Steve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann did an evaluation of the team's moves this summer and found that the Nets could have gotten themselves into some bad deals.
The two make their most serious charge against the Brook Lopez signing. Ilardi and Engelmann are skeptical about Lopez's ability to stay healthy. Even if he does, the two point to falling metrics (such as True Shooting Percentage, blocks, free throws, and assists) that predict that his production won't justify his $21 million per year salary.
The writers also say the Nets overpaid for their other moves, including their minimum contracts.
"According to our valuation analysis, Brooklyn’s other summer missteps were less serious, but the team somehow managed to overpay for nearly every player they acquired," they said. "For example, they’re paying Thaddeus Young — essentially a league-average player (+0.34 RPM) — $14 million a year for a guaranteed four years. And they’ve signed three players, Andrea Bargnani, Thomas Robinson and Shane Larkin, whose contributions project far below replacement level according to RPM. Even on minimum contracts, such players are overpaid."
It's hard to argue with ESPN's predicative analytics. Their models famously predicted the Knicks' 2013-14 season right on the nose, and missed by just two games in nailing the Nets' sub-.500 season last year. So this is certainly unnerving. Now, it stands to reason that a minimum signing (like Larkin, for example, who was an awful fit for the triangle offense in Manhattan) could work out better than expected. But there isn't much risk tied up in that.
The fate of this franchise -- and most likely King's job -- relies on Lopez and Young making their contracts look reasonable. If they can't, Brooklyn could be headed for a very dark period.