There is another summer of major renovations coming to Madison Square Garden — which means the NBA Draft is on the move again.
It’s returning to New Jersey and the Prudential Center. Even though the NBA isn’t.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker tweeted this Monday:
Thrilled 2 announce #Newark will host the #NBAdraft + Fanfest for 2nd year in a row @PruCenter June 28th!
This means David Stern will be booed, Adam Silver cheered and Anthony Davis will be the first to walk up to the podium in a building the NBA is ditching after the season. The league has not officially confirmed the draft news yet, we should add.
The Prudential Center has been home to the Nets the past two seasons as a stopover between the Meadowlands and Brooklyn, where they will play next season. Booker has talked about trying to get another team in the center after this season, but the building has not exactly drawn raves from NBA players this season. Plus, getting a team to move anywhere is hard unless you are a billionaire.
The draft itself should be interesting, however, with what is considered one of the deepest crop of players in years.
When the Nets announced a relocation to the Prudential Center, it was largely seen as an addition by subtraction. You subtract the IZOD Center and you add an arena that isn’t referred to as something resembling a trash compactor. But other than that, there wasn’t much to get excited about in a relocation to the good city of Newark.
Or, so we thought.
Shaquille O’Neal, who you may remember from such films as “Kobe, Tell Me How Continued Relevance Tastes” and “I’ve Been Known To Do Things When Mad, Like Bring Little To Nothing To A Team’s Championship Contention” told the New York Post that he would consider the Nets a possible target for his free agent relocation this summer.
Not exactly the big name free agent the Nets are hoping for.
Still, one of Shaq’s reasons for considering the future-Brooklyn squad is their current residency in Newark, which Shaq calls his hometown. So Newark’s got that going for them. And hey, Shaq thinks so much of Brick City that he thinks the Nets shouldn’t even bother relocating to Brooklyn.
While the lunacy of that statement is for another time, you’ve got to wonder if the Nets will have any interest in the big man at all. They have one of the best centers in the league in Brook Lopez. Shaq has never been, nor will ever be, a bench player. Which would mean a move to power forward for Lopez, and that’s not ideal.
Shaq is one of the best players of all time, but sometimes you can not go home again.
The Nets are, well, you know.
And in these tough economic times, for a fanbase that’s never been exactly astounding in attendance even in the best of times, the Nets have been forced to resort to… unorthodox methods for boosting attention for the team.
First they’ve managed to get minority owner Jay-Z (or as his friends like to call him, Shawn Carter, or as I like to call him, HOVA) involved, giving away tickets to the upcoming Jay-Z concert at the IZOD center just for some social media dedication. No word on if LeBron James will be in attendance (joke).
But that’s not all! If you enter into their special sweepstakes, brought to you by Domino’s, you could actually have your pizza delivered by
an NBA a Nets player! It’s unknown at this time if Chris Douglas-Roberts or Terrence Williams will tweet bitterly about you after delivering your pizza.
All jokes aside, and there are many of them, the Nets are in a rough spot, with transitioning ownership, a terrible team, and a waiting game for this summer’s free agency, not to mention a pending move to the Prudential Center and then Brooklyn. Their promotions team is still trying new things to keep people aware of the team, and that’s to be admired. Imagine what they could do with an actual team.
The New Jersey Nets will become the Brooklyn (INSERT BRANDING HERE) in 2012. But until then, they need somewhere else to play, as the IZOD center is widely referred to as “a dump.”
So they’re headed to Newark, to play at the Prudential Center. Some of the advantages of the move are as follows:
- Closer to the train to allow easier access from The City via public transportation.
- Nicer arena, which could be used to lure free agents prior to the move to Brooklyn.
- Shaquille O’Neal once wrote a song about Newark.
- It’s not the IZOD Center.