A couple thoughts following the trade deadline:
1. The Brooklyn Nets have to be somewhat disappointed about not making a trade to improve their roster. Sure, GM Billy King said he wasn’t expecting to make one, but given how weak the Eastern Conference is, the Nets would’ve loved to have added an impact player like Josh Smith. In the end, though, they just didn’t have enough assets to entice the Hawks to make a deal.
2. Kris Humphries’ contract (two years, $24 million) would’ve been much more enticing to Atlanta had it been expiring this season rather than next. The Hawks are likely to go after Atlanta native Dwight Howard and Chris Paul in free agency. Even if Smith leaves, that’ll just open up more cap space. Taking on Humphries’ $12 million salary for next season would’ve hurt their flexibility. Adding prospects like MarShon Brooks, Bojan Bogdanovic and a late first-round pick wasn’t worth the sacrifice.
3. Humphries’ expring deal becomes a big asset to the Nets come the offseason. It will allow them to take on salary since they’re over the cap and very limited as to what they can do. King has said he’d likely have to address his team’s deficiencies in the offseason (power forward). Humphries’ expiring deal is a solid starting point for teams wishing to dump bigger contracts.
4. The Dwightmare is close to being over for good. For those wondering if the Nets can acquire D12 in a sign-and-trade in the offseason, ESPN cap guru Larry Coon provides a detailed breakdown on his blog that makes the idea laughable at best. Remember: Starting next season, taxpaying teams cannot complete a S&T deal if they are over the $4 million apron.
So essentially, Coon writes: the Nets are already committed to $85.6 million for 2013-14. A max deal for Howard would start at $20.5 million. That’s $106.1 million. The projected tax apron for next season is $77 million. That means the Nets would have to clear $29.1 million either before the trade or after it to be eligible to acquire Howard. So -- if Brook Lopez and Deron Williams are “untouchable” -- the Nets would have to convince the Lakers to take on Joe Johnson (owed $48 million from 2014-16) or Gerald Wallace (owed $20 million over that span). Good luck with that!
5. But back to this year’s team: They’ve beaten everyone in the East already not named the Miami Heat. They have the fourth-best record in the conference despite the fact that D-Will and Iso Joe have both underperformed. They have a ton of depth, talent and arguably the best center in the NBA in Brook Lopez. If they can somehow stay healthy, who knows, maybe the East finals is possible.