NBA Picks: Can the Nets Contend in 2016 After their Franchise Fall out?

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 8:49 PM GMT

We’re going to share our thoughts on the current status of the Brooklyn Nets franchise in this upcoming article. We’ll cover such topics as the luxury tax, poor front office decisions, the possibility of a sale, and voice our opinion on what needs to be imminently addressed.

Nets Franchise in a Tizzy
Similar to the majority of instances pertaining to corporate America, despite not being for sale, an owner is always willing to listen regarding unsolicited offers. Such is the case right now for the Nets Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Especially in light of the fact the long suffering Los Angeles Clippers franchise was sold for two billion to Steve Ballmer this past summer. However, this is a Nets franchise that lost $144 million in basketball related business a season ago, and that figure was a whopping $131 million more than the franchise which took the next biggest hit. In light of those findings, the Nets value is currently estimated to be approximately $1.2 billion. It would be hard to imagine that a single buyer would possibly entertain the thought of making an offer with all the financials being considered.

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Monumental Luxury Tax Incurred
The Nets paid out an enormous $90.57 million dollars in luxury tax a season ago, far exceeding a NBA record in that regard. As a matter of fact, during the 2013-2014 NBA campaign, the Nets paid out a combined $197 million in salaries and luxury tax. That figure is estimated fall around $130 million this season, which is still a mind boggling number, but provides a far better looking bottom line than a year ago. Unfortunately, they’re a still a long ways away from making the franchise fiscally viable. Adding insult to injury, the investments have fallen far short of expectations pertaining to performance on the court.

 

Bad Front Office Decisions take a Toll
The Nets gave away three first round draft choices last season in a blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics, landing them both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in return. By saying that deal has turned out to be a huge disaster, would be a vast understatement. They did finish with a respectable 44-38 record a season ago, qualifying them for the playoffs. They proceeded to win in seven games over the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, and then were easily discarded by the Miami Heat in five games during the ensuing series. During this past offseason, they opted to let Paul Pierce walk away in free agency without even extending him an offer. Kevin Garnett did return this season, but the aging veteran is averaging just a tad over 20-minutes per game, and has contributed only 6.8 points per contest.

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Imminent Decisions Imperative
If the season were to end today, the Nets wouldn’t qualify for the NBA Playoffs. Their current 19-28 record finds them at 9th overall in the Eastern Conference, and 1.5 games behind the Charlotte Hornets who hold down the final playoff spot in the East. Granted, they’re certainly capable of making the playoffs with this current roster. However, not even the most eternal optimist would project them to be a serious contender for the NBA crown, nor is it reasonable to believe they could possibly even make a deep postseason run. Considering they’re on the hook for a combined $62,681,882.00 next season for the salaries of Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, and Deron Williams. You would have to think, it would be in the franchise’s best interest, to move all three players by this season’s trade deadline. Adding more misery to the dilemma is the Nets are only 19th in the NBA averaging 16,904 paid customers for their home games, and just moved into the brand new $1-billion Barclay’s Center prior to the start of the 2013-2014 campaign. Although unloading their highest paid players makes all the business sense in the world right now, by doing so attendance will assuredly plummet in the process.