Tag: New Jersey Nets

Russians Go To The Polls In Presidential Election

Quote of the Day: Prokhorov’s still waiting for Dolan to RSVP


Mikhail Prokhorov has deliberately stoked up a fire between himself and James Dolan. The Nets want to take over basketball in New York and are using the confrontational, outsiders-invading tactic, stirring up trouble and taking pot shots. This goes all the way back to the summer of 2010 when Prokhorov and the Nets were putting up billboards outside of MSG while the Knicks were hosting the top free agents. It’s continued all the way through the Nets’ arrival in Brooklyn, and it doesn’t look to stop soon.

Prokhorov has a lot of fun ribbing the other owners, like Mark Cuban about the free agency track meet with Deron Williams, but most especially Dolan. The Knicks, for their part, haven’t commented on anything. In part because their strategy is to act above the Nets in every regard, and maintain their credibility as the “flagship franchise” of the NBA (that hasn’t won a title in forty years). But Prokhorov is not without generosity. In fact, he’d love for Mr. Dolan to come on down to Brooklyn to enjoy the new Barclays Center when Prokhorov’s Nets host the Knicks in the two teams’ NBA season opener. He’s just waiting for a yes.


This whole thing is going to be so much fun.

Friday And-1 links: Training camp notes… and JaVale Mcgee


Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• JaVale McGee on a Segway, riding a rainbow road. Some days the Internet amazes you. Thank you, The Basketball Jones.

 Three Magic players will be out for at least the start of training camp: Al Harrington is fighting a toe injury; Moe Harkless is not fully recovered from hernia surgery; and Ish Smith had shoulder surgery and is not yet recovered.

Charles Barkley is making headlines talking Tiger Woods.

• Delonte West is back in the recording studio, laying down hip hop tracks.

• Which is better than this — a 7-minute freestyle rap about Steve Nash and Goran Dragic.

• The Raptors are bringing in guard Jerel McNeal and forward Chris Wright as training camp fodder.

• Heat guard Norris Cole Norris Cole suffered what is described as a minor groin injury. He is expected to be fine for training camp.

• Former Nets lottery pick Terrence Williams agreed to an NBA minimum, non-guaranteed contract with the Detroit Pistons. Don’t bet on him making the final roster.

• Andre Emmett reached an agreement to come to camp with the Bulls.

• Othello Hunter reached a deal to play next season with CB Valladolid in Spain.

• The Shanghai Sharks are “moving in” on a deal with D.J. White, reports to ESPN’s Marc Stein.

NBA Season Preview: Brooklyn Nets

New Jersey Nets v Atlanta Hawks

Last Season: I want you to imagine the most you’ve ever vomited. Like, literally, the greatest single bout of nauseated vomiting you’ve ever gone through. I want you to think about what you ate, what it smelled like, that cold, hard porcelain  or unfeeling trash can that embraced you after the day-old shellfish or that bottle of Bullit whiskey you thought would be awesome to drink in bulk.

That, plus some turnovers, was the Nets last year.

Brook Lopez was hurt. Gerald Wallace was getting adjusted. The organization was clearing the decks for this summer, and Deron Williams, honestly, it seemed like, was not fully invested in throwing himself into the vomit-water over and over again. They weren’t the worst team in the league. But there were games they could have made a good effort for that title. They were not good, at the basketball, as the kids say.

Key Departures: Johan Petro.

Just kidding! Gerald Green also took off. The Nets didn’t really lose anyone in free agency of note, because it was hard to note anyone beneath all the vomit.

However, the trade for Joe Johnson did send Anthony Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson out.

Key Additions: Mikhail Prokhorov kind of made it rain. Barclays finished construction and the sky over Brooklyn opened up and started to rain down cash for sub-All-Stars.

They re-signed Deron Williams, after it was expected there would be a tense decision over Dallas vs. Brooklyn, instead, Mark Cuban didn’t even attend the Mavs’ meeting with Williams, and Williams re-upped for the max. How did Brooklyn sway the All-Star point guard to buy into their team after all the vomit?

They traded for what many consider to be the worst contract in the NBA. The Nets pulled off a stunner trade, as Danny Ferry kick-started a rebuilding process in Atlanta. Sending out a package of delete-able contracts for Johnson netted them a second All-Star to pair with Williams, showed their commitment, and drastically improved their team, regardless of what the salary hawks might say.

From there… more money! Gerald Wallace was re-signed at either a drastic overpay or a semi-bargain depending on which side of the fence you’re on, at four-years, $40 million. They brought back Kris Humphries on a pretty massive deal considering what he brings to the table. They upgraded their bench considerably, adding Reggie Evans to club people, C.J. Watson for back-up point guard, brought over Mirza Teletovic, and added bargain veterans in Andray Blatch and Josh Childress.

Oh, and they gave Brook Lopez a huge four-year deal. They needed a quality starting center and were capped out, so they had to put the money in on Lopez. It’s a big investment in Lopez considering his issues and injury, but if you look at his production before his health problems, very much worth it.

Three Keys to the Nets’ Season:

1. Avery Johnson gets the defense to work: Avery Johnson’s track record with the Nets has been very poor, but so has the talent. He’s got the talent, now he’s got to make it work. Brook Lopez is an offensive-focused center, and can have issues defensively. He’s also got the injury history, but the foot condition is not supposed to  be a recurring problem and the other issue was mono, so you can’t really think he’s going to have problems. That said, he’s not a rim protector. Kris Humphries brings a lot of effort and can defend in space, but he’s also not a dominant defensive presence.

Johnson has to figure out how to put all the pieces together for a team that has no real time together, and has to do it immediately. He’s going to need a lot from Gerald Wallace, almost asking Wallace to do what Andre Iguodala did for the Sixers the last few years. It’s building a strong defense in a defensive-centric conference from non-defensive-focused players who haven’t spent any time together. But if he can make it work, the Nets have the offensive firepower to shoot their way to a high seed in the East.

2. Joe Johnson must learn to live without the ball: For years, Johnson has operated in an ISO-heavy offense in Atlanta where he was allowed to go one-on-one (or one-on-three) at any moment. Now he has to work off-ball because Deron Williams will be the maestro most of the time. He needs to set good screens for the wing pick-and-pop and take advantage of the defense not being prepared for his cuts and catch-and-shoot opportunities. This isn’t to say that Johnson won’t isolate, he will, and Johnson will provide him with those opportunities. But the Nets will be at their best when they employ the tactics that have made the other “super teams” effective, by using their talent to create constant dilemmas for the defense on who to guard, and then creating open looks for star players. Johnson could have the best season of his career if he adjusts to that.

3. Brook Lopez has got to do his thing: Lopez was among the players on the annual “(X Player) got how much money?!” list, but the truth is that he’s a top offensive center in this league (when healthy). He has terrific range, footwork, touch, court awareness and finishing ability (when healthy). Lopez has true size at the position, and if defenses are sagging off of him to guard the Nets’ perimeter weapons with help defense, Lopez is absolutely going to feast (if he’s healthy). You seeing a pattern, yet?

He’s going to get a ton of opportunities, and he’ll be the third best offensive weapon on the team. But more importantly, the Nets desperately need him to improve his rebounding. There are a lot of reasons listed why Lopez’ rebounding fell off the map. The mono and injuries are a good one. But his issues with Avery Johnson should also be noted. He’s got to show a re-commitment to the glass because the Nets are going to need it, even with Humphries on the floor. Lopez has to become an all-around center this year and there is absolutely zero time for him to develop into it any more.

What one thing should scare Nets fans? That these players are not considered elite outside of Williams, and yet the Nets spent a fortune on them. Johnson is a perennial All-Star, but he’s not considered in the top three of shooting guards, when shooting guards is the weakest position in the league at the moment. Lopez comes with a host of concerns. Humphries brings production and effort but has always thrived on losing teams, which can be a worrisome sign. (But would you rather he have struggled on a poor team?).  And Wallace is a one-time All-Star who is dependent on his athleticism and is starting to creep up the age ladder at 30. This is not a superstar team on the level of Boston, Miami, L.A., but they’re paying Brewster’s millions towards the club not just this year but for the next four years, really. If the combination of players isn’t right, it could be a disaster they can’t pull out of, and could make for an ugly situation.

Alternative option: If the past two years of Deron Williams’ play has not been an aberration but a legitimate slide in effectiveness.

How it likely works out: Just fine. Look, Deron Williams, when initiated, is one of the top five point guards in the league and on any given night can look like a top-two point guard (at least). He’s a great defender, a good team leader, a versatile offensive player, and an all-around stud. Joe Johnson is, in all honesty, one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, something he almost never gets credit for. And while the dribble-dribble pull-up jumper act gets old, he can still have nights where he takes over. This is the most talent he’s played with since Phoenix (and those Hawks teams were no joke), and he’s got a real opportunity to take his name to the national stage, finally. Wallace is an all-around monster in terms of what he does end to end and Lopez is a fantastic weapon (when healthy). They still have MarShon Brooks they added versatile forwards, and Avery Johnson did coach a Finals team.

They have all the talent in the world. And talent matters in this league. The odds of this being an unmitigated disaster are minuscule. The worst case scenario for them is that they end up on the bottom of the Knicks-Nets-Sixers lump, or that someone gets injured and the thing falls apart. But there’s just too much talent to believe that will happen. This is a team with loads of talent and players that do understand how to play in a team concept, no real divas on this squad. It’s going to be a good team, a very good team, maybe even a borderline-great team.

It’s just not a title contender, and that’s OK.

Prediction: 47-35. That’s right, I’m copping out and putting them with the same record we slapped on New York and the Sixers. The margin of error here is honestly three wins, as any of those three teams could hit 50 win and any of them could wind up just two games over .500. We have to see how it works out. It wouldn’t shock me to see the Nets run up a huge regular season record, though, and land in the top three in the East should the Central division struggle. But coming in just a hair over .500 isn’t out of the question, just because it’s a lot of new faces trying to get on the same page without elite talent outside of Williams. So we land at 47 wins, and for a franchise as bad as the Nets have been (see: vomit) over the past few years, that’s a great start to a new era in Brooklyn.

Wednesday And-1 links: Who are the NBA’s most traded players?

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics, Game 2
Leave a comment

Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like Linsay Lohan likes getting arrested.

• Who are the most traded players in NBA history? Great post over at NBA’s All Ball blog by Micah Hart, and I was surprised to learn Sam Cassell was only tied for second.

• The Brooklyn Nets will be the focus of the next season of “The Association,” which is NBA TV’s attempt at a “Hard Knocks” style show. It doesn’t work as well for two key reasons. One, in the NBA contracts are guaranteed and by the time camp opens you know at least 13 of the guys on the roster, so the whole cut down drama is gone. Maybe there is a fight for one last roster spot, maybe, but even then you usually know the outcome beforehand. Second, the show is produced by the league not HBO, so the stuff that may not put a player/organization in the best light is edited out of The Association. I love Hard Knocks, The Association is just not as compelling. But it’s not bad either, and the Nets should be a good follow.

• Shawne Williams wants to come back to the Knicks, but the Knicks aren’t interested.

• Along those same lines, veteran Ricky Davis has been working out with the Suns but is not going to catch on in Phoenix.

• Andrew Bynum is selling a lot of tickets in Philly. Well, his presence is selling tickets, he himself is not working out of a cubical spending his day on the phone.

• Great read on MarShon Brooks as he heads into his second season.

• Pat Riley has a new $11 million pad in Miami Beach to live in. It’s good to be the king.

Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel speculates if the Jazz do ever agree to a buyout with Raja Bell the Heat might well be interested in picking him up.

• Mavericks rookie Jared Cunningham is over the hamstring issue that kept him out of Summer League.

• The Grizzlies have waived D.J. Kennedy, who they got as part of the Jeremy Pargo deal but was never really in their plans.

• Check out the new Spurs alternate gray uniforms. I kind of like them.

• New Raptor Jonas Valanciunas jokes around about saving money.

• Veteran forward Brian Cook and the Wizard agreed to a non-guaranteed deal, which is really just a camp invite.

• Solomon Jones will be in camp with the Phoenix Suns.

• Trey Gilder is expected to get a Jazz training camp invitation (but he would be camp fodder).

• Guard Armon Johnson and swingman DeQuan Jones will be in Magic training camp.

Our best to UNC coach Roy Williams. Get well.

Is this a glimpse of the new Jay-Z inspired Nets uniforms?

via Instagram

We will find out Friday what the Nets official uniforms look like, but this leaked photo gives us a pretty good idea.

I like what Jay-Z has done here (he was the guy behind the look). It’s simple, it’s clean, it’s classic. It is something that matches well with a Yankees hat (which Jay-Z believes he made famous, not that Ruth guy).

We will see if this is official or not, but it looks pretty official (and looks like NBA 2K13 screen shots), so I bet this what Deron Williams is wearing opening night (that is his number).

Hat tip to Nets Daily for finding this leak (which may be from someone with adidas, notice their logo on the shoulder).