The Brooklyn Nets are a cautionary tale. They are a living, breathing fable of Aesopian proportions — the moral of their story being don’t trade draft picks, don’t overpay players and don’t try and spend your way out of a mess you spent your way into. They’re like someone who pays off their credit card debt with another credit card.
Nineteen games into the 2014-15 season, the Nets are three games below .500, allow 100 ppg while scoring only 96, and have the highest payroll in basketball at $93 million.
They’re in the process of unloading Andrei Kirilenko’s $3.3 million deal to Philadelphia. Step two is trading away the other $90 million. Ha.
Not gonna happen. Here’s why…
Deron Williams has played a full season only once in his career, in 07-08. Since joining the Nets three years ago, he’s missed, on average, 17 games a year due to injury. This offseason he had both ankles operated on.
He’s currently averaging six assists a game, which is 13th in the league. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 26th among point guards, where he also ranks 10th in scoring. In fact, the only major statistical category Deron Williams ranks inside the top 10 among all NBA players is “Number of dollars deposited into an offshore bank account.”
He makes $19,754,465 this year, which is the ninth most in the NBA. That number balloons to $21 million next season, and $22 million the season after that.
Story going online now co-scribed with @NotoriousOHM: ESPN sources say Nets have made D-Will, Brook Lopez & Joe Johnson available via trade
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 9, 2014
It gets worse. Joe Johnson — a shooting guard — averages 15 points a game this season. That’s not some anomaly due to a small sample size; Johnson hasn’t averaged more that 16.1 ppg since coming to Brooklyn, where he’s consistently ranked outside the top 20 in every statistical category.
In his 13th NBA season, Johnson will be paid $23,180,790. Next year he makes $24,894,863.
— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) December 9, 2014
After being drafted 10th in 2008, Brook Lopez did not miss a single game for three whole seasons. That’s 246 consecutive games. Since then, Lopez has been active for 96 games (not counting 2014-15) due to a string of foot injuries that inevitably plague seven-footers as their careers wear on (see: Ming, Yao). He has as many double-doubles this season as Deron Williams: 2.
Lopez makes $15,719,000 in 2014-15, then $16,774,000 in 2015-16, making him the third highest paid center in the NBA behind Dwight Howard and Marc Gasol. He’s currently sitting out the next four games after straining his back.
Going once, twice, twice, twice, anyone, hello?, Bueller?, going twice, threeeeeeee tiiiiimmmmmmmmmeeeesssss…
The Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics currently possess the Nets’ 2016 and 2018 first-round draft picks, which means Brooklyn can’t sweeten any deal by throwing in their 2015, 2017 and/or 2019 picks (the Stepien Rule). It’s take it or leave it. Three of the most underperforming, overpaid players in the NBA. Who wants in?
Photo via Getty