The Blueprint: Rebuilding the Brooklyn Nets

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AP Photo/Matt Slocum

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

When the Brooklyn Nets traded their first round picks in 2014, 2016, 2018 as well as, the right to swap picks in 2017, it is safe to say that the management group did not expect the team to be in the position it is in today. Although Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce would play huge roles in leading Brooklyn to the playoffs, the Nets were never able to overcome the three-headed beast of the Miami Heat. After just one season with the Nets, Paul Pierce would sign with Washington in free agency. Kevin Garnett on the other hand, ended up struggling with injuries and, eventually being traded back to where it all began, Minnesota. Jason Terry, another member of the deal with Boston, also struggled as a member of the Nets.

Currently, the Brooklyn Nets sit at the bottom of the NBA with just nine wins. For a team that once had so much potential, it quite honestly, has been a sad turn of events. Previously located in New Jersey, it feels as though the Nets are a lifetime removed from its glory days lead by Jason Kidd and Vince Carter. There are however, a few ways the Nets can solve their problems. Keep in mind, this rebuild will not be completed overnight.

5. Use the D-League to its advantage

2K Sports Classic

2K Sports Classic

Although Brooklyn may not have control over its first round pick until 2019, they have another resource to select talent from, the NBA Development League. There are a handful of players all of which, went undrafted in various NBA Drafts. Quinn Cook, Axel Toupane, and, Yogi Ferrell, to name just a few, are all players who went undrafted, made their mark in the D-League, and, earned 10 Day NBA Contracts.

Speaking of Yogi Ferrell, Brooklyn actually did bring him in at the beginning of the year however, opted not to extended his 10 Day Contract which, ended up being a huge mistake. It might be time for the Nets to face the facts, the team is not going anywhere anytime soon. Bringing in players from the D-League may be the Nets best option of maybe, finding a diamond in the rough.

4. Make use of the draft picks they do have

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After recently trading Bojan Bogdanovic to the Washington Wizards, Brooklyn actually did acquire a 2017 lottery protected, first round pick. The good news for now, is that the Wizards pick does in fact fall outside of the lottery. If there is one thing certain about the 2017 NBA Draft Class, it is that nothing is certain. A player selected with the first overall pick could prove to be just as good a player selected with the 20th overall pick. In this years Draft Class, there is not a generational talent we have seen in recent years.

There certainly are outstanding prospects with the potential to make a big impact in the league however, there is not a Karl-Anthony Towns or even, a Ben Simmons in this year's class. With a deep, hard to predict draft on the horizon, Brooklyn should look to use all of their draft selections which in turn, will help cushion their rebuild. General Manager Sean Marks is a product of the San Antonio Spurs system which, everyone knows, has an eye for talent. After finally acquiring a pick Nets fans should be excited about the possibilities.

3. Use money their wisely and, to their advantage

The big  Firework of United States dollars

The big Firework of United States dollars

With just $74,155,730 in active cap Brooklyn has the NBA’s second-lowest payroll. This coming offseason, management will have $47,844,260 under the luxury tax to spend. Brooklyn may not be a winner yet however, there are many things Nets management can offer Free-Agents. Brooklyn is a great city to live in, Barclays Center is a young and, beautiful arena and of course, the team has the money to spend. With past moves aside, the Nets will surely be very cautious of how they spend their money.

As previously noted, Brooklyn probably not be a winner anytime soon which, means that management probably will not spend that much in Free-Agency. On the other hand, there are always impact free agents that come with a lower price tag. For the Nets, Free-Agency should not be about chasing a superstar. Instead, Free-Agency should be about finding the best pieces that will add to their rebuild which, will not be completed in just one year.

2. Protect 2019 First Round Pick

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When 2019 finally comes around the Brooklyn Nets will finally own full control of their first-round draft pick. By this point, if Nets management is smart about how they manage their assets, the rebuild should be coming along nicely. Although the team will not yet be a competitor in the Eastern Conference they will however, be competitors at the NBA Draft. Teams will try and pry the pick away but, management should opt to finally, after years of waiting and, missing out on many potential franchise prospects, select and groom a new franchise superstar.

The current project top selections in the 2019 Draft are, Moses Brown: Center, project second overall selection and, has a pro comparison to Anthony Davis as well as, Marvin Bagley III: Center, projected first overall selection, pro-comparisons to Kevin Garnett and, is considered to possibly being “the top prospect of this generation.” If you are a Brooklyn Nets fan then the 2019 NBA Draft is one to get excited for.

1. Trade Brook Lopez

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Playing for a team that is always changing, Brook Lopez has seen it all. Lopez was drafted by the then New Jersey Nets and has spent his entire career with the franchise. At 28 years old Brooklyn may be running out of time to trade their franchise center and, acquire key pieces in its ongoing rebuild. It is very easy however, to see why Brooklyn would not trade him. Brook Lopez has played for nine seasons as a member of the New Jersey/Brooklyn franchise and has been incredibly loyal. As well, on a team without a big name star, Lopez possess name value which in turn puts people in seats and sells merchandise.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Currently, Lopez is averaging 20.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and, a career high 2.6 assists. With Lopez still at his peak, the window of opportunity for Brooklyn to trade him is rapidly passing. A potential return for the Nets could include a first round pick and a mid tier player.

The return value has definitely decreased from over a year ago. Partly due to age and, partly due to the fact that Lopez will be an Unrestricted Free Agent at season's end next year. If Brooklyn is truly serious about their rebuild than trading Lopez is the next move. The Nets owe it to themselves and, to their franchise cornerstone to let him have one more chance to try and win it all.

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