If owner Mikhail Prokhorov truly believes the Brooklyn Nets are “one more good player away” from being “a really strong team,” he and general manager Billy King must consider making a trade this offseason.
Prior to the first-round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls, Prokhorov said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on April 19 that his team needed “one more good player, and we need time to make a really strong team," according to CBSSports.com.
Brooklyn’s biggest trade assets are future first-round draft picks, Kris Humphries’ $12 million expiring contract and MarShon Brooks’ rookie-scale salary. King could use some variation of this package to lure a team looking to shed an inflated contract to get under the salary cap.
The general consensus among Nets fans is that the team needs to upgrade the power forward position.
If the Nets are serious about upgrading the roster this offseason, they must consider making a trade for Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer. Boozer has two years remaining on his contract, and is due to make $15.3 million next season.
King might consider putting together a package that includes Humphries, Brooks and a future first-round draft pick to lure the Bulls into trading the 31-year-old Boozer.
Brooklyn has just two more seasons to accomplish Prokhorov’s plan of winning a title by 2015. Acquiring Boozer would turn the team into an instant championship contender.
The Nets got very little offensive production from the power forward spot in 2012-13. Humphries was the starter until coach Avery Johnson was fired after just 28 games. Interim coach P.J. Carlesimo chose to start Reggie Evans who averaged just 4.5 points per game and shot 50 percent from the free-throw line.
With starting small forward Gerald Wallace in a slump, the Nets offense struggled to space the floor. Opposing defenses were able to sag off of Wallace and Evans in order to double-team Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez.
The addition of Boozer could solve this issue. The 6’9” Duke University product possesses an excellent mid-range game and shot 73 percent from the charity stripe while averaging 16.2 points per game in 2012-13.
The Nets also wouldn’t lose much rebounding production with Boozer in the starting lineup. He ranked fourth in the NBA among power forwards in rebounds per game (9.8) last season and averaged 10.6 boards in the Round 1 playoff series against Brooklyn.
Inserting Boozer into the starting lineup would also allow the Nets to move Reggie Evans to the second unit where he would provide a nice complement to backup center Andray Blatche. Evans led the NBA in 20-rebound games and rebounds per 48 minutes last season, but would serve the Nets best in a more limited bench role.
Trading for Boozer also keeps alive the possibility for a Jerry Sloan-Deron Williams-Carlos Boozer reunion. Sloan, who told Comcast SportsNet Northwest he'd listen if the Nets called, coached Williams and Boozer together with the Utah Jazz for five seasons.
Boozer and Williams were a force to be reckoned with in Utah. They were a lethal pick-and-roll tandem and could be just as deadly playing together in Brooklyn.
Boozer will make $15.3 million in 2013-14 and $16.8 million in 2014-15 (via HoopsWorld.com). He’s been great for the Bulls, but the team could be tempted to shed his expensive contract for more salary flexibility. Additionally, young star Taj Gibson is waiting in the wings and appears primed for a starting role.
The Nets spent nearly $330 million revamping their roster last summer. They are well over the salary cap and deep in the luxury tax (via HoopsWorld.com). But Prokhorov is the 69th richest man in the world. He’s worth $13 billion, so clearly he’s got enough money to spend. The Nets may be in financial trouble, but Prokhorov has shown he’s willing to spend whatever it takes to build a title contender.
Prokhorov believes the Nets are one more player away. If that’s the case, Brooklyn must consider bringing in Boozer as a final piece to the puzzle.
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