By Craig Fields
Somebody call a doctor because the Brooklyn Nets front office is sick! The Nets front office including, GM Billy King and owner Mikhail Prokhorov, have definitely made moves this offseason that should increase their chances of taking the Eastern Conference crown from the back-to-back NBA Champion, Miami Heat.
In addition to hiring newly appointed Head Coach Jason Kidd as the man to lead this revamped team, the front office also made it a point to go veteran hunting; and did that hunt ever turn up big time. The blockbuster trade with the Celtics included sending Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans and first-round draft picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018 to the rebuilding Celtics. Boston also gets the right to swap first-round picks in 2017. The Nets, on the other hand get Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and D.J. White.
These newcomers will also be joined by the talented but sometime underacheiving, Adrei Kirilenko. The Nets will use their taxpayer mini midlevel exception to bring Kirilenko aboard. It’s a two-year contract with a player option for the second year, a source said. Kirilenko will make $3.1 million in the first year of the deal. Kirilenko who signed a two-year 20 million dollar contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves last offseason, opted out of his second year and 10 million to play for the Nets who are a bonafide contender.
The Nets are projected to have a starting lineup of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez, with a bench that features Shaun Livingston, Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche. Pretty formidable eh? I guarantee you that the Miami Heat think so.
Everything that glitters, however, is not gold. Let’s not forget that just like the Heat, the Nets will need time to gel and work together. It takes time for all of the players to feel comfortable with each other on the court. There is a such thing as chemistry people, and without it you might have that mess that we saw develop in Los Angeles with the Lakers in the 2012-2013 season. Carmelo and Amare are still trying to figure it out in New York and they have actually had time to figure it out. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, while a dynamic duo, at times do not seem as comfortable as a head coach would like for them to be.
Finding chemistry will be particularly tougher for this team because of the new head coach in place, Jason Kidd. He will be have to learn, rather quickly, what it means to be a head coach in a high pressure league like the NBA. All is not lost however as assistant coach and long time head coach, Lawrence Frank, will be there assisting Kidd in his growth.
How key is Frank Lawrence exactly? Well that question was answered on Sunday July 7, 2013 when Kidd made his coaching debut in the Orland Pro Summer League. Upon timeouts being called, Kidd and the rest of the players huddled around Frank as he drew up plays and talked and instructed the players. Even though this was Kidd’s first time at coaching, I can not help but wonder if there might be a case to too many generals in the Brooklyn Nets camp. Kidd, however took it all in stride saying, “This is training ground for everyone — officials, coaches, players,” said Kidd, 40. “We’re all trying to get better. I will lean on my staff. Every one of the coaches will bring something to the table.”
Players and coaches alike need to bring something to the table. No doubt that “something” will need to be hard work, diligence, patience, and maybe most importantly of all, respect. Even though this team looks threatening on paper, without everyone falling in line and complying with Jason Kidd’s system, this teams bark could be worse than its bite. Only time will tell.