Brooklyn Nets: can they compete for a championship next season?

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It was almost a year ago when the Brooklyn Nets agreed on the blockbuster deal of 2013 with the Boston Celtics. The Nets acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce while at the same time shipping to Boston a bunch of non–factor players.

Brooklyn’s payroll skyrocketed and in fact, the Nets became the most expensive team in the NBA and the only one above the $100 million mark. All these deeds had one and only purpose – the conquest of the championship. Now, after a total failure to even seriously contend for the Larry O’Brien trophy, the Brooklyn Nets are looking towards their future with uncertainty.

So can this team really compete for the championship next season? Or has the window closed?

First of all, we still don’t know how the team will be structured next season.

Kevin Garnett is under contract but he should be mulling retirement at the moment. Paul Pierce will be an unrestricted free agent and he will draw interest from other teams around the league for sure. In fact, Pierce is currently linked to the Los Angeles Clippers and his former head coach Doc Rivers.

The Nets will most probably continue being one of the most expensive teams next season. The huge contracts of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez will still be in effect and Brooklyn will have limited flexibility to perform radical moves during the summer. Brooklyn is currently rumored to be exploring trade scenarios for Deron Williams but there doesn’t seem to be much interest of a market.

It will be very difficult for the Brooklyn Nets to emerge as one of the frontrunners for the title next season.

As a matter of fact, the Nets might not even be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference in 2014–2015. Most alerting is the fact that the Nets will have a big portion of their salary committed to Williams, Johnson and Lopez for the next two seasons. And of course those three can form a core of a competitive team.

However, the Nets can’t reach the star power of other title contenders in the East like the Miami Heat (if the Big Three stick together), the Chicago Bulls or the Indiana Pacers.

Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez

Unless some major changes happen, the Nets will continue to be a playoff caliber team. But the Nets are surely not entering the 2014 – 2015 campaign as one of the strongest favorites for the title, as they were characterized a year ago. If they somehow manage to emerge as title contenders, this will be more of a surprise rather than a widely held expectation.

However, the Nets will most probably do better next season than what they did in 2013 – 2014. Brook Lopez will hopefully be back and healthy and the Nets might perform a few correcting moves during the summer. Jason Kidd will also be past his rookie year as a head coach and the Nets will have spent more than one season playing together as a team and building chemistry.

So, a better course? Most probably yes. Title contention? Most probably not.

Ron Leyba is the content manager of Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – premier source of fantasy basketball updates, rankings and rumors. For more of his fantasy basketball updates, follow Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ account.

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