Earlier in the season, I believe Lopez was injured and then came of the bench for a while and Young is a recent acquisition. If both of them stay, the Nets might get more out of them next year. The Nets may be able to trade Johnson with only one year left on his contract. Right now, I'm expecting next year's Nets pick to be late lottery. Thankfully Billy King is still their GM.
Of the 8 teams you listed, the Bucks and Heat are the two teams that I could most easily see the Nets surpassing. The Bucks have been terrible since trading Knight away and acquiring MCW. For the Heat, three players (Wade, Deng and Dragic) have player options. I think there is a good chance they lose Dragic or Deng, possibly both. There are also the health concerns for Bosh and Wade.
I agree that those are the weak links, but still, the Bucks were doing even better until Jabari went down. If he's healthy all year, I don't see the Nets passing them.
Also, the Heat could fall apart I suppose, but if you were to bet on either team at even odds to have a better record next year, would you really take the Nets? Bosh could be out forever with his blood clots, but I just think Riley will figure something out.
On top of that, we could easily be better than the Nets next year. The Hornets could easily be better than the Nets next year. Etc.
your initial points are exactly how I see the situation. I don't see any other team in the East NOT making improvements next year other than the Nets. Every other team, barring some surprises in player options, figure to improve either by (A) getting a top pick in the draft this year -- Nets have to give theirs to Atlanta so this doesn't apply to them AND/OR (B) getting injured players back healthy next year. Nets don't really figure to get much more court time from their top players next year.
I seriously see the Nets in the bottom 5 in the East next year if not bottom 5 in the league.
anything is possible, but i doubt whether that trade is probable. yes, there is one year left on johnson's contract, but what a year it is! he will be paid just under $25,000,000
next season. that has to be one of the most untradable contracts in the league. what else would the nets have to staple to johnson to move him? heck, what else do they have that anyone would want to take that salary?
i predict the nets just wait for him to go away in 2016-17, along with lopez. i dont know about after 2015-16, but given contracts, aging stars, injuries, and ownership of the nets, i see next year as abysmal for them.
next, i am doubtful the nets will spend like drunken sailors even after next year. the owner wants to sell this team, and low payroll tends to make things attractive to buyers. he may surprise me and spend once more like he just hit a liberty port, but i wont believe it until i see it.
thank goodnes for that!