Thursday, July 4, 2013

Could we see Brooklyn's Finest in the Finals?

Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news just prior to last Thursday's NBA Draft.  There's a push for Eastern Conference power in Brooklyn.

The Nets and Boston Celtics had bigger ideas on draft night. Agreed upon in principal; Jason Terry, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will join the Nets in exchange for Brooklyn's 2014, '16 and '18 first-round selections, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks and Kris Joseph, along with the signing and trading of Keith Bogons. The current largest off-season blockbuster displays the Nets' desire to win now and accommodates the Celtics' process of rebuilding. Teams are able to make the deal official on July 10. 

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are making a final championship push. (Don Ryan)

Mikhail Prokhorov is willing to pay for what it takes to win. The starting five of Derron Williams, Joe Johnson, Pierce, Garnett and Brook Lopez will cost the Nets close to $80 million. Brooklyn's total roster payroll is projected around $180 million, including $80 million in luxury taxes. No team in NBA history has accumulated similar totals.

Deron Williams must make Brooklyn's new show work. Getty Images)

If only the NBA Network program, 'The Association," could bring a closer look at the Nets again following the team's debut season playing in Brooklyn. Garnett, Pierce and Terry are NBA Champions and bring pedigree to a team that signed Joe Johson to a superstar contract last season. Johnson is known and criticized for being soft-spoken and having a passive attitude on the court despite coming through clutch at the buzzer multiple times. Garnett doesn't tolerate anything that isn't 100 percent effort from his teammates, just ask former Celtic Glen Davis. Pierce is a leader that is not afraid of big moments and takes some scoring responsibility off of Johnson and Williams. Terry, the Jet, flew low to the ground last season and may be running low on gas. Rookie head coach Jason Kidd is responsible for handling the minutes, personalities and emotions of a roster filled with former rivals and peers. Kidd could quickly become a scapegoat if the team doesn't find immediate success. Former coach Avery Johnson was fired after a 14-14 Nets start last season. 

New Nets head coach Jason Kidd. (Craig Ruttle)

The Nets now share a reputation similar to another team playing in New York, the Yankees. Neither team regards luxury tax when spending the necessary amount it takes to win. Every game will shine under the brightest media spotlight, as there's a lot pressure to win. It's the type of situation that sparks talk of championships and dynasties after victories and talks of trade and changes after defeats.

Expecting a championship is highly optimistic and wishful thinking. The Heat, Pacers, Bulls and crosstown rival Knicks are all talented enough to compete with Brooklyn in a postseason series. Garnett and Pierce starting a final pursuit for another championship, now as members of the Nets, coached by a former opponent in Kidd, makes for a story the league has never seen. The aging roster certainly remains talented, but has to compete with younger knees and fresher legs. The ability to stay healthy and a lack of depth are reasons for concern.  

It's still the beginning chapters of the franchise and success will undoubtedly arrive at Barclay's Center, but these are the final pages for some of the game's all-time legends. Anything beyond an opening round series victory should be considered overachieving for the Brooklyn Nets this season.

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