NBA Draft: New Jersey Nets, Looking to Land LeBron, Steal the Show
Midway through a disappointing season, the Nets traded away one of the best point guards not just of my time, but of All-Time.
New Jersey traded away Jason Kidd to the Mavericks for a first-round pick and young guard Devin Harris. Early today, before the draft, the Nets traded away another one of New Jersey's "Big Three," when they sent Richard Jefferson away to the Bucks for young forward Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons.
I feel like these moves are a clear sign to me as a fan that they are throwing away the next two seasons, in order to clear up cap room to make the big push to bring LeBron James to the team.
There has been a lot of talk about this move for the last year or so, as the Nets have gone nowhere in the East, and the team has gotten older. The next move might just be a Vince Carter trade. But I am not sure whicch team would want a 31-year-old shooting guard, who is due to make a ton of money over the next three seasons.
The LeBron plan was set into motion when the new part owner of the Nets, rap superstar Jay-Z, said publicly that he wants to move the team to Brooklyn, New York and that he wants LeBron James to be a part of the move.
As we speak, the draft is finishing up and I think that the Nets couldn't have had a better one. As I was watching, I knew who was going 1-2-3, but Westbrook was a bit of a surprise at number four. I figured Love would go at five, so I starting the countdown, hoping no one would take Lopez.
No one did, and the 7'1", 258-pound center out of Stanford fell right into the Nets' lap.
I love this pick. This kid brings a mean streak to the Nets, something they haven't really had out of a big man since Derrick Coleman. Their next pick, the 21st pick from the Mavs, was the Pac-10's leading scorer from last year, Cal's Ryan Anderson.
I don't know much about him—but from what I saw, this kid can flat-out shoot the ball, which is something the Nets need.
As I was watching the second round, I noticed the Chris Douglas-Roberts was still out there. So again I sat there and yelled at my TV during every pick, hoping that another outstanding player would fall into the Nets lap.
And wouldn't you know it? After the 39th pick, he was still there. Give the Nets a lot of credit—it didn't take them very long to make the pick, which must mean they were waiting and hoping like I was to get this kid.
I think that getting Lopez 10th was a steal, but getting Douglas-Roberts with the 40th pick was a crime. He was the best player on the best team in the country for the first half of the season, until Rose grew up and took over. Roberts was a first team All-American, and averaged 18 points a game.
All and all, I am now looking forward to watching the Nets over the next two years, just to see these kids grow. I really feel that even if they get rid of Vince, this team might still be still be able to contend in a very weak Eastern Conference. But I am still prepared for a 25-win season next year.
Do I think they will get LeBron? I think its too early to tell. It is still all about the money, and he would be playing in the biggest market in the country. The Cavs would be crazy to let LeBron get away, but it might not be their choice.
I think if James is to go anywhere he might end up playing across the river for the Knicks—granted they clear $100 off the cap in the next two years. It should be fun to see.
On a final note, I know some of you people watching the Draft might be wondering just who the Kings picked with their 12th overall pick. I want to say the Kings got a good player with tons of potential in Jason Thompson from Rider. He averaged 20 points a game in his last two seasons.
I also wanted to say congrats to him as he is representing Burlington County, New Jersey. And to all of you Kings fans who don't know who he is, let me tell you first hand—I have played against Jason and this kid can play.
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