NBA Free Agency: New Jersey Nets Must Sign Richard Jefferson

Rachel MarcusCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2010

CLEVELAND - MAY 16:  Richard Jefferson #24 of the New Jersey Nets gets a shot off over LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2007 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 16, 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio. New Jersey won Game Five 83-72 but trail the series two games to three. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In the aftermath of the LeBron James debacle, the New Jersey Nets have one option—to move on.

And in moving on, they must evaluate where they stand and how they can improve.

At first look, the Nets look like the biggest losers of free agency.

They didn't get any big names. At least the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks, who both missed out on LeBron too, grabbed Carlos Boozer and Amar'e Stoudemire, respectively.

And who have the Nets grabbed? Travis Outlaw and Johan Petro. Hey, they had to do something with all that LeBron money, right?

So basically, the Nets currently stand at ground zero, similar to where they stood last year. Except this year, they've added two new guys.

Hopefully, Derrick Favors and Damion James can make us forget about LeBron, or even Yi Jianlian and Chris Douglas-Roberts for that matter.

With all of that being said, I think the Nets need to do one more thing this offseason.

Besides saving some of their money for a potential lockout (Heat won't have any!), they need to sign a player that will bring a little more excitement to Newark than Outlaw and Petro (who I forgot was still in the league).

So, who should they bring in? No, not more athletic trainers.

Here is what they must do—sign Richard Jefferson. Now, I know what you're thinking—that he just had a horrible year with the San Antonio Spurs. But that's only part true.

On paper, Jefferson had a down year with the Spurs. But he just never really fit their system. So why would he fit the Nets, you ask.

After all, Jason Kidd, who supplied RJ with so many of his alley-oops on fastbreaks, is with the Dallas Mavericks.

But RJ can be successful in a second stint with the Nets because they are going to be a little bit of a slow team. But unlike the Spurs, RJ's athleticism can help, not hinder the Nets' slow pace.

He can infuse some excitement into the team and bring back at least some of the glory days of earlier in the decade when his jams were leading the Nets to the NBA Finals.

Now of course, 2010 is no 2003.

RJ is seven years older while the Nets are about 100 years behind their quality of play from 2003.

Yet RJ still has a quick step in his game and can be of help to this Nets team in need of some more talent to go along with Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, who could be the second coming of Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin (albeit a less gifted one).

Still, RJ can play the wing and has range that would complement rising star Lopez.

He can help the team. And he won't be an old guy in the process.

Can he make Nets fans forget about blowing this summer of free agency? No.

But can he ease the pain a little? Absolutely.