Stop the presses, folks, because we've got some interesting news regarding the New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets. According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the team is basically planning to let rebounding machine Kris Humphries walk this offseason and use the $8 million saved to lure one of two power forwards to the team: Kevin Garnett or Ersan Ilyasova.
The team's idea of pursuing Garnett is certainly interesting, as he has been a staple for the Boston Celtics the past few seasons and would bring a great deal of playoff and championship experience to the young Nets. On top of that, maybe he could convince point guard Deron Williams to remain with the Nets as they move to Brooklyn.
Yet, even if the Nets do manage to obtain Garnett, it's not going to do anything on the Williams front. Sure, the Big Ticket is talented, but he's not talented enough to convince a top point guard like Williams stay, and here's why.
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov (pictured) is determined to turn the Nets into winners, particularly with the move to Brooklyn. Yet, it's hard to do that with one A-lister and a bunch of role players, thus the team's potential pursuit of Garnett.
Still, no matter how you look at it and even if Williams does stay, the Nets are going to be a rebuilding project for at least two more years. This year alone they have gone just 19-35, and despite a three-game winning streak are barely above last place in the Atlantic Division.
On top of that, Garnett has spent the past five seasons with the Celtics, where he's used to winning. He may be plagued by injuries, but there's no way he'll turn down an already-winning culture to join a rebuilding project.
As I just mentioned, Garnett has a pretty sweet deal in Boston. He has a great coach in Doc Rivers, fans who love him and probably the NBA's most underrated point guard in Rajon Rondo.
The Celtics have made the playoffs every year he's been with them and he's had two trips to the NBA Finals, so there's a certain amount of winning to which he's accustomed. Given that, he has no reason to even go to the Nets and help them convince Williams to stay.
The way I see it, Williams is going to want to go to a balanced team that is the perfect mix of veterans and young talent. Right now, the Nets are young talent with Williams as the sole A-list veteran on the team, and he's already expressed frustration with some of his teammates.
Sure, Garnett would be a good veteran to add to the Nets' mix, but he's still way past the point of where he can be a decent locker room presence and leader. I'm not knocking his skills whatsoever, but he hasn't played a full 82-game season since the 2004-2005 season and is going to turn 36 next month.
Yes, Williams will surely want to play with some veterans, but not over-the-hill ones such as Garnett.
Ever since he joined the Celtics, Garnett has been used to playing with Rajon Rondo, a point guard with a pass-first approach. Nothing against Williams, but he's a scoring point guard first and a passer second. Yes, he had 20 assists in a game on March 30, but he also shot 2-of-13 from the field, so that alone exposes his approach to the game.
By bringing in someone like Garnett, the Nets front office and head coach Avery Johnson will surely want him to start passing the ball more and let his scoring numbers take a hit. Given how Williams probably drove Jerry Sloan to resign from the Utah Jazz and was soon after traded to the Nets, I don't think that the former Illinois star will take too kindly to that.
Thus, he'll walk.
Here we have a case of simple mathematics. The Nets will only be able to offer Garnett about $8 million this offseason, a heavy discount from the $21.2 million he's earning right now.
Sure, he'll have to take a discount of some sort on his next contract, but I highly doubt he'll be willing to take one as great as that. Thus, if he's not even on the team, he'll certainly have a hard time keeping Williams there.
This could all change come the summer, but if there's one thing I've learned in watching the NBA for 20 years, it's that money talks. In this case, Garnett will be far from an exception.