Billy King’s tenure as the Nets general manager has been bumpier than Lightning Loops. It has seen more twists and turns than The Beast. In the case of some Nets fans, it has even caused as much uplift-force trauma as El Toro.
If King is lucky in his upcoming offseason endeavors, though, the Nets may become about as attractive as the Coney Island Cyclone.
Much like the timeless rollercoaster, which is conveniently located not far from the team’s brand new home in the Barclays Center, the franchise has an opportunity to become a mainstay in the borough of Brooklyn. With recent reports of Magic center Dwight Howard officially demanding a trade to the Nets, King has an chance to make this hypothetical opportunity a reality.
It is no secret that guard Deron Williams will be soon making his decision as to whether he will remain with the Nets, who he has spent the last season and a half with, or head elsewhere such as Dallas. He may even be bringing a future NBA Hall of Famer wherever he goes. With this selection looming, it is imperative the Nets show initiative in establishing a winning tradition.
No, that winning tradition does not begin with a billionaire owner who can barely attend games. Nor does it begin with acquisitions that cost a guaranteed lottery selection in the draft, or free agent contracts that give injury liabilities four years to prove themselves. Instead, Smallville now needs its Superman.
The 26-year-old Howard is tied to the Magic via an opt-in that he agreed to earlier in the year, which removed his eligibility to became an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Rob Hennigan, who is entering his first season as the general manager of the squad, has a difficult position in front of him.
Appease to the man who made a promise and let him dictate his own fate, or be stern and make the man who missed the final stretch of games in 2012 due to a back injury ride out his contract.
The answer? Appease at all costs. Give the man what he wants. If he does, Mr. King will do the same in return.
The Brooklyn Nets are at a point in their history where there is absolutely no going back. The massive investment made by Mikhail Prokhorov has been well-documented by the public, alongside the massive mishaps that have come with it. It has been a series of constant disappointments for the team since letting go of Jason Kidd in a trade with Dallas in 2008, a team that made the trade in hopes of preventing the inevitable fallouts from rebuilding. Needless to say, they were unsuccessful.
It has been five seasons since the Nets last punched a playoff ticket. Since then, they have sported an overall record of 126-268. The time is now for the “all-in” move that can, and if completed, will restore the franchise. It is King’s job to do whatever it takes to acquire the six-time NBA All-Star.
Some argue against trading a man like Brook Lopez, who has averaged 17.4 points per game over his career. At 7-feet tall, he also only collects 7.5 rebounds per contest. He is expendable.
Others say that they must build towards the future with draft picks. After the failure that was the 2012 NBA Draft for the Nets, there is no time to waste on this front.
If the Nets are unable to make a deal for Howard, they must turn their attention directly to Hawks guard Joe Johnson. Despite the fact that they will be taking on guaranteed money, it would provide a unique opportunity for the Nets to posses a backcourt rivals would fear for years to come.
With the acquisition of just one more superstar, Williams will stay. It may not even take that, but for their to be a future for the franchise, and for them to avoid the same fate with him as they did with Kidd, it is imperative whatever is needed is done to make a splash.
Brooklyn has a unique chance to establish a brand never before seen in the NBA. Ditching the past, and moving on to a state where quick and immense turnarounds seem legitimately possible.
The time to win in the borough is now. The time for King to prove his value to the franchise is now. LeBron James didn’t happen. Carmelo Anthony didn’t happen. If Dwight Howard or Joe Johnson don’t happen, then the championship banner raising ceremony at the Barclays Center will not either.
If it does happen though, big things are on the horizon for the Nets. In regards to a potential deep playoff run, perhaps YES Network play-by-play man Ian Eagle says it best with his signature call.
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