Brooklyn Nets: Non-Buyer’s Remorse?


We’ve all heard of – and experienced at one point or another – buyer’s remorse.

In the case of the Brooklyn Nets, we might be witnessing non-buyer’s remorse.

At the time it almost seemed like a foregone conclusion that general manager Billy King was bound to move at least one of his top three assets of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez before last month’s trade deadline. Their play this season hasn’t come anywhere close to All Star caliber.
And forget about living up to those high-priced salaries.

Shockingly enough, the entire trio remained in Brooklyn when all was said and done, while Kevin Garnett – of all people – was dealt back to the Minnesota Timberwolves for lefty forward Thaddeus Young.

Upon Young’s arrival and coach Lionel Hollins utilizing smaller, quicker lineups, the Nets had the appearance of a much-improved, playoff bound club.

Five consecutive mind-numbing losses later, that could not be further from the truth.

With 19 games remaining on the regular season schedule, Brooklyn has fallen 3.5 games behind the Miami Heat for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Due to the painfully mysterious nature of their current free-fall, it’s safe to predict an upcoming postseason that won’t include the Nets for the first time since 2012.

This is where the notion of non-buyer’s remorse quietly enters the room. Compared to seasons past, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez have remained relatively by their standards, yet their presence in the lineup – along with Joe Johnson’s – hasn’t been good enough to get Brooklyn over the hump.
Which is why I can’t help but pose the questions that so many desire to elude.

Did the Nets make a mistake not trading at least one of their three core components when they had the opportunity?

Do they regret not doing so?

Yes and yes.

For all intents and purposes, Lopez has had a relatively solid comeback season following a broken foot that held him out of the majority of 2013-2014. He hasn’t produced the All Star-type numbers Hollins hoped he would, averaging 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, but with his 27th birthday approaching on April 1st he’s at least resembled a player the organization can hope to build around moving forward.

Williams and Johnson, 30 and 33, respectively, are fading stars personified. They’ve had their moments of brilliance during the course of the season, but not consistently enough to deem them completely untouchable. Williams, once considered one of the top point guards in the league, has posted marks of 13.1 points and 6.1 assists per game this season. Johnson, meanwhile has averaged 14.9 points and 4.8 assists.

Moving both Williams and Johnson would have been difficult for even Nets general manager Billy King to maneuver, but acquiring young talent in exchange for at least one of them would’ve served the franchise much better at this point. Barring some kind of unforeseen run, the Nets will be watching the entire postseason from home.

Even if Brooklyn had moved Williams/Johnson and still failed to qualify for the playoffs, they might have had visions of a much brighter future with whomever they would have received in a deal.

There is no going back in time for the Nets. Hopefully next season they’ll understand that this group never has and never will be enough for them to seriously contend for a championship.

Then they will no longer experience the rarity that is buyer’s non-remorse.