season.

Let's start with 2009 lottery pick Ricky Rubio, who against all odds took the plunge and decided to finally join up with Minnesota. For multiple seasons, Rubio has represented hope, carrying Timberwolves fans through ugly winters and late-season collapses. The wait was excruciating. The uncertainty about whether he would or wouldn't stay in Europe further into the future made it worse. Now that he's on board, he's been greeted at an airport, introduced to his teammates, sold some jerseys and rallied the collective fan spirit a bit. To lose an entire season would make that interminable wait that much longer. It would also rob Rubio of a valuable development and acclimation year, which would be an absolute disaster. This is a point guard who needs to start on Day 1, entrusted with the full support of his coaching staff and allowed to make mistakes and build chemistry with his teammates while learning on the job. No season means no opportunity to do any of that.

Aside from Rubio, there are financial risks as well. That might be surprising, because the Timberwolves currently are the only team in the NBA that does not have anyone on their books for more than $6.3 million next season, a fairly astonishing accomplishment. Of course, there's a catch: All-Star power forward Kevin Love is on his rookie deal. Indeed, Love is heading into the last pure season of his rookie deal before Minnesota either must issue him a qualifying offer or sign him to an extension. Worse yet, it's possible that Love, one of the league's premier rebounders, will command a mini-max extension or close to it. The point here? He's set to make just $4.6 million next season, a bargain for his production. If the season is lost, the Timberwolves miss out completely on that outstanding value and are one year closer to biting the bullet on extending him without having reaped full benefits. That's tough.

Last but not least, a lost season is the perfect excuse for any franchise to delay tough decisions or to talk themselves into trying to make things work. With an imbalanced roster full of mixed and matched pieces, the Timberwolves, despite their accumulated talent, are going to struggle mightly again next season. The pains of those struggles, theoretically, could be enough to finally convince owner Glen Taylor to pull the plug on president David Kahn, a man who hasn't shown the ability to construct a team and outright wasted two second round draft picks on technical mistakes during the 2011 NBA Draft, by trading a hurt player (Jonny Flynn) and drafting someone who lied about his age (Tanguy Ngombo). A year without games, then, is a year without losses, which means another year for Kahn to preach patience and wiggle out of responsibility for this mess. The sooner Kahn is gone, the sooner this ship turns around. A lost season will make "sooner" feel like never.

OKLAHOMA CITY Thunder

While the Timberwolves need to get headed in the right direction, the Oklahoma City Thunder are already there. With the best designed roster in the league, two young All-Stars, an undisputed Northwest Division title and a Western Conference Finals appearance under their belt already, and a passionate fanbase that is guaranteed to provide 40+ home sellouts next season, the Thunder would happily start the season today. A lost season, then, would be a nightmare.

Name something, anything, and it's at risk for the Thunder. They lose the value of Russell Westbrook playing on a rookie deal. They lose the value of James Harden on a rookie deal. They lose the value of Serge Ibaka on a rookie deal. They lose one year of Kevin Durant's Hall of Fame playing career. They lose another season of playoff experience. They lose a very good chance at making a run at an NBA Finals. They lose a season of having their top eight players (Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefalosha, Nick Collison, Eric Maynor) all locked into affordable contracts. They lose the chemistry and momentum that goes with having an entire nucleus together for multiple years.

What's worse: they have nothing to gain from a work stoppage, other than perhaps the money that would come with increased revenue sharing. Without a single bad or untradeable contract on their books, there is no financial reason OKC would root for a year away from the game. In fact, any change to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that firms up the cap would make it more difficult for the Thunder to keep all this talent in house. That means they wouldn't get the chance to win now and their ability to win later could be compromised.

Usually, young teams that make a deep run through the playoffs can't wait to get back on the court for a second go-around. Multiply that feeling by about 10 and that's the situation facing OKC. 

PORTLAND Trail Blazers

lockoutYou might think the injury-plagued Trail Blazers would welcome some time off to lick their wounds and assess the damage, but missing an entire NBA season wouldn't necessarily be a good thing for this franchise. Really, it's a muddled picture.

The main benefit is clear: the Blazers have a very difficult cap situation next season, thanks to a mini-max contract for guard Brandon Roy, who is apparently no longer capable of reaching his previous All-Star level of play. Saving the $15 million owed to Roy, as well as the $10.5 million owed to aging center Marcus Camby, would be a tempting proposition for most small-market owners. Money aside, saving the miles on Roy's knees wouldn't hurt either.

Blazers owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, however, has dealt with serious health problems in recent years and is clearly in spend-big, win-now mode. He would cut a check tomorrow for five times his team's total salary cap if it meant a shot at the NBA Finals, no questions asked. It's difficult to imagine a financial enticement that would make it worth Allen's while to take a year off. 

Aside from Roy, the other big question is center Greg Oden. Missing an entire NBA season doesn't play in Oden's favor, as he hasn't taken the court for an NBA game since December 2009. A lost season means his layoff would extend nearly three full years to October 2012. That's a long, long time to be away from basketball. Complicating that further for the Blazers is the fact that Oden is a restricted free agent this summer. The Blazers would retain matching rights on Oden if a season was lost but they would be forced to offer him an extension without being able to see whether he recovers fully to be able to take the court and, more importantly, withstand injury once he's out there. Oden could command a mid-level type of offer on the open market, which would be a major investment for Portland, because the Blazers have already committed to nearly $80 million in salary for next season, with contracts to Roy, forwards LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace and guard Wesley Matthews already on the books into the future. Without another center on their roster who is in their long-term plans, though, the Blazers wouldn't have a choice. They'd have to pay up. Given that situation, you want as much information as possible; a lost season would mean no information.

Finally, the Blazers have a big question at the starting point guard position. His name is Raymond Felton, and he was acquired in a draft day trade for previous point guard Andre Miller. Felton is in a contract year and hasn't played meaningful minutes with any of his current teammates, except for a stint in Charlotte with Wallace. Felton will require a good-sized contract extension next summer as well and the Blazers would surely like to see how he gels with their core, particularly Aldridge, before they commit to him long-term. Without any starting quality options on the roster, they would again find themselves stuck in a corner, forced to do what it takes to retain Felton without a readily available back-up plan.

To boil it down: the Blazers have enough questions without a lost season. Missing a full season would simply create an array of complications and made some tough roster decisions that much more difficult and, potentially, costly. 

DENVER Nuggets

Sure, the Denver Nuggets lost franchise forward Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks, but they did an excellent job of stripping their roster down to allow for a quick bounceback rebuilding effort. The Nuggets, somewhat like the Thunder, are in a financial position where their salary cap situation makes it more advantageous for next season to take place unhindered. The Nuggets currently don't have a truly horrible contract on their books, although the mid-level deal for Al Harrington and the $15 million or so left to be paid to Chris Andersen over the next three years are regrettable. Indeed, the Nuggets have committed to less than $40 million in salary for next season, pending a potentially major financial commitment to big man Nene, who has decided to test the free agency waters, and a decision on guard J.R. Smith.

The biggest risks for Denver would be missing out on the value of point guard Ty Lawson on his rookie deal and managing whatever concerns might arise about Denver's ability to use its salary cap flexibility to continue work on its rebuilding situation. Most analysts believe teams with salary cap room will be in a position of strength, regardless of how the new CBA shakes out, so perhaps that uncertainty is more of an annoyance than a true concern. 

The Nuggets have a lot of questions. How will they spend their money? Who will they bring back? Who will they let go? Are the players under contract currently good enough to compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference next year or is it better to continue slashing and burning for another season? These are good questions to have because they all point to one fundamental truth: The Nuggets have flexibility thanks to their young, cheap assets. The worst case scenario is that Nuggets fans have to wait a year to watch a promising, athletic upstart group entertain. That's not too bad. 
 
UTAH Jazz

If I'm the Jazz, I'm totally cool with taking a year off. A lost season means that Utah would save $14 million owed to Al Jefferson, $10.9 million owed to Mehmet Okur, $9.3 million owed to Devin Harris and $8.1 million owed to Paul Millsap. While Millsap is probably worth his number, the other three certainly aren't worth theirs, especially on a team that lost its foundational identity when it shipped franchise point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets at the trade deadline.

Right now, Utah's finances are pretty tight, with $61.5 million already committed for 2011-2012. Look ahead just one year, though, and that number drops to $48.7 million. To make things even nicer, Jefferson, Harris and Millsap will all be expiring that season. The Jazz will be poised to take advantage of their new-found flexibility, keeping the parts that fit (probably only Millsap) and dispensing with the rest.

The biggest risk in a cancelled season for Utah would be the lost development for younger guys like Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and 2011 first-round picks Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. In Favors, they have a potential franchise forward who needs to start enjoying a loose leash so he can blossom into the player the Jazz expect him to be. Forcing him to take a year off does him no good and, depending on how he responds, could do him some harm. Kanter, meanwhile, looks like an even bigger risk on paper because he was forced to sit out last year at Kentucky, his only year at the college level, due to eligibility issues and because he hasn't yet tasted the NBA game. A lost season would mean two full years away from competitive basketball, not an ideal situation for someone the Jazz selected with the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft. As for Hayward and Burks, they are lesser concerns. Both have shown promise and clearly have room for improvement. Losing a year wouldn't be critical, but it would be better for them individually if it could be prevented.

On balance, the financial rewards seem to outweigh the development risks for the Jazz.

Salary numbers courtesy of StoryTeller's Contracts.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 11:52 am
 

Nene? David West? No, the Nets want Humphries

Posted by Matt Moore

The New Jersey Nets need to get good, fast. They've got pretty much a year (and probably a lockout-shortened one at that, if they get even one) to convince Deron Williams to stick around for the move to Brooklyn. Which means they need steep upgrades in player personnel inside that year. Whenever the lockout ends, they're going to have options to improve their frontcourt. They'll have the resources and market to attract players like Nene or David West to play next to Brook Lopez (and teach him to rebound). 

But instead the Nets are targeting Kris Humphries to return. And in actuality, it's a pretty smart move. From the New York Daily News
Despite two veteran power forwards becoming free agents, the Nets are still targeting Kris Humphries as their starting 4, according to a league source.

Denver’s Nene, 28, and New Orleans’ David West, 30, have been linked to the Nets after opting out of their respective contracts. But Humphries, 26, is both younger and likely cheaper than the pair of proven vets.

It seems the Nets, who are primed to have one of the best cap-space situations once the CBA is negotiated, want to maintain their flexibility for a trade or for the heralded 2012 free-agent class, which includes Dwight Howard.
via Source: Kris Humphries remains Nets target, even with D. West and Nene on the market | New York Daily News.

Humphries' value has been inflated a bit. Some people actually thought he played so well last season that he averaged a 20-10. In reality, his per-36 numbers only yielded a 13-14, but he did shoot 53 percent from the field, and had a 17.8 PER, good for second on the team among players who played at least five games, just behind Lopez.

Humphries is young, cheap, and unheralded, so he'll likely be a value pick-up versus Nene and David West, both of whom are older and will cost through the nose. Yes, Humphries is best known as being a Kardashian fiance, but he can actually play. The Nets are well-positioned to make smart moves that aren't knee-jerk.

Or, you know, to not do what the Knicks have done pretty much for the past ten years.  
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com