Operation Keep Deron Williams is already in full effect for the Nets.
Two weeks ago, Sports Illustated's Chris Mannix tweeted that the Nets were already looking at free agents Ryan Anderson and Kevin Garnett as possible options at power forward. Then last night, Stefan Bondy from the Daily News wrote that the Garnett and Ersan Ilyasova are at the top of the list, while Anderson is also an option.
Anderson is a restricted free agent, while Ilyasova and Garnett are unrestricted.
As mentioned by Bondy, the Nets need a rebounding power forward next to center Brook Lopez, making Ilyasova and Garnett the two more attractive options. Lopez, injured for all but five games this year, averaged just 6.0 rebounds per game last season and 3.6 rebounds this season.
Kris Humphries has been reliable on the glass, averaging 11.0 rebounds, but the Nets would like a bigger name as they move to Brooklyn. With Humphries inked to just a one-year deal, it seems likely the Nets would use the cap space afforded by Humphries exit to make one more big splash with the hopes of convincing Gerald Wallace and Williams to stick around another season.
Ilyasova is having a career year in Milwaukee, averaging 12.3 points and 8.5 ebounds in 26.9 minutes per game. Those averages translate to 16.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per 36 minutes. He's also posting career highs in field goal percentage (48.2 percent) and three-point percentage (40.8 percent).
There are a pair of red flags that come with Ilyasova, though, who is currently ranked highest (No. 5) of the three forwards in my free agent rankings. First, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Times, the Turkish-born Ilyasova may look to play overseas next year. Second, while Ilyasova has had some monstrous performances this year (29 points, 25 rebounds against the Nets on Feb. 19, for example), he has a penchant for disappearing from games. Last night against the Knicks, Ilyasova took just two shots, scored just two points, and grabbed just one rebound while committing four fouls.
Anderson (seventh in the FA rankings) has flourished in his first year as a starter, averaging 16.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, shooting 44 percent from three. Anderson started his career in New Jersey, but was dealt to the Magic in 2009.
Garnett (18th) is averaging 15.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, right in line with his numbers the last four years in Boston. Almost 36, though, would Garnett be interested in playing for a non-contender in the twilight of his career? And how much does Garnett gave left in the tank?
At 16-35, the Nets are 29th in our latest NBA power rankings.