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NBA Free Agency 2012: Who Will Stay, Who Will Go for the Brooklyn Nets?

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIMay 3, 2012

NBA Free Agency 2012: Who Will Stay, Who Will Go for the Brooklyn Nets?

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    The 2012 NBA season is over for the New Jersey Nets and the move to Brooklyn is official.

    As the Nets enter free agency, only four players are currently under contract. More importantly, four of their franchise's most valuable players could potentially be leaving: center Brook Lopez, forward Gerald Wallace, power forward Kris Humphries and, of course, Deron Williams.

    It's important to find clarity in this time of uncertainty, which is why I've created a fool-proof guide to who will go and who will stay. Just don't expect the drastic changes you were hoping for.

Armon Johnson, UFA

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    Season Averages: 9 GP, 13.2 MPG, 12.93 PER, 5.2 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.6 SPG

    There hasn't been much said about the second-year point guard's play with the Nets, but his low-cost and high-reward value will not be overlooked. While this is solely speculative, it's hard to believe the Nets will pass up on bringing in depth while hardly touching their salary cap.

    His high-quality play toward the end of the season, in which he received multiple double-digit minute outings, should be enough to secure a position for 2013.

    Offseason Destination: Brooklyn Nets

Brook Lopez, RFA

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    2011 Season Averages: 19.33 PER, 20.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.5 BPG

    When a player positively acknowledges his current team moving to a new city, there's a good chance he'll be on board for the long-haul. When that player claims that he's been waiting for this moment to occur, it's almost a shoe-in.

    According to the Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York, Brook Lopez has uttered the phrase that proves such a thing.

    “Hello Brooklyn,” center Brook Lopez said. “I’ve been waiting a long time to say that. It’s very exciting.”

    While some Nets fans will be discouraged by Lopez's return, mainly in part to his one-dimensional game and inability to grab rebounds, his presence is important. He's a popular face around the league and is certain to boost ticket sales. The only question will be whether or not he can remain healthy.

    Offseason Destination: Brooklyn Nets

Damion James, UFA

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    Season Averages: 7 GP, 24.3 MPG, 6.17 PER, 4.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 1.0 SPG

    In 2011, Damion James missed 57 games by virtue of a foot injury. In 2012, those woes continued, and he spent 59 games sidelined with an injury to that same foot.

    Re-signing a player who has missed 116 games in two years just isn't an option. Evidence is the fact that the Nets did not extend his rookie contract.

    Offseason Destination: Free Agency

DeShawn Stevenson, UFA

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    Season Averages: 18.8 MPG, 4.33 PER, 2.9 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 28% 3PT

    According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Deron Williams' best friend on the New Jersey Nets was none other than DeShawn Stevenson. Also reported by Bondy is the former NBA champion's desire to remain apart of the Nets' organization.

    It's speculated that signing Stevenson could be a way to open the floodgates for Deron Williams' potential re-signing. As ESPN New York's Mike Mazzeo reports, however, the Nets would potentially have $8 million in cap room should they retain the services of Brook Lopez, D-Will and Gerald Wallace.

    Is damaging that cap space with one of the league's most inefficient players worth making Deron Williams happy? You better believe it is.

    Offseason Destination: Brooklyn Nets

Gerald Green, UFA

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    Season Averages: 15.88 PER, 12.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.9 SPG

    The Brooklyn Nets need someone who can bring life to the Barclays Center. Someone who can take over the highlight reels and bring attention to the team, whether winning or losing.

    Someone like Blake Griffin.

    Fortunately for the Nets, there's a player named Gerald Green who has rivaled Griffin on the highlight reels. And if loyalty means anything, he's very likely to re-sign with the team who gave him a chance out of the D-League.

    As Colin Stephenson of The Star Ledger reports, Billy King plans to make sure Green reprises that role for the Nets for quite some time.

    Offseason Destination: Brooklyn Nets

Gerald Wallace, UFA

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    Season Averages: 15.98 PER, 13.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.5 SPG

    As reported by Kurt Helin of NBC Sports, Gerald Wallace will turn down his player option and test free agency. According to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York, Nets general manager Billy King will waste no time in offering Wallace a multi-year deal.

    Considering the Nets gave up a lottery pick in a franchise-altering, rich-in-talent draft class to acquire Wallace, it's hard to imagine they'll let him walk away. Expect Wallace to receive that multi-year deal that Billy King has promised and become a franchise cornerstone for the next few seasons.

    Offseason Destination: Brooklyn Nets

Jordan Farmar, Player Option

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    Season Averages: 39 GP, 21.3 MPG, 17.46 PER, 10.4 PPG, 3.3 APG, 1.6 RPG

    While news on a decision has yet to break, it's hard to imagine Farmar not returning. He's had the best individual success of his career and will finally return to a major city with the move to Brooklyn.

    Unless he feels he can return to the Lakers in some way, I can't imagine him passing up $4 million to play another year with the Nets.

    Offseason Destination: Brooklyn Nets

Kris Humphries, UFA

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    Season Averages: 17.98 PER, 13.8 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 0.8 SPG

    According to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York, Kris Humphries would like to stay with the Nets as they make their move to Brooklyn. Subsequently, Mazzeo also reports that the Nets will be targeting Ersan Ilyasova, Kevin Garnett and Ryan Anderson in free agency.

    How likely is it that Humphries is available as a fallback option? Slim.

    Fortunately for Humphries and company, Billy King sees him in his vision of a 2012 playoff appearance. Humphries will return.

    Offseason Destination: Brooklyn Nets

Shelden Williams, UFA

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    Season Averages: 22.0 MPG, 11.94 PER, 4.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 0.7 BPG

    Believe it or not, there was a point in the 2012 NBA season where Shelden Williams was a nightly double-double threat. Seriously, Shelden Williams.

    Unfortunately, he also fell victim to injuries that sidelined him for eight games toward the end of the season. While his contract does not ask for much, there are more than a handful of young players at his position who will demand the same, low cost.

    Speculative projection.

    Offseason Destination: Free Agency

Sundiata Gaines, UFA

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    Season Averages: 13.9 MPG, 15.07 PER, 5.1 PPG, 2.2 APG, 1.9 RPG, 1.0 SPG

    In 2012, Sundiata Gaines was second to just Chris Paul in terms of steals per 48 minutes. He also averaged 14.5 points, 6.5 assists, five rebounds and 1.5 steals in the Nets' near-upsets of the Miami Heat and New York Knicks with just one week remaining in the season.

    That just won't be enough to see the former Georgia Bulldog return.

    While the Nets would certainly benefit from having a New York City native on the roster, Tim Bontemps of the New York Post speculates that Gaines has fallen too far out of favor to make a return. An unfortunate turn for the former high school star from Archbishop Molloy.

    Offseason Destination: Free Agency

Deron Williams, UFA

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    Season Averages: 20.34 PER, 21.0 PPG, 8.7 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.2 SPG

    The moment you've all been waiting for.

    According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Deron Williams is leaning toward re-signing with the Brooklyn Nets. Bondy also acknowledged that "there's still a lot that could happen."

    Nevertheless, this is news that can only inspire hope in the hearts of Nets fans worldwide. Williams is a legitimate franchise player and would offer the Nets a true poster child for their brand new franchise. Just don't forget how important it is to Williams for the Nets to build a winner.

    For the Nets to re-sign Williams, they'll need to act fast.

    ESPN's Mike Mazzeo reports that Williams does not want to play in the Olympics without knowing what NBA team he'll be with in 2012. Considering Olympic training begins in July, that gives the Nets approximately two months to put together a solid enough plan to keep Williams in town.

    I'm not sure that Billy King's plan to re-sign the same group of players who failed to make the playoffs in 2012 is the right way to do so. Thank the basketball Gods that Brooklyn is so appealing.

    Offseason Destination: Brooklyn Nets

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