2012 NBA Free Agency: Jerry Stackhouse Makes Brooklyn Nets Title Contenders

Kenneth JamesContributor IIIJuly 12, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 21:  Jerry Stackhouse #42 of the Atlanta Hawks reaches for a steal against Samardo Samuels #24 of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena on January 21, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

LeBron James might as well sit out next season. His hopes of defending the Miami Heat's 2012 NBA Championship went out the window the moment Jerry Stackhouse verbally committed to join the Brooklyn Nets.

Stackhouse brings his 3.6 points per game average along with .8 rebounds. Plus his downright suffocating defense, averaging .3 steals a game, to round out the Big Three in Brooklyn alongside Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.

All kidding aside, the Stackhouse signing has more significance off the court than it will on the court. It's a sign that players respect the moves that the Nets have made to bolster their lineup.

This is similar to what went on in Miami. While the majority of the public had contempt for what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh did, the players in the league respected their choice.

It starts first with a small signing of an aging veteran whose name and past game are well respected in the league. For the Heat it was Juwan Howard and now for the Nets it's Jerry Stackhouse.

This is also a sign that Stackhouse has moved on to the final stage of his career.

He transitioned from "Veteran Who Still Wants to Prove He Has Enough in the Tank by Helping a Team Finally Make the Playoffs or Go Deep in the Playoffs," which is what his years in Milwaukee and Atlanta were, to "Ring Chaser" or "Golem" if you want to be succinct and geeky.

Stackhouse has announced to the public that players believe the Nets have a realistic chance to be title contenders. Now the next phase depends on how far the Nets advance in the playoffs this year.  

If they make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Nets will make the leap to where productive veterans join the team to chase a ring, like Shane Battier, Ray Allen, and to a lesser extent, Rashard Lewis.

So while the signing of Jerry Stackhouse won't send shock waves through the Twitter universe or grab all the headlines, it's still an important move. Stackhouse lit the signal fire to let the rest of the players around the league know that "Brooklyn's Got a Chance."