I don’t care about the billionaire owner and the new building and Brooklyn — if you are coming off a 12-win season, free agents will not be flocking to you.
It was no surprise the Nets struck out on LeBron James and the other top-of-the-class free agents. So the Nets set out on a short-term strategy — get better with guys like Troy Murphy — while adding longer-term building blocks like Anthony Morrow and Jordan Farmar. Add them to the core of Brook Lopez, Derrick Favors and Devin Harris and the Nets improve now.
But the real goal is to keep salary cap flexibility for future years, said coach Avery Johnson to the New York Times.
“When we supposedly struck out on the big guns, we feel we hit a triple with our Plan B,” Johnson said.
“You look at free agents next summer and then there’s an even bigger class in 2012 right when we’ll be on our way to Brooklyn and hopefully at that point our team will be more somewhat established than we are now. We’ll have the cap flexibility, we’ll still have a ton of draft picks and hopefully, at that point, we’ll be even more attractive for free agents and we’ll be at the top of the class.”
Waiting for 2012 was always the more realistic option for the Nets, if not the most fun one. It’s certainly a tough sell. But right now this team is all about Brooklyn, and being a force when they get there. And it is on a path that could lead them there.