The Nets could be paying more than $189 million for players next season, and obviously, such a payroll comes with expectations. And expectations come with pressure.
Brooklyn needed overtime to the Wizards and then lost by 11 to the Pistons on Saturday, Obviously, those are just preseason games, but it’s possible to see how a first-year coach with a championship-caliber roster might press a little. And when the coach is pressing, it can trickle down – for better or worse.
Andray Blatche and Mirza Teletovic got into a scuffle during Sunday’s practice and had to be separated.
No punches were thrown, and the team quickly resumed drills.
“It’s great. That’s competition. That’s what it’s all about,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “This team is put together to compete at a high level, and you saw that. There’s nothing wrong with competition. Tempers might flare, but it’s all out of respect, because we’re all working hard, and as a coaching staff and as players, that’s what you need.”
This could be nothing. It could be something. Either way, the Nets are going to call it nothing, so we don’t really know.
Blatche doesn’t strike me as a great competitor whose problems come from going too hard in practice, but perhaps he’s turned a corner. If he had more of an edge, Blatche could be a very good player. But if he’s just being ornery and petulant, he’s the type of player who can infect a locker room.
I trust Brooklyn’s veterans – especially Kevin Garnett – to deal with this appropriately and prevent it from escalating, even if I’m not so certain Kidd will handle it the best way possible. Even if the flap is something, it could easily become nothing with the right buttons pushed.