The 2012-2013 Brooklyn Nets will be more fun and competitive to watch than the 2011-2012 New Jersey Nets ever were, and that automatically classifies this offseason as a success.
While it appears Dwight Howard won't wear a Nets jersey this upcoming season, their numerous attempts should display management's desire to win now. While Nets fans wish the deal had occurred, the Nets were even juggling the pieces they ended up signing.
The juggling act paid off, though, as what the Nets have left isn't too shabby. The following are grades for the Nets' offseason.
As evidenced by his current role with the USA Basketball Team, Williams is currently one of the best point guards in the world.
For the Nets to be a serious contender in the Eastern Conference and truly start afresh in Brooklyn, they needed Williams to re-sign. He'll continue to be the face of the franchise and likely be the go-to guy for the near future.
While able to carry a team to the playoffs in Utah, it became evident in New Jersey that Williams needed help. Essentially, he needed another All-Star-caliber player to match up with the Eastern front runners.
The Nets didn't get the biggest fish in the sea this offseason, but they did manage to improve their team while not completely destroying future chances.
That said, there was a questionable signing that earned the Nets a lower grade.
The lack of Howard meant the Nets couldn't lose incumbent center Brook Lopez. Unfortunately, he became expensive when the Bobcats showed interest in the restricted free agent. Brooklyn matched and thus will pay the price in the form of four years, $61 million.
Pairing Lopez and Johnson's contracts comes out to quite the spending spree this offseason.
The Nets avoided losing their "cool" factor that will accompany their move to New York City. With the Williams-Johnson duo being the stars, the Nets have positioned themselves well to make mid-level acquisitions in the future.
Also, remember that Howard is still on track for free agency at the end of next season. If he slugs out next season in Orlando, there's no reason why the Nets shouldn't throw their name back into the hat.
Brooklyn will likely look more appealing after this next season. If Williams-Johnson can carry them to a fourth or fifth seed in the East before bowing out to Miami, then Howard will feel more inclined to come to Brooklyn and turn them into a serious championship contender.
The fact is the Nets had everything to gain and everything to lose this offseason. While they didn't get everything they wanted, they maintained and acquired enough (all through free agency) to justify a strong offseason.