Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press
No piece of the Nets' 2014-15 lineup is as unclear as their backcourt. Much was made of Brooklyn's starting backcourt this past season, a two-headed monster that featured Deron Williams' offensive playmaking and Shaun Livingston's suffocating defense.
However, both players are far from a guarantee to be on the court come opening night in October. Deron Williams recently expressed his frustration with the Nets, leading to the obligatory wild speculation about a potential trade that would send him elsewhere.
And even if the Nets do retain Williams, the team can't be sure as to his abilities. Williams will undergo surgery on both ankles Tuesday, adding even more uncertainty around a declining star coming off a mediocre postseason performance.
Livingston, on the other hand, will probably be wearing a different uniform next season. The Nets, financially hamstrung by their engorged salary cap, can only offer him, at best, about a $10-million, three-year contract.
Livingston, who proved in 2013-14 that he has recovered fully from a gruesome 2007 knee injury, will receive great attention from team's looking for a legitimate two-way guard. Nets fans may cling to the hope that Livingston has grown attached to the borough, but the truth is that he will find more money (and maybe a better title shot) elsewhere.
The Nets may be be able to internally solve part of this problem. If the team returns to a more conventional lineup, Joe Johnson could shift from the small forward to the shooting guard, with Marcus Thornton (one year left under contract) acting as a viable backup.
Still, the Nets will need to pick up a point guard who is not only capable of being a backup but ready to take the reins of the offense if Williams' ankles don't hold up. The Nets won't be able to pay some of the better point guards who will be available this summer, so Brooklyn will have to go hunting in the bargain bin.
A trio of veterans—Luke Ridnour, Ramon Sessions and Rodney Stuckey—should grab the Nets attention. None of these three players can singlehandedly run an offense, but each would fill the Brooklyn's growing backcourt hole.