Living in England, obviously the main sport is Football (sorry I mean soccer), I hear all my friends complain how every year the winner of the Premiership only won because they got the best players by overpaying them. This tends to be Manchester United (that will be the only football/soccer reference you ever see me write). Luckily in the NBA there is a salary cap with a luxury tax that penalizes teams that over spend. Some teams in the NBA however do overspend and it usually tends to end up in success (Lakers -- bar this season). The Brooklyn Nets on the other hand have dramatically overspent and have had little success so far, and the future doesn't look like it will be much more successful.
The salary cap in the NBA is situated at $58 million this season, the Brooklyn Nets had a team salary that totalled at $83 million, which made them the second highest team salary in the league (behind the Lakers). The Nets can afford to pay this salary and the taxes that come with it because of the wealth of their multi-billion dollar owner, Mikhail Prokhorov and the fact that New York is the biggest media market in America. This means that they will have a large TV contract, sellout games and will sell a lot of merchandise. This seemed all good and well at the start of the season because of their cool new (part) owner Jay-Z. If it was seeing him sit courtside at an eighth of their home games, their 'BRRROOOK-LYN' and 2K inspired soundtrack, the Nets had marketed themselves as cool. Now Jay-Z has left, it has settled into peoples mind that the Nets haven't got anything good, cool or worthwhile going for them. They just spent $83 million on a team that got bounced in the first round! $83 million has to be worth an honorable second round exit.
It goes from bad to worse when you really look at the contracts that their sub-par players have, I'm talking about Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries. These three players had a combined salary of $41.4 million last season, which is over two-thirds of the salary cap. Wallace was so dreadful in the Playoffs that the Bulls refused to guard him and he didn't make them pay.
The worst thing about these contracts is that they are unmovable and the Nets will have to stick with them. No team will want to take them off their hands in a trade until the last year, when they can clean up cap room with expiring contracts. They were once seen as unmovable, and then the Nets got them, now there is no chance in hell teams want them. This roster looks like it will stay put unless Mikhail Prokhorov wants to dive even further into the luxury tax and chase a title, because they aren't winning one with this roster.
There are some positives for the Nets, however. One being the progress of Brook Lopez. Lopez really improved his game this year and became a key low post presence with a nice midrange game. He still lacks talent on the boards but once again he is improving in this area. He was also named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team for the first time. Deron Williams their 'coach-killer' point guard is also a spark they have on their roster. He is still said to be overpaid, but he showed stretches of looking like he is still in the top three of point guards in the league, especially after the All Star break. One contract they can be thankful of having is Reggie Evans, he is not getting paid over $2 million a season for the next two. Although his offensive game is very very limited, he is a huge presence on both sides of the glass and can lock down an elite big man for a quarter or two.
They also have a new coach in the newly retired Jason Kidd. It is up in the air on how he will perform, but it will be very interesting to watch.
Maybe this season was just what Mikhail Prokhorov wanted, just to make the Playoffs so they can get attention for a longer amount of time than the regular season. Either way the future looks bleak in the cool part of the city.