Newly acquired Net's Pierce, Garnett and Terry hold up their new jerseys as they pose for a photo with principal owner Prokhorov after a news conference in Brooklyn

Prokhorov says he’s done his part, it’s on the team now. No pressure.


Among the most popular discussion topics among front office types at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas was a thinly-veiled disgust at Mikhail Prokhorov and the Brooklyn Nets. While even elite teams are looking to save costs against the new tax structure — Miami amnestied Mike Miller to save money — the Nets went the opposite direction (and somehow getting Andrei Kirilenko at less money than other teams were offering).

The Nets put together a payroll around $101 million that will bring more than $80 million in tax (as currently constructed). That is not sitting well with other teams.

And for the Nets, the guy writing the big checks expects results. He was not subtle at the press conference introducing Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, as reported by the New York Post.

“I have done what I can. Now I think it is high time for the team to do the rest,” he said, deadpan…

“When I bought the team, I promised to create a championship contender, a team worthy of Brooklyn,” said Prokhorov. “I’ll be proud when we win the championship. I am not a man of procedure. I am a man of results.”

No pressure guys.

As for what the rest of the NBA thinks, about all those whispers behind his back, Prokhorov shrugs.

“I’m willing to invest more to make [the] Brooklyn franchise the best in the league….

“Old stereotypes, they’re very hard to beat and to break,” Prokhorov said. “I respect all the NBA rules and we play by the NBA rules. But I want just to stress again like with [the] luxury tax, I will do whatever I can in order to win [a] championship, but under the NBA rules. Please make no mistake about this.”

We’ll see. Even with all that spending the Nets are not the favorite in the East (I’d have Miami, Indiana and Chicago ahead of them). They need a lot of things to go right to contend — Garnett and Pierce need to be healthy, Deron Williams needs to return to his Utah form, and Jason Kidd needs to prove he can coach. It’s a lot of things to go right.

But that’s what the owner is paying for.

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.


When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton

If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.