Brooklyn Nets: How The Summer of Russell has changed the Nets future

BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 26: D'Angelo Russell
BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 26: D'Angelo Russell /

When the Brooklyn Nets elected to send Brook Lopez to the Los Angeles Lakers in a salary dump trade in order to get D’Angelo Russell, it showed general manager Sean Marks was willing to take calculated risks to regain respectability. It also changed the Nets approach in the upcoming free agency period.

It was clear Brooklyn had a new approach to the 2017 offseason after trading Lopez. With the acquisition of Russell and Mozgov, the Nets shifted their positional needs to the entire frontcourt in general, instead of shooting guard. With a backcourt of Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell already set in stone, it seemed the Nets no longer would longer sought after the services of Milos Teodosic and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Nets now had their sights on Otto Porter Jr. and other frontcourt players.

With that said, it seems that the trade for Russell changed the entire summer for the Nets. They no longer would be going after a European guard over thirty years old in Teodosic. Now they had a set backcourt with a solid veteran in Lin and the 21-year-old former second pick in Russell. The Nets did not need to break the bank and attempt to sign restricted free agent Caldwell-Pope.

Brooklyn then turned its attention toward the draft and finding a player who fit a position in need. That player would of course be Jarrett Allen. Allen, a center out of Texas. Brooklyn drafted him at No. 22 after he dropped out of the lottery. Allen, while a great prospect, does have some concerns. His work ethic is worrisome and it difficult to gauge how NBA ready he is.

As Nets fans saw with Caris LeVert however, the team is not worried about making patient moves that can pay off in a few years. So taking Allen, who can develop nicely, was a great decision.

After signing the rookie Allen, the Nets turned their sights to Porter Jr. While Marks placed a lot of, “traps,” in the contract Porter Jr signed with the team, the Washington Wizards matched the deal. Brooklyn moved on.

The Nets may not have made any big signings, but they made moves to bolster their current roster. Not only did the Marks make salary dumps, but in doing so he grabbed players who fit their system. While they took on the salaries of Allen Crabbe and DeMarre Carroll, both are projected starters for Brooklyn. The Nets are climbing out of the hole. Not only are they acquiring picks, but they’re also finding players on big contracts they can pry away from contenders.

With the Nets backcourt set with the acquisition of Russell and Lin returning, the Nets focus on the frontcourt . The previous stated moves that brought in Crabbe and Carroll have made the Nets’ summer all but complete. Now, with the preseason starting in less than two months, the Nets may bring in some more front court players. 

After all the moves the Nets have made, the future is looking a lot brighter. With upgrades coming at essentially all positions except the center spot, the present is brighter as well. The move to trade Lopez and take on the large salary of Mozgov in order to acquire Russell certainly gives the Nets more leverage in trading away some of their current players to help their future or to gain assets. The move also helped the Nets finally gain their franchise player in which they will look to build around as well. With previous uncertainty whether they can build around any of their current young players like LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, they finally know it will be Russell in which they build around, with LeVert and Hollis-Jefferson likely being Russell’s wingmen.

Next: Who will end up in the Nets' starting lineup?

Marks’ culture finally starting to take shape. The team finally finding the direction needed to build a dynasty and climb back into the playoff. This is Brooklyn’s most important offseason in the last decade. One thing has seemed to lead to another with this Nets team. So thanks to the first big move of the 2017 offseason coming with Russell trade, the Nets can surely dub the 2017 offseason, “The Summer of Russell.”