By Cory Bernstein
Today, I was going to cover the immediate affects of the new CBA on the Nets. However, Devin Kharpertian wrote a very thorough piece for Nets Are Scorching on how the new labor agreement affects the Nets, and I recommend this to all Net fans. If you're too lazy to read it, here's a quick recap.
1. The Nets can offer Deron Williams one more years and 27 million more dollars than any other team- this is good, because it certainly doesn't hurt to be able to offer our star point guard much more money than any other team.
2. There's an amnesty clause- See ya Travis Outlaw! The Nets benefit more than most teams from the amnesty clause because of Travis Outlaw's horrible contract. This gives the Nets seven million more dollars to spend on Deron Williams or a supporting cast to help him.
3. The Nets have to spend fifteen million dollars between now and Christmas Day- This number will probably climb to twenty two million in the next few weeks (assuming Travis Outlaw gets amnestied). Because of the new provision in the CBA saying all teams must have 85% of the salary cap used, Mikhail Prokhorov will have a very expensive Christmas shopping season.
The Nets have six players from last season who will be free agents. Throw in the fact that Outlaw is going to get amnestied, and Bojan Bogdanovic will be playing in Europe, the Nets only have nine players under contract this year, eight if you don't count Stephen Graham. About four of that twenty two million dollars will be spent on MarShon Brooks and Jordan Williams, so eighteen million dollars must be spent on three players. These are the Nets biggest needs are the following:
A defensive-minded wing
Personally, I think it will be a poor idea to re-sign Kris Humphries. Without the urge to impress his Kim Kardashian and to play for a new contract, Humphries will have a down year. Last year was an aberration for Hump, and although I like him, it would not be in the Nets' best interest to let him go. Without further ado, here is the first free agent target. If you’d like, you can scroll below (and go to the second page), to see more free agent analysis from before the lockout. Also, remember that some of the best free agents in this off-season will come through the amnesty clause. Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer, David Lee, and Brandon Roy (who has the best chance of this group to be waived) could all be amnestied, and they would all be very interesting targets for the Nets.
Free Agent: Reggie Evans
In a year where the Nets are forced to spend twenty million dollars, there are very good players in this year's free agent class. The Nets need to keep their priorities straight in this shortened free agency, knowing the primary goal of the immediate is to re-sign Deron Williams (and have Dwight Howard join him). Despite being forced to spend twenty million dollars, Billy King needs to steer clear of big contracts that last for more than a year or two, or a D-Will led dream team will never come to fruition.
That's where Reggie Evans comes in. A thirty one year old who played for Toronto last season, Evans had a herculean effort last year on the boards, averaging a ridiculous 11.5 rebounds in less than twenty seven minutes per game. He unfortunately got hurt last season, having a Jones fracture in his right foot that caused him to miss fifty two games. This may have been a blessing in disguise, because Evans will surely come on the cheap in the coming weeks.
This man can rebound the ball like few in the NBA, and play excellent defense as a power forward. Evans has the offensive skill of an elephant, averaging less that five points per game shooting 41% from the field. However his excellent defense and rebounding compliments Brook Lopez well, as Brook can score like no other center in the NBA, but plays terrible defense.
Is Reggie Evans the long-term answer at power forward? No. But, Reggie Evans could be a valuable piece for the Nets this season and in coming years. His incredible rebounding would help the Nets in the post-Humphries era, and can be a mentor to Brook Lopez. As a one-year stopgap or a backup playing twenty minutes a game (with a guy like Jonas Jerekbo starting), he could be invaluable. Reggie Evans can do one thing very well, rebound, and this could help the Nets, who were 17th amongst all NBA teams in total rebounds. The Nets already have their superstar, and to win make deep runs into the playoffs a team needs good role players, which Reggie Evans is.
He is not going to score more than five points a game, but his defense and rebounding would be invaluable to a team that had immense difficulties stopping big men last year. My advice to Billy King would be to take a cheap flier on Reggie Evans and reap the benefits.
Get more great New Jersey Netes analysis over at Brooklyn-Bound.