As the saying goes, those that forget history are doomed to repeat it. The Nets need only look to the summer of 2011 as what not to do in their off-season.
The Nets lost their date to the prom and hurriedly tried to find a replacement from any place that would have them.
After expectedly losing out on LeBron James, the Nets panicked and signed sixth-man extraordinaire Travis Outlaw to an egregiously insidious 5-year, $35 million contract.
The dance ended in heartbreak.
And just like that, the NBA is offering the Nets a mulligan. David Stern is giving the Nets a do-over. Don’t worry about that one; Better luck next time.
As per Sports Illustrated:
Each team is permitted to waive one player prior to any season of the CBA (only for contracts in place at the inception of the CBA) and have 100 percent of the player’s salary removed from team salary for cap and tax purposes.
Translation: Any contracts signed before the new CBA can be terminated without repercussion before the start of a season.
So now the Nets are in the fortuitous position to waive Outlaw, a player shooting 37.5 percent from the field on nearly nine shots per game. Billy King can literally erase the remaining four year and $28 million owed to Outlaw.
The question isn’t will the Nets use the amnesty clause, it’s where will they spend their newfound fortune?
One of the ultimate goals of the new CBA was a curb to exorbitant spending. In an Utopian NBA, the Outlaws, Bobby Simmons, and Adonal Foyles of the world would not receive eight-figure contracts to ride the pine.
But just because there’s a new CBA does not mean it’s a new NBA.
Under the new agreement: Minimum team salary will be increased to 85 percent of the salary cap in years one and two, and 90 percent of the salary cap starting in year three.
Translation: The Nets need to spend a large chunk of the roughly $24 million that will become available to them come Dec. 9. (Note: The exact salary-cap limit has not been made public yet.)
But there is no LeBron James on the open market. There’s no Dwyane Wade or Carlos Boozer. Here’s what’s out there and reportedly of interest to the Nets:
Jamal Crawford: an older, maybe wiser but certainly more expensive version of rookie MarShon Brooks.
Tyson Chandler: a gritty defensive center with championship experience. The downfall is his age, injury history, and contract demands.
David West: One of the most skilled players available in free agency but a bit of a risk. West is 31-years old and coming off major knee surgery.
J.R. Smith: Like Crawford, a more expensive version of Brooks. While Brooks might be able to play defense, Smith certainly can’t. Might as well give the kid a shot.
Andrei Kirilenko: Geez, who is this signing for? The team or the owner. Kirilenko, the oft-injured Russian, would fit great in New Jersey… if it was 2004. He might fit well in Brooklyn with a strong Russian contingent heading to the Barclays Center, but championships aren’t built on nationality, they’re built on skill. Pass.
Tayshaun Prince: Avery Johnson’s type of player: long, tough, good defensively, spot shooter. How can this miss? Oh, he’s 31-years old and became an insubordinate malcontent in Detroit last season at the first sign of adversity. Well, maybe not the first sign, but definitely when the ship was sinking.
Before putting pen to paper, King and assistant Bobby Marks need to remember that Outlaw seemed enticing last time free agency opened. It didn’t work out too well.
Patience is the better part of valor, despite the time constraints.
Unfortunately, the Nets must spend at leats 85 percent of the cap.