Billy King

Nets looking at short term, not building a solid foundation

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The Nets are moving to Brooklyn next season — they wanted to enter the nation’s largest market with a splash. They made a bold trade a year ago to get Deron Williams — giving up a lot of good prospects like Derrick Favors — in hopes they could use him and the looming bright lights of New York to lure in other big names.

Actually, one big name — Dwight Howard.

A Deron and Dwight combo could rival the star power of that other team in New York and would give them a foundation that — with the right other players on the roster — could contend. And contend in that market with the Knicks (sort of, anyway, New York will always be a Knicks town).

But Howard has decided to stay in Orlando for another year. Maybe longer.

And that gave the Nets a second chance at this — start making moves for the long term or keep going with the short-term strategy so they could make a splash in Brooklyn.

They went short term. That may set them back in the long term.

First, Thuyrsday they traded for Gerald Wallace — the slightly injured small forward from Portland. Who can opt out of his contract after the season just like Williams. But a guy who can score and brings defense they sorely need.

The Nets starting five the rest of this season is not bad if healthy — Williams, MarShon Brooks, Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez. Who are they going to go after this summer? Kevin Garnett, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. That would be 36-year-old Kevin Garnett. Who has not been the same player the last couple of years.

Is that going to keep Williams in town? He already said he will opt-out o his deal and test the market. We know that the Mavericks in his hometown of Dallas can offer him a max deal (less than the Nets can offer, but a pretty penny) for him to come and play next to Dirk Nowitzki.

And this is where it gets frustrating — to get Wallace they gave up their first round pick for this season. Here is how Nets GM Billy King explained that one, via Nets Daily (and Tom Ziller):

“This trade was really done to get us a small forward,” King said, “a former All-Star, somebody to give us some great defense, versatility, someone to play hard …” As for protecting the pick only #1 through #3, King said following conversations with their scouts, the team did not see any immediate-impact players beyond their projected top three in next year’s draft.

That is short-term thinking. If you can’t get a player who can help you in a couple years drafting about No. 7 (in what is considered the deepest draft in years), you are doing it wrong. In a few years, when Wallace is somewhere else and that pick the Blazers has is a steady part of their rotation, Nets fans will howl.

Rightfully so.

James Harden organizing Rockets pre-camp workout this week

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 13:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets reacts to a three point shot during the second half of a game against the Sacramento Kings at the Toyota Center on April 13, 2016 in Houston, Texas. 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 Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Last year, James Harden organized a pre-camp workout where Rockets players could get in shape and develop some chemistry. Then the Rockets started the season slowly with Harden not being in good enough shape and the team having chemistry issues.

Hopefully, for Rockets’ fan this year is different — once again Harden is organizing a camp, reports, Fox 26 in Houston. And Harden is working to show what a great teammate he is.

For the second consecutive year Houston Rockets guard James Harden has organized a players-only minicamp scheduled for next week.

“James is doing everything,” said Corey Brewer, Rockets guard/forward. “He is showing he wants to be a leader. He’s the franchise player. He signed the extension. So it’s his team, and he’s doing all the right things to do what we need to do to have a chance to win championships.”

Harden’s plan is to hold the minicamp in Miami. However, the potential of bad weather hitting South Florida may cause the Rockets players to work in a different city.

Nearly every team does one of these, and how much good they do depends on who you ask. Teams that go deep in the playoffs have these camps, teams that disappoint and never make the playoffs have these camps. It certainly never hurts to get some voluntary team workouts in before the coaches take over at the end of September, and good on Harden for organizing it.

Just don’t read too much into any team doing this.

Top 10 NBA plays of last season by position (video)

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Which position – point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward or center – produced the best highlights last season?

Watch this video to find out and be glad the positional revolution didn’t reduce it fewer highlights.

Ohio farm commemorates Cavaliers championship with corn mazes (photo)

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19:  LeBron James #23, Kevin Love #0, and J.R. Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. 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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Could you find your way out of LeBron James‘ head?

Now, you can find out.

An Ohio farm has created three corn mazes – one featuring LeBron’s head, one that says Believeland and one with a Larry O’Brien Trophy – to commemorate the Cavaliers 2016 NBA title:

This is a championship-level corn maze. 🏆🌽 Thanks for the love, @maplesidefarms! #OneForTheLand #Believeland

A photo posted by Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) on

College coaches vote UConn’s Kevin Ollie best-suited/most likely to make NBA jump

DES MOINES, IA - MARCH 17:  head coach Kevin Ollie of the Connecticut Huskies reacts on the sideline in the first half against the Colorado Buffaloes during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena on March 17, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Kevin Ollie made himself one of the NBA’s hottest coaching prospects by leading UConn to the 2014 NCAA title.

He has since resisted NBA overtures, including from the Lakers in 2014 and Thunder last year.

But his peers don’t expect Ollie’s hesitance to last.

Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander of CBSSPorts.com asked more than 110 college coaches, “Which active college coach is best suited and most likely to next jump to the NBA?” The results:

Coach, college Percentage

Kevin Ollie, UConn 20 percent

Bill Self, Kansas 17 percent

John Calipari, Kentucky 16 percent

Jay Wright, Villanova 16 percent

Shaka Smart, Texas 9 percent

Tony Bennett, Virginia 8 percent

Note: Other coaches who received at least three or more votes: Sean Miller (Arizona), Larry Krystkowiak (Utah) and Avery Johnson (Alabama).

Keep in mind 80% of responds didn’t answer Ollie. But he’s still makes sense atop the leaderboard.

Ollie isn’t the typical college-to-NBA coach, and Brad Stevens and Billy Donovan – and maybe eventually Fred Hoiberg – are changing that perception, anyway. Not is Ollie showing his basketball acumen at Connecticut, his 13-year NBA career suggests he can translate his style to the next level.

Of course, Calipari always comes up on these lists. He coaches more future NBA stars than anyone, and he loves the attention that comes with the perception NBA teams are chasing him. But he has the best job in college basketball at Kentucky, so luring him will be difficult.

Self and Wright, the other coaches who got at least 10% of the vote, come up from time to time in NBA rumors. But it never seems to be anything that goes anywhere.