The Nets are in the midst of a rebuild. A new general manager will be hired soon, and what's left of the old guard will be ushered out the doors at Atlantic and Flatbush as quickly as you can learn to spell "Karnisovas." But Brooklyn's eventual-brain trust may not want to be so quick to dismiss the team's two biggest hold overs from the Billy King Era.
Don't kid yourself: the Nets have assets. Brook Lopez is the last vestige of a team that used to expect to contend for a title, and Thaddeus Young has been Brooklyn's most consistently impressive player since he arrived at last year's trade deadline. They both could absolutely help any playoff team in the market for help at forward and center, so if Brooklyn wants to acquire picks to speed up the youth movement, they can do it with these two players.
The problem is that if the Nets move their front court core, they would be seriously hampering themselves to be competitive for the remaining decade.
I know it doesn't feel like it, but the Nets are two big free agents away from being a contender. With Young, Lopez, and a developing core of 2015 first rounder's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris McCullough, there are worse free agent destinations than Brooklyn. If the new general manager can convince a point and shooting guard that could make a serious impact to come on board, this could be a club that makes a very fast turnaround. But if Lopez and Young are swapped, this becomes a very different situation.
The Raptors are reportedly interested in Young, and talks are heating up. Lopez almost found himself in Oklahoma City last trade deadline, and he's been fodder in trade rumors so long, it's a running joke with him and reporters. But if the Nets pull the trigger and ship one or both of these players out of town, it makes it all the more unlikely that players like DeMar DeRozan, T.J. Conley, or dare I say, Kevin Durant are attracted to a future in Brooklyn.
And that's a problem, because the next time the Nets have a first rounder and can start a youth movement in earnest, Young and Lopez's contracts will be expired. Hollis-Jefferson and McCullough's rookie deals will be winding down. So while this isn't a contention window in a traditional sense, this summer is Brooklyn's last chance to build something resembling a playoff team until the middle of next decade.
If Brooklyn wanted to move on from Lopez and Young, the time to do it was last offseason. Now that they've committed to these two players, it's time to play it out. See if they can be the bait to land a big free agent fish. If not, you can re-explore moving them next season when you're one step closer to 2019. Time will tell what path Brooklyn chooses to take.