This season while the New Jersey Nets waited out the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard there was one question that no one seemed to have an answer for: What happens if Billy King can't bring the All-Star center along for the ride to Brooklyn? Now that the NBA trade deadline has passed and we know Howard will remain with the Magic through next season, we have a view of what "Plan B" is for the Nets.
Believe it or not, that plan starts with the 15-29 team making the playoffs in their final season in New Jersey. After that, not much is sure, because a push for the post season is the only thing that can explain the bizarre trade King pulled off shortly after Howard decided to stay in Orlando.
The Nets traded two of their injured players -- Mehmet Okur and Shawne Williams -- and a protected 2012 first-round pick to the Portland Trailblazers for veteran forward Gerald Wallace.
On the surface that's not a bad move. Okur and Williams are both likely out for the season, while Wallace is healthy and ready to go. Even a protected first-round pick isn't a bad asset to give up, as long as it has the standard lottery protection. Except, in this case the pick is only top-three protected.
If New Jersey continues to struggle and ends up in the lottery, they are going to lose out on high pick in one of the deepest drafts in a decade in order to bring in a player from a team in the middle of a fire sale. Considering how anxious the Blazers have been to clear house -- including their head coach -- it's mind boggling King couldn't have convinced them to take the Houston Rockets lottery protected 2012 first-round pick the Nets own.
Yes, the Nets are a better team now than they were before the deadline. But Wallace could have been had any time in the offseason after he likely picks up his $9.5 million player option and New Jersey would still own the most valuable first-round pick they have had in years.
Instead of taking a run at a big time rookie to pair with Williams and Brook Lopez in Brooklyn, King has decided it's more important to maybe -- if they get lucky -- have a chance to get bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Chicago Bulls or the Miami Heat. That is going to get the job done more than building the team for the future?
King showed he knew what he was doing last year by picking up Williams after losing out on Carmelo Anthony, but he will have to prove himself all over again with this trade.
Right now it looks more like desperation than well-thought out "Plan B".