Nets Deal Yi Jianlian to Wizards, Declare War on Bulls
Yes, this is a big deal.
The Bulls have been hoping to lure LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Chicago; the Nets can now conceivably make the same pitch to James when they meet with him early Thursday. The Bulls have All-Star point guard Derrick Rose and beastly pivot Joakim Noah; the Nets have All-Star point guard Devin Harris and beastly pivot Brook Lopez. The Bulls have Chicago; in two years, the Nets will have Brooklyn. It's a battle for the ages, really. (And I do apologize for ignoring the other teams in the derby; the similarities here are too striking.) And this is before we bring Nets minority owner Jay-Z or new controlling partner Mikhail Prokhorov into the equation.
The real wild card in all this may be one Derrick Favors, the perhaps prodigal big man drafted by the Nets with the No. 3 pick in last Thursday's draft. His involvement here could swing a couple different directions. If LeBron wants to hold out for a six-year deal worth $126 million, he needs the Cavaliers to consent to a sign-and-trade. If the Nets -- who could be getting Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Amar'e Stoudemire or even former Avery Johnson-led star Dirk Nowitzki to join LeBron -- agreed to give up a treasure like Favors, wouldn't Cleveland have to immediately sign on the dotted line?
Or, LeBron could go for the the five-year, $101 million deal so that the Nets can keep Favors as the back-up for Lopez and the Unnamed But Awesome Big Man Sidekick, in which case in two years LeBron can talk smack about Favors in a grocery store parking lot, only for Favors to work his tail off going forward and contribute to back-to-back Brooklyn championships.
Either way, I like it.