Kiki Vandeweghe said the other day the Nets will "be active," and said they already were. He wasn't kidding.
In case you didn't see it here, the Nets are talking to the Bulls. (Doesn't it seem they always are?)
They're probably talking to every team, but one thing I heard about was the possibility of picking up disgruntled shooting guard Larry Hughes from Chicago.
The Nets offered Bobby Simmons and Sean Williams, but the Bulls didn't want Williams. So it's Simmons, the Chicago native, and Maurice Ager, whose contract is up after this season.
No one is saying this deal is imminent, but both sides are considering it.
For the Nets, they like Simmons a lot, his work ethic and professionalism and attitude. But they're deciding whether the potential deal makes them better, if so how much and whether it's enough to justify taking back additional salary.
It would just about be a wash for this season, but Hughes makes more than $3 million more than Simmons next year and Ager comes off the book, while the Nets still would have Williams. (They will continue to try and move him before the Feb. 19 deadline).
In case you're wondering, Hughes' deal is up after next season, so it doesn't hurt the overall plan for 2010.
On the Bulls' side, they're talking to numerous teams, so if they find something better they'll take it, no doubt. Huges is out of Vinny Del Negro's rotation.
But if the deal happens, the Nets suddenly have the roster spot they've needed. They then would have to decide what to do with it.
They wouldn't just fill it unless they found something they liked and made sense. The Nets are losing money so the prospects of adding payroll may not make sense.
Sense and dollars and cents are major issues concerning the state of the economy, the Eastern Conference, and the league in general. It's not just the Nets, it's throughout the NBA.
What kind of deal could the Nets or some of the teams in the 6-10 range in the East make that would enable them to really compete with the Celtics, Cavaliers or Magic?
We've seen what the Nets have done against the Celtics and Cavs: three losses by 76 points.
The Nets would like to make the playoffs, of course. It helps build a winning culture, but how much does losing by 30 to the Celtics, Cavaliers or Magic help? Also, there's a big difference between having the No. 8 pick and the No. 15 pick.
We're not saying the Nets are trying to lose. They're not. They want to win. You know these losses lately are eating at many in the organization. But they are weighing a lot of things in all potential deals: the immediate future, benefits short-term and long-term, and the financial aspects.
Consider this Kiki quote from last week: "You’re looking to improve the team. We realize we set out our path early this season and maybe the team is doing a little bit better at this point. We still have a lot of hard teams to play. You don’t Band Aid it because maybe you’re doing a little bit better than you thought and you have a chance to get an eighth spot versus a ninth or a seventh. That’s not what you do, you stay with the plan.
"You focus on getting your young players better, building their confidence and teaching them the game. If you do that and stay with it consistently eventually I think you’re rewarded."
Now, it's on to the trip, which won't be easy at all.
Yes, it's top heavy with losses at, I mean games at New Orleans and San Antonio. Clearly, those are tough games.
If Devin Harris doesn't lift his game defensively Chris Paul could have a great game. Paul could have a great game anyway, but Harris needs to be better.
My thinking is Harris will play much better than he has the last three games, when Rajon Rondo and Jerryd Bayless badly outplayed him. Harris, from what we've seen, gets up for games against elite Western Conference point guards and this benching probably will inspire him.
This is his first against Paul this season, so Harris needs to be better than he was last week, and put aside whatever issues he may have had with what coach Lawrence Frank did Saturday, which I must say again it was the right move.
It will be a hard game regardless against former coach Byron Scott.
And then it's on to San Antonio, where the Nets haven't won a regular-season game since Jan. 22, 2002. Overall, they have dropped 11 straight at San Antonio. Again, Harris against another elite point guard in Tony Parker - another player Harris gets up for. So we'll see what that means for him and the Nets.
Then comes the winnable game at Memphis, where the Nets were beaten last season, after the Grizz traded Pau Gasol. They have to get this game.
Then the Nets play the finale: at OKC for the first time against the Thunder, who are an improving team. They took the Nets to OT last week, then beat Utah and Detroit. That's not an easy getaway game, so don't think it is.
The picture we've painted here isn't pretty, obviously. But I don't see a miraculous 3-1 trip like the Nets had in November - the one I didn't attend. By the way, they're 5-6 on the road with me and 5-2 without.
I'm going 2-2, but it easily could be 1-3. We'll see if the Boston games woke up the Nets and the benching woke up Harris, Carter and everyone.
Harris went for precautionary X-rays on his sore right rib. They were negative.