Sometimes, franchises need to change from the ground up.
That’s what the New Jersey Nets are doing — new owner (a billionaire Russian playboy), a new star player in Deron Williams (who they are trying to keep) and a new building.
The Nets were showing off that new building — the $1 billion Barclay’s center, set to open in the fall of 2012 — this week, with GM Billy King singing the praises of moving to Brooklyn, according to the Daily News.
“Players say they want to be in New York. Well, we’re going to be in New York,” King said Wednesday during a tour of the construction site with reporters. “We have the best owner, and we’re going to have the best building. We’ll have all the tools. If a guy doesn’t want to play here, he doesn’t want to play in the city…”
“You have (Madison Square) Garden and you have this,” King said. “I would equate this to the United Center in Chicago, and what this did for the area of Chicago. Or the Staples Center, and what it did to that part of L.A. I think this will do the same thing for this area. A lot of people fought it. But I think once it’s built, they’ll realize five or six years from now this area will be booming.”
It’s a good sales pitch. If it will work is another question. There is a lot of history and a reputation to overcome among players, but if the Nets can lure one more star to play with Williams for when they open the new building in the fall of 2012 they may have something.
Let’s just hope the next time the Nets take the court it’s not in this half-built arena.