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New Jersey may get an NBA team again, but it's not the one you think

When the New Jersey Nets left for Brooklyn after the 2011-12 season, the state, and specifically Governor Chris Christie, wished good riddance to its pro basketball franchise. 

The IZOD Center in East Rutherford has  remained merely as a relic of the past. It's been utilized by studios for workspace and the filming sets to the highest bidder including the zombie classic series, The Walking Dead, among others. 

Now, an existing NBA franchise may look to relocate across state lines and into the Garden State. 

That team, the Philadelphia 76ers, already has its training facility located in Camden, New Jersey. 

With strong opposition to build a arena in Center City Philadelphia, the state of New Jersey is making a major push for a proposed 1.3 billion arena project to call New Jersey home. 

There's no clear indication that a move is imminent, but New Jersey becoming an NBA city again would be a major development. 

 The Internet, and specifically X(formerly Twitter), have run wild if there's a potential name change. Among them: The Jersey Sixers, Philadelphia Jerseys and perhaps the best of the bench-the Philadelphia 76ers of New Jersey.

This is certainly a story for many in the tristate to keep a close eye on. 

Brooklyn needs to build a bridge and get over Mikal


Mikal Bridges is a New York Knick. The supposed centerpiece of a Nets post-Big Three era is now a distant memory. 

Sean Marks built a warchest of picks and capitalized on the Knicks overpaying for a zero-time All-Star. 

The Nets will be in the Cooper Flag sweepstakes. That means plenty of losing and therein lottery balls hopefully bouncing their way. 

In the meantime, the Knicks will be looking to dethrone a Celtics team that just inked Jayson Tatum to the richest contract in league history and has all of it's starters and key reserves locked up for at least the next few years. 

The Sixers added Paul George, Caleb Martin and Andre Drummond to a core of a rising Tyrese Maxey, Joel Embiid, and Kelly Oubre. 

The Bucks and Pacers will look to be a factor, while Miami can never be discounted with Jimmy Butler and Erik Spoelstra.

The Knicks have a pathway to the finals, but after losing Isaiah Harkenstein, there's a glaring need for them at backup center. 

The Bridges trade will be a constant talking point in the Big Apple, but while the Knicks will have the pressure of being winners in the short-term, the Nets can patiently wait for draft picks, the right free agents and trade opportunities to come across Marks' desk.

Tsai's minority ownership sale to Koch's start of something bigger

 All big things start small. When the New Jersey Nets were owned by YankeesNets LLC in the early 2000's, there was a New York City real estate mogul that threw his hat in the ownership ring.

His name: Bruce Ratner. He's the main impetus for the Nets moving to Brooklyn and he used the deep pockets of then minority owner Mikhail Prokhorov in 2010 to help make it happen two years later.  

Prokhorov made big championship promises and mortgaged the future to chase said dreams. Once that endeavor failed, Prokhorov accomplished his mission of moving his Russian financial assets over to the United States and sold a majority stake in the team to current owner Joe Tsai in 2017. 

Two years later, Tsai took full ownership control and now five years after that has sold a 15 percent stake in the team to Julia Koch of the notorious Koch family for a whooping $6 billion valuation.

Are we sensing a pattern here? 

Anytime the Nets have had a minority owner the last few decades, that said party ends up taking full control of the team.

Expect that with the vast family fortune that the Koch family has amassed that's it's only a matter of time before Tsai sells.

Tsai has multiple business ventures outside of the Nets that command his time and attention. There have been multiple superstars that bailed on the franchise with him at the helm.

I don't think Nets fans would be sad to see him go. Both the Tsai's and Koch's have skeletons in their closets, but the former has had a brutal ownership tenure.

The question is not if, but when there is another ownership change in Brooklyn. 

Knicks traded for the wrong former Net


The New York Knicks went all in on the wrong star. Actually, Mikal Bridges has never been an All-Star and probably never will be one. 

But the fact remains the same, Bridges was not the right move for James Dolan's Knicks.

The superstar the Knicks actually needed was former Brooklyn Net savior turned John Hancock, Kevin Durant.

There have been multiple reports that the Suns were willing to move off Durant and adding him to the Knicks core might make them a title favorite. 

Given his age, Durant may actually cost fewer draft picks than Bridges. 

Now, Isaiah Harkenstein will likely go to the highest bidder after the Knicks locked up OG Anunoby to a four-year, $213 million contract.

Durant to the Knicks would have been scary hours at MSG, but I guess we'll never know. 

Nets trail only this one team in future draft assets


The Brooklyn Nets have an embarrassment of future first round picks. In fact, they have 13 first rounders between the 2025 and 2031 NBA Drafts.

And guess what? More could be on the way.

Dorian Finney-Smith is a highly coveted player across the league and he might possibly net Brooklyn at least another future first rounder.

Cam Johnson is a valuable 6-foot -8 wing with accuracy from long range. Teams may look to attached a future first round pick to any deal where he's included.

Don't forget expiring contracts in Ben Simmons and Dennis Schröder. Teams that are looking to clear salary cap space next summer to make a play for a big free agent, will find those two players'contracts useful. 

When all is said and done, Brooklyn may come close to Sam Presti and Oklahoma City's ridiculous draft stock.

Nets fans are fully embracing the rebuild and Sean Marks is now well armed to build a long-term contender in Brooklyn. 

Nets' extension eligible scoring threat primed for career year


The Brooklyn Nets doled out a four -year, $100 million contract extension for big man Nic Claxton this past week. 

Brooklyn's center is entering his fifth year since being drafted with the Nets and will be here for the foreseeable future. 

The Nets have a young, dynamic scorer that is due for an extension, Cam Thomas. 

Thomas may very well compile serious scoring numbers with the Nets rebuild underway and no bonafide scorers on the roster. 

Thomas is entering the final year of his four-year rookie deal. Thomas will turn 23 this year and averages 22.5 points per game last season in an expanded role in the Nets offense.

With Thomas likely handed the keys to the team, expecting him to knock on the door or blast through the 30 point per game threshold is realistic. 

Sean Marks' intentions are always shrouded in mystery, so he could very well be in talks behind the scenes to lock things up long-term. 

Until an official report of an extension comes through, if Thomas starts the season without the extension, it may end up costing Brooklyn a pretty penny after he puts up career numbers in 2024-25. 

Knicks gave Nets' GM 'get out of jail free card'

 The Brooklyn Nets were headed nowhere fast. With Mikal Bridges as the supposed building block of the franchise, the Nets stumbled to a 32-50 record with Bridges looking lackluster throughout stretches of this past season. 

Some speculated that the NBA's Iron Man was wearing down with his consecutive games streak reaching ridiculous heights. In hindsight, Bridges joins a list of other NBA divas that simply wanted to take the easy road out and join his Villanova teammates across the East River at MSG. 

General manager Sean Marks was being harpooned by his own fan base for not flipping Bridges immediately upon the trade with Phoenix last year to teams that were apparently offering four first round picks.

Marks made his fifth coaching hiring in Brooklyn this summer by tabbing Jordi Fernandez as the man in charge. 

Nets fans were not sold on Bridges and unsure what superstar wanted to join Brooklyn after the big three exodus of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. 

Marks was public enemy number one alongside Joe Tsai, but then Knicks GM handed them a lifeline. 

The Knicks sent Bojan Bodganovic, four unprotected first-round picks, a 2025 protected first-round pick, a pick swap and future two second-round picks.

Bridges will form the Villanova Knicks to try and chase a title. 

Meanwhile, they overpaid grossly for a player that has never made an All-Star appearance and the Nets get out of NBA purgatory.

If the Knicks capitalize on this three to four year window with a championship, then it was all worth it. 

If not, the Nets may just use the treasure trove of picks to build a homegrown title contender in the years ahead.