Although the Nets acquired Gerald Wallace at the trade deadline to provide immediate on-court help, the team has been in a nosedive over the last week and a half, losing six of its seven games since the trade. The slide has taken New Jersey out of the playoff picture, though it has increased the team's chances of retaining its lottery pick, which is top-three protected.
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, if the Nets don't luck out in the draft lottery, the club will target power forwards like Kevin Garnett and Ersan Ilyasova in free agency. SI.com's Chris Mannix previously identified Garnett and restricted free agent Ryan Anderson as potential targets for the Nets, and Bondy says Anderson would also be a "welcome upgrade." However, the Nets would prefer a stronger rebounder to play alongside Brook Lopez.
The Nets, who were long thought to be a player for Dwight Howard this summer, are exploring backup plans now that D12 has opted into the final year of his Magic contract. If Wallace and Jordan Farmar choose to play out the final year of their contracts, and the Nets are able to re-sign Deron Williams and Lopez, the team won't have as much cap space as initially thought. However, the expiring contract of Kris Humphries, among others, should still create enough room to make a play for at least one free agent.