Showing posts with label NBA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NBA. Show all posts
The Brooklyn Nets are fading fast with superstar Kevin Durant sidelined at least another two weeks and with Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons in and out of the lineup due to injury maintenance. Brooklyn lost Durant to an isolated MCL sprain in his right knee in what turned out to be a win over Miami on January 8. To that point, the Nets were eyeing a matchup with the defending Eastern Conference Champion Celtics on January 12, with a chance to win and take over first place in the conference and secure the NBA's best record. Three straight defeats later and with Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Cleveland all gaining ground, the Nets now sit in a virtual tie for fourth place in the East. How quickly things change in the NBA landscape. But with a little creative manuevering on the part of Sean Marks, the Nets can recharge and stop the sinking ship without Durant shouldering the scoring load. Unfortunately, after multiple ankle surgeries, Joe Harris' mobility is not where it once was and his shot making from 3-point range has been erratic this year. Patty Mills has been a consummate professional and locker room leader, but he's been relegated to reserve minutes if he even cracks into Vaughn's rotation. As for the Nets second-year guard Cam Thomas, he's a lethal scorer, but his defense, playmaking and overall awarness leave quite a bit to be desired at this point in his young career. Now the Nets have been burned by Danny Ainge before while he was in Boston managing the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry trade, so while Utah's GM may push for additional picks, the following makes sense for both clubs. With his team struggling to find an identity and its way without Durant, Marks will need to be active ahead of the trade deadline if he hopes to contend with the top clubs in the East.



For the first time since tweeting an apology for promoting an anti-semitic film, Kyrie Irving's latest tweet is letting fans know that he'll likely be back on the court sooner than later. Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai set forth six steps that Irving needed to take to be reinstated with the club. Assuming Irving satisfied those requirements, he will be eligible to play after serving is five game suspension.

While the tweet doesn't provide complete clarity, it is the clearest indication to date that there is a path forward for Irving with the Nets.

 

Doug Bearak


The Brooklyn Nets are making it impossible for even their own fan base to tolerate their complete chaos.

Steve Nash and the club mutually agreed to part ways on Tuesday, while former assistant Ime Udoka has been reportedly finalizing a deal with the team.

This comes on the heels of the bombshell report two months ago from the Celtics that Udoka had an consensual relationship with a female employee in Boston. Not many details have emerged from the report, but many believe it's a lot messier and uglier than it looks.

Before the Nets could complete damage control with Kyrie Irving, who took to Twitter and Instagram to promote a film based on a book with anti-semitic tropes, a coaching change was made.

Nash is out, Udoka is reportedly in and Irving is so far off scott free after double down on his support for a film that promotes hate speech.

It's the latest in a Brooklyn fiasco with Irving at the center of it all. In the interim, Jacque Vaughn has been named the interim head coach starting when the Nets host the Bulls Tuesday night.

To make matters worse, Ben Simmons will miss his second straight game after suffering an apparent knee injury. Since Irving and Durant's arrival, the Nets have been without a title and filled with drama, causing more headaches than triumphant moments for fans.

Things have been an on unmitigated disaster since 2019, so can you even blame Nets fans for turning their backs on this laughing stock of a franchise?




 So far, Ben Simmons looks like a player who hasn't played regular season basketball for over a year.

 

The Nets point guard wasn't acquired for his scoring prowess, but his offensive numbers are downright ugly.

Brooklyn was hoping that Simmons' defense, rebounding and playmaking would be a major asset, but on Wednesday night, Giannis Antetokounmpo played bully ball to the tune of 43 points and 14 rebounds as the Nets lost by 11 in Milwaukee.

Head coach Steve Nash was ejected in the third quarter after arguing a defensive foul call on Patty Mills. Simmons' rust and the Nets lack of overall offensive and defensive continuity have them sitting at the bottom of the Eastern conference at 1-3 to start the year.

 



Three games into the season the Brooklyn Nets sit at 1-2 with a lot left to be desired by their fan base.



The Nets allowed 130 points in a lopsided opening night home loss to New Orleans only to bounce back with a strong 109-105 win over Toronto last Friday night. Brooklyn's defensive deficiencies reared its ugly head again on Monday in Memphis as the Grizzles poured in 134 enroute to a 10-point win.

First year point guard Ben Simmons has fouled out in both the team's losses, while the offense has looked discombobulated with a rusty Simmons trying to find his niche.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Nets season has been the lack of defensive connectivity as opponents are scoring at will.

The Nets face perhaps their stiffest challenge yet as they tangle with the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

As Brooklyn aims to climb back in the win column, attention to detail and defense will go a long way and determining how far the Nets go this season. 


photo by Doug Bearak 



 The Nets had a successful Practice-in-the-Park session on Monday with a record of over 8,000 fans looking to catch a glimpse or a free t-shirt from their favorite player.


While the festivities appeared to be enjoyed by all, one fan video went viral as it caught Ben Simmons jacking up a haphazard jump shot that failed to catch iron.



 This drew more than a few snickers from Nets detractors and Simmons haters as Brooklyn's point guard looks to refine his less than stellar shooting stroke.

Head coach Steve Nash already told reporters this preseason that he won't need Simmons to shoot jumpers as his primary roles will be defending, rebounding and facilitating to Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the team's prolific scorers.

While Simmons' shooting deficiencies will draw laughs from the masses, the real concern after two preseason games is his lack of explosiveness after off-season back surgery and his mounting turnovers as he tries to get acclimated with his new teammates.




Nets fans aren't panicking just yet, but maybe they should be. 

After committing 26 turnovers and looking disjointed for a second straight outing in the preseason, Brooklyn looks to have more than a few kinks to work out ahead of the start of the regular season. 

 The Nets were outplayed in every facet by a Miami club that brought defensive physicality and sharp execution to the tune of a 109-80  drubbing.

Kevin Durant finished with 22 points and 4 rebounds, Ben Simmons 4 points, 4 assists, 10 rebounds and 6 careless turnovers. 

 Kyrie Irving sat out Thursday's contest, so Brooklyn was basically noncompetitive from the opening tip. Steve Nash has shifted away from isolation basketball to a more team centric approach predicated on ball movement and man movement. 

 Theoretically, this is the best adjustment the Nets can make, but through two preseason games a lot more has gone wrong than has gone right with the regular season opener less than two weeks away.

 

Photo by Andrew Bernstein

Photo by Andrew Bernstein

Some interesting news has been trickling out of the NBA commoner's office this week as the league may consider expanding into additional cities in the near future.

The Supersonics, who were stationed in Seattle from 1967-2008, could see a revival along with adding a club in the hottest growing market in the country in Las Vegas. 


With both cities being located in the Western market, a realignment of divisions would be in order to create even teams in both conferences.

LeBron James has thrown his hat in the ring and called for dibs on a potential Vegas club, while Adam Silver insists that the expansion still is years away.

The question many fans are wondering that followed the Nets in the Garden State is: what about New Jersey?

The Nets, who were founded in 1967 as the New Jersey Americans and played at the Teaneck Armory, spent one season there before moving to Long Island as the rebranded Nets starting in 1968.



The Nets then returned to Jersey in 1977, where they remained for the next 35 years until the move to Brooklyn in 2012.

The Nets had trouble drawing fans when stationed at the Meadowlands due to a lack of public transportation and area attractions in the swamp. The now -defunct Xanadu project lost funding during the Nets stay at the then-IZOD Center as it sat for years half-developed as an eyesore.

Now, the American Dream mall has been built with countless activities, along with a transit line to send fans to and from Secaucus Junction. All the infrastructure and amenities the Nets were hoping for during their stay in East Rutherford are now up and running.

The IZOD Center is still standing, even though it's not used for concerts or sporting events, just merely, filming for television and movies.

The reality is all the pieces are in place for New Jersey to make a bid for another team in the future. 

The question will remain if the politicians in office, lobbyists and pubic at large will make enough waves and show enough support to get the NBA and Silver's attention. A return of NBA basketball to the Garden State is viable, and a renaissance in the swamp is what many basketball diehards are rooting for and hoping for in the near future.



 


Without making any excuses for Steve Nash, who is entering his third year as Nets head coach, injuries, vaccine compliance and players in and out of the lineup have all been commonplace in Brooklyn since his arrival.

Brooklyn will need to find a happy medium  where it can manage its stars minutes, but build enough cohesion as an overall unit to form a powerful team.

Durant was overtaxed last season without Kyrie Irving for large chunks of the year and then James Harden after he jetted out of town.

The 34 year old Durant will need enough run with new teammates, but enough rest to stay fresh for a playoff push.

 Irving has also shown to be an injury prone player and was a shell of his former self in the playoffs when conditioning and fatigue impacted his performance beyond the play-in game and Game 1 against the Celtics.

The delicate balance will be a challenge for Nash as he'll also have a trio of veterans rehabbing their respective injuries in Joe Harris, Seth Curry and T.J. Warren.

Brooklyn may need to play deep into their bench in the early season until the big guns are fully healthy.

So while Nets fans want to see the fully healthy and committed version of this club playing day in and day out, Nash and Marks will certainly keep an eye on the biggest picture, that being keeping his stars healthy, but conditioned enough to compete for a championship come playoff time.



Photo by Doug Bearak


 Not much can be gleaned from NBA preseason action, unless of course certain things are completely egregious.

Tuesday night's 127-108 loss against the majority of Philadelphia's backups falls into the latter category.

With James Harden and Joel Embiid watching in street clothes, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris and a cast of reserves severely outplayed Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Joe Harris and Nic Claxton in the first quarter.



After going down 42-26 at the end of the first frame, Brooklyn showed some life in the second quarter, but a disjointed offense and lack of close-outs on defense put the Nets in a massive early hole they couldn't overcome.

The only flashes on brilliance came during the times the Nets were able to get defensive stops to produce easy transition points. 

But as far as half court offense and defensive rotations are concerned, Steve Nash's fingerprints were absent from the on-court product.

There have already been rumblings about Nash's job security this season and if the team continues this trend in the preseason and into the regular season, changes could be coming sooner than later in Brooklyn.

Durant's trade request this past June was made in part based on Nash's decision-making last season, Sean Marks' roster maneuvering and the overall trajectory of the franchise. Things cannot continue to go down this course because if they do, either Nash will be on the chopping block or Durant may ask out yet again.


Ben Simmons looked like a guy who hadn't played in an NBA game since June 20, 2021, when he took the floor on Monday night opposing his old squad, Philadelphia. With no Harden or Embid on the floor, the Sixers outscored the Nets 42-26 in opening quarter. Simmons was active on the boards and a willing passer, but misfired on both his free throw attempts and missed all his shot attempts outside the paint. The results were pretty much as expected for a player who has struggled to hit shots consistently from the field, but makes plays for others. 

 All told, the Nets were outplayed by Sixers reserves, but Simmons was able to shake off the rust as Brooklyn narrowed the gap to three points by halftime. 

 Head coach Steve Nash indicated that he won't need Simmons to shoot from the perimeter or do anything outside his comfort zone as the Nets have several prolific scorers on the roster to power their offense.

 Be careful what you tweet about Kevin Durant because he might just reply and roast you in front of a massive audience.

The Nets superstar took aim at a few random Twitter accounts nitpicking his place among NBA greats.


The chatter didn't stop there as Durant made a point of putting mere mortals in their rightful place yet again.


Durant is notorious for mixing it up with trolling fans on Twitter and while the Nets' leader is a surefire Hall of Famer, he's not all that thin-skinned when it comes to criticism.

As a public figure in the most esteemed basketball league in the planet, criticism is part of the job description. 


Durant can push back on all the casuals as much as he wants, but his play and the Nets' performance this year is the only thing that will ultimately impact his legacy.

 

O
Optimism is swirling in Brooklyn with Kevin Durant's trade request in the rearview, Kyrie Irving reaffirming his commitment to the franchise and Steve Nash patching his rocky relationship with the star duo. Perhaps you've followed the team since the move to Brooklyn in 2012? Maybe you go back to the early 1980's at Brendan Byrne Arena? Dare I say its inaugural year in 1967 at the Teaneck Armory? Whatever the case may be, Nets fans young and old, near and far, share these three fears this upcoming season. 

Durant will bolt when things get tough

 If the Nets start slow the griping and disenchantment with the franchise from its superstar player will rear its ugly head once again. Brooklyn faces a bevy of top playoff caliber opponents over its first 20 games and if things get off to a clunky started, the supposedly repaired rift between Steve Nash and Durant will see the light of day again. Durant will once again give Joe Tsai an ultimatum: "fire the coach or trade me."

  Kyrie will march to the beat of his own drum


 There always seems to be some kind of excuse for why Irving isn't on the court: nagging injuries, vaccine compliance issues, personal reasons or simply going AWOL without informing the team. It's a tired act for those around him and who root for him, and despite the Nets'point guard insisting he's aiming to play MVP caliber ball, most will only believe it when they see him play game in and game out. 

  Steve Nash's nonsensical coaching decisions 

 Whether it's refusing to play LaMarcus Alridge and largely benching Blake Griffin in the Nets'sweep at the hands of Boston, Nash doesn't have his players' or the fans' trust. Nash will be entering the third year at the helm in Brooklyn and while he's been dealt a chaotic hand with a rotating carousel of players due to trade requests, injuries and ineligibility, he has done little to instill any confidence in his handling of the roster.

 As the Nets embark on a quest for a title, these three ongoing fears and possible scenarios could very well derail a potential championship parade for the Nets and their fans.

The writing is on the wall that both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving might be playing elsewhere following the upcoming NBA season. Both players have flirted with the notion of calling other NBA cities home, while causing angst within the Nets' fan base along the way. Between Irving's long-term contract standoff, Durant's direct trade request to owner Joe Tsai and all of the noise and hoopla that come along with the two superstars, the act is growing tired.

 Management is fed up with the duo's antics and the two basketball savants don't want to relinquish any previously held control over the composition of the roster and staff. Brooklyn doesn't have a single divisional banner, 50-win season, conference title or NBA title to boast in the three years since both landed in the borough in 2019. 

 More wars have been won on Twitter than on the basketball court and what was supposed to amount to a dynamic team where both players cemented their legacy, has turned into a sideshow and utter disappointment for fans. 

 Starved for a title since the team's inception in 1967, the last two years should have seen the team knocking down that door with one of the most talented rosters ever assembled. Instead, a combination of injuries, non-compliance issues, infighting and all around drama has derailed the Brooklyn Express. 

 On the dawn of a new season, the Nets are still tinkering with this failed experiment to see if it can still yield the results many anticipated when the era first started. 

 While the Nets collective brain trust tries to assemble for possibly one last hooray, this is a stark reminder that this team is not the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. 

 This Brooklyn Nets team may go down in history for all the wrong reasons and it may be time for the organization to cut its losses if another June goes by without the bright lights blaring over center court on at Barclays Center
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The Nets will be celebrating 10 years since moving from New Jersey to Brooklyn this upcoming season, yet if the franchise's nomadic history tells us anything, it's that a permanent stay in the borough isn't necessarily all but guaranteed. With owner Joe Tsai accruing losses topping $100 million the last two seasons, the current business model has proven unsustainable. The Nets first failed Big 3 experiment came under a hasty owner in Mikhail Prokhorov mortgaging the future to obtain aging superstars. Flash forward to 2019 and two prime superstars dropped into Tsai and Sean Marks' laps during free agency and a third star required a haul of picks to assemble another doomed super team. With the possibility that both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving could be gone at the end of the upcoming season, how can Barclays Center remain a big draw? The venue already lost heaps of money on overpriced and underachieving players who could not stay healthy or eligible to play. Since their founding in 1967, the Nets have called eight different arenas home and if this era basketball goes up in flames, who's to say another move isn't in the offing? The franchise was already struggling to build a loyal season ticket base and with non-committal players as the faces of the franchise, fans aren't exactly lining up at the ticket office to part with their hard earned money. Anything short of an NBA Finals run in this the fourth year with Irving and Durant on the roster together, (Durant missed the 2019 season rehabbing from Achilles surgery), will put Tsai even further into the red and open up the possibility of yet another franchise move. Whether that means a return to Long Island at the brand new UBS Arena, a return to New Jersey at either the Prudential Center or Izod Center, is anyone's guess. Only this much is clear, through poor marketing efforts and even more underwhelming play in Brooklyn, Irving and Durant have the weight on the franchise resting squarely on their shoulders.

 Author Rick Laughland joined host Danielle McCartan on WFAN New York's overnight program to discuss the launch of his new book: A History of the Nets-From Teaneck to Brooklyn.

Nets History book author Rick Laughland on WFAN

Laughland talked about his inspiration for writing the book, the nomadic wanderings of the franchise and the improbable journey that brought the franchise to Brooklyn.


Laughland lists his top players on the Nets Mount Rushmore and whether there's a chance the Nets could find another home outside of Brooklyn at some point in the future.




 Kyrie Irving will need to show up and show out with the Brooklyn Nets this year if he's hoping to net the long-term contract he feels he deserves. 

Sean Marks and Joe Tsai were reluctant to dole out a mega deal for the talented superstar without assurances that he would be available and willing to play in the vast majority of games this year.

The contract standoff dominated the off-season chatter with Irving unexpectedly opting-in to his deal to stay with the Nets for at least the 2022-23 season.

All signs indicate that Irving is raring and ready to prove he naysayers wrong and let his play do the talking. Unfortunately for the superbly talented shooting guard, injuries, vaccine compliance issues and missing games for personal reasons have tarnished his reputation as one of the league's greats.

At age 30, Irving is approaching the prime years of his career and a crossroads where he'll either need to ball out or bail out with the Nets still setting their sights on an NBA title.

A disgruntled Kevin Durant has officially rescinded his trade request, but things can quickly go South for him and Irving if they don't start the season on a winning track. Durant's incessant tweeting and debating with fans makes for some entertaining drama, but if the Nets are a dysfunctional mess like they were a season ago, even the most staunch Durant and Irving supporters will start to turn on the dynamic duo.

Look for Irving to play inspired ball , but it still remains to be seen whether the commitment he's made to the team this off-season will stand the test of time and be sustained throughout the upcoming season. Durant is content enough now, but holding together a locker room with supersized, yet fragile egos will be a daunting task for Steve Nash and company.


 Kevin Durant raised hell this off-season by initiating a trade request to leave Brooklyn.

NBA free agency was dominated by where Durant would land and if the Nets would settle on just any old trade package to get rid of a disgruntled superstar.

In the end, the Nets remained steadfast in their resolve to only trade Durant if it was in the best interest of the team long and short term.

As teams started dropping out of the Durant sweepstakes with the Nets asking price understandably high, the market for the generational basketball talent dried up.

After meeting with owner Joe Tsai two weeks ago to reaffirm his trade request, news broke that Durant and the Nets had reconciled their differences.

Now with the season less than two months away, Durant will have plenty to prove in his quest to deliver Brooklyn its first title.



 The Brooklyn Nets have a nomadic history and author Rick Laughland joins host Rosanna Scotto and Actor Taye Diggs on FOX5TV's GoodDay New York, to discuss his latest book: A History of the Nets-From Teaneck to Brooklyn!







Kyrie Irving has elected to opt-in to his $37 million player option for the 2022-23 season after negotiations dragged Nets' fans to some dark places and played out publicly through the media. Sean Marks and Joe Tsai held firm and Irving at the end of the day bet on himself and remained steadfast in his four-year commitment to Kevin Durant and the Nets. The aggravating part about the whole scenario is that the week long drama sidetracked the front office from addressing other important components of the team's roster. Brooklyn still holds Bird Rights to Bruce Brown and Nicholas Claxton, thereby matching any team's offer, if Tsai is willing to go above the luxury tax threshold. There are a few free agent targets that make sense for the Nets, as they try to get more athletic wings and bigs that can play both sides of the floor. PJ Tucker, Otto Porter Jr and Gary Payton II are top of mind as unrestricted free agents. Andre Drummond is an unrestricted free agent and the Nets will need to determine whether he fits into the team's plans for this season. One star player who's been linked to the Nets is John Collins. Atlanta will likely command either Joe Harris or Nicholas Claxton with a combination of draft picks to make things work. It's never been more apparent than now that the Nets championship window is here and now. With Irving committed, or so we think, to the team for this upcoming season, Marks will earn his paycheck and make up for a subpar 2021-22 off-season with additional roster manuevering to position t.he team for a legitimate title run .
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