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Showing posts with label NBA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NBA. Show all posts

With Kyrie contract drama in the books, now Sean Marks' real works begins

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 .

Could Nets do unthinkable and trade Kyrie for Harden?


Before you head for the comments and call foul on this idea, I promise there is a shred of logic. There's been a lot of noise regarding the Nets ongoing negotiations with Kyrie Irving on a long-term deal. While many leaks, mainly from Kyrie's camp, are intimating that Irving has a wishlist of teams he'd consider destinations via the sign-and-trade route. 

If Marks let's Irving walk to a team with cap space or Irving takes considerably less money to join a contender, Kevin Durant could be soon out the door behind him by way of a trade request.

Perhaps somewhat surprising is that the Philadelphia 76ers are among the squads Irving would consider if he leaves Brooklyn. Not many teams have the cap space to sign Irving outright, so they'd need to have the Nets' help facilitate a sign and trade scenario to make things work.

In the most ironic twist if fate you could ever envision, what if James Harden, became part of a package back to Brooklyn and Irving to the City of Brotherly love?

We all know how much Daryl Morey loves Harden, but even he sees the player is not what he once was in his prime. However, with Durant as the top scoring options, surrounded by 3-point shooting and Simmons potentially being a playmaker, Harden might be a better fit than most think.

It's clear that the two wouldn't coexist as teammates anymore, but if the financials line up and Kevin Durant has his old running mate back alongside Ben Simmons, who's to say it couldn't work?

Durant was clearly bitter about Harden's abrupt exit from the Nets as he didn't buy I'm to Steve Nash's offensively philosophy that was coordinator by former assistant coach, now with the Lakers, Jordan Ott. 

The Nets hired Igor Kokosov, Jason Kidd's offensive guru in Dallas to head up play calling on the offensive side, an offense that was too isolation heavy and Durant reliant last year.

The most likely scenario is that Brooklyn runs it back with Durant, Irving and a potentially healthy Simmons. It's a dark horse scenario that is getting little attention, but stranger things have happened around these Brooklyn Nets.

If Nets let Kyrie walk, KD's days in Brooklyn will be numbered


Don't forget, without Kyrie Irving, there is no Kevin Durant. Case closed. As much as an enigma as Irving is and the headaches he's caused the fan base, management and the coaching staff, he was the main recruiter bringing Durant to Brooklyn.

Growing up a Nets fan in West Orange, New Jersey, Irving claimed the New Jersey Nets as his hometown team. Irving marveled at the Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin squad that clinched back to back NBA Finals berths in 2002 and 2003.

After starring alongside LeBron James to bring a title to his hometown of Akron, Ohio, Irving had a special motivation to bring a first Larry O'Brien trophy to Nets fans in the New York metropolitan area and Brooklyn.

After a honeymoon period during the 2019 summer, Irving has played in 103 of 226 regular season games, while the super team in Brooklyn has delivered just one playoff series win together.

Although Durant signed a four-year contract extension in the summer of 2021, if the Nets elect to allow Irving to test free agency, they run the risk of infuriating No. 7.

Contract negotiations are ongoing between Irving's camp and the Nets, but the two sides have yet to come to an agreement. Irving has a player option he can exercise before June 29 to play on a one-year option. Irving can also elect to become a free agent if contract talks fall apart in Brooklyn. While that's a possible but unlikely scenario, the Nets want to avoid it at all costs as Durant will most assuredly be unhappy with his partner in crime playing elsewhere.

While Irving is looking for a four or five-year deal, Brooklyn is likely countering in the 2-3-year range with invectives for games played and playoff benchmarks, likely even triggering a one-year team option tacked on at the end.

The public nature of these contract talks will cause unrest in Nets' World, but as much frustration as Irving has caused, the price Brooklyn will pay to let him walk will be catastrophic with the possiblity of Durant demanding a trade.

KD calls sour grapes on Barkley for questioning legitimacy of his titles

 Kevin Durant and Charles Barkley don't pull any punches when exchanging blows through the media.

This time, Durant counted Sir Charles' haymaker when the NBA Hall of Famer insinuated that the old era of NBA players will only respect him even he's the main guy on a championship team.


Strangely, Durant brings up the financial spoils that the modern day NBA player enjoys compared to those who played in the 1990's.

 Barkley is merely talking about titles in his tirade and not necessarily the bloated contracts awarded to the game's superstars.

Durant is not solely to blame for the player empowerment era where super teams are the norm. 

Having been in Golden State with Steph Curry for three finals appearances and two rings, Durant now has added pressure to win a title as the man, on the heels of Curry winning without him.

Kyrie's camp flexing negotiating muscle in stalled contract talks with Nets


Kyrie Irving is holding the Nets franchise hostage again. This time, it's not for a refusal to comply with local vaccine mandates, but to tease the idea of testing free agency if long-term contract talks fall apart with Brooklyn.

Shams Charania is reporting the two sides have reached an impasse and Irving's camp has listed the Lakers and Knicks as potential landing spots for the superstar point guard if he does test free agency.

Irving is chasing a supermax deal, one that could land him a starting salary of $45.2 million for 2022-23.

In three seasons in Brooklyn, Irving has only played in 103 out of 226 possible regular season contests for a multitude of reasons from personal to vaccine intelligibility, unexcused absences and injury.

It's hard to even argue with Sean Marks and company being reticent in forking over a haul and hitch their wagon to a player who has been out of the lineup more than he's been in it.

Irving, even when he's been away from the team, has been a major distraction, leaving his teammates to answer for why he's been missing in action for large chunks of the year.

Ultimately, once the posturing from each side and battle for leverage plays out, it's more likely than not Irving remains in Brooklyn, but perhaps the Nets need to call Irving's free agent bluff by still holding firm at the negotiating table.


Richard Jefferson: KD's next title 'most important one', thinks 'he will get it done' with Nets

Richard Jefferson knows a thing or two about playing in NBA Finals. He played in two with the New Jersey Nets and two with the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning the 2016 Larry O'Brien Trophy. 

  The all-time Net great compared LeBron James winning the title in his hometown in 2016, Steph Curry winning his fourth ring and first finals MVP this June, with how Kevin Durant will feel when he climbs that NBA mountaintop in Brooklyn. Brooklyn took a major step back last year with a part-time, unvaccinated Kyrie Irving causing a major distraction, while a disgruntled James Harden demanded a trade out of town.

Durant missed large chunks of the year with a sprained left MCL, while Ben Simmons, the centerpiece of the Harden trade never took the court with the Nets and underwent off-season back surgery.

It's looking like Brooklyn's championship window is shrinking, but in Jefferson's estimation, Durant will still get the job done that he and Irving wanted to accomplish when they teamed up in Brooklyn in the summer of 2019. 

A championship with the Nets would all but cement Durant as not only an all-time great player, but put him rightfully on the Mount Rushmore of NBA legends.

Nets' former coach Atkinson turns down Hornets' job, remains with GSW

 In a stunning move, Golden State assistant coach Kenny Atkinson has reversed course after being named the next head coach this past week of the Charlotte Hornets and decided to stay in the Bay Area.

The former Nets head man was a hot name on the head coaching market after an abrupt ending to his tenure as head coach that ran for three seasons in Brooklyn.

 Atkinson had an opportunity to take over a talented, but young roster on Charlotte with LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges headlining a talented roster.

While an opportunity to chase back to back titles with a Warriors squad looking to write a second chapter to their dynasty, Atkinson's decision comes as a shock for a man who is well deserving of a second opportunity as a head coach in the league.

Nets among oddsmakers favorites to win 2023 NBA title

According to Draft Kings Sportsbook, the Nets, Warriors, Celtics and Clippers have identical odds to hoist the Larry O'Brien next season. It's pretty shocking that the oddsmakers are so bullish on a Nets squad with so many question marks. Kyrie Irving is likely but not guaranteed to remain in Brooklyn as he can exercise a player option. But the two sides have yet to agree to a long-term extension ahead of the June 30 deadline.
Steve Nash has been a punching bag for the fan base and if the Nets get off to a slow start to the season, calls for his firing will grow even louder. 

Not to mention Ben Simmons hasn't played in an NBA game since June of 2021. Throw into the mix that the supporting cast around Irving and Kevin Durant could look vastly different as virtually all of Sean Marks' off-season additions didn't finish the year in a Nets' uniform. Seth Curry and Joe Harris will be returning from ankle surgery, while Mills has a player option he can exercise this month and Andre Drummond is a free agent. 

 Sounds like a heck of a lot of moving parts and more questions than answers for a supposed title favorite.

Nets' owner has hilarious reaction to 'Fake Klay Thompson' Banned by GSW


If you haven't heard about the antics of "Fake Klay Thompson" by now, you're missing out.

Prior to Game 5 at Chase Center between the Warriors and Celtics, YouTuber Dawson Gurley, otherwise known as Big Daws, waltzed right through security dressed in a full uniform as a Klay Thompson doppelganger.

Passing through five levels of security, including a metal detector, Big Daws made his way through the bowels of the arena and onto the court to get in some pregame shooting practice.

Finally, after doing everything but actually entering the locker room and playing in the game, Dawson was questioned by security about his credentials and only then was politely escorted out of the building.

To Dawson's dismay, he later received a letter from Warriors security banning him for life from games. While the man everyone knows as "Big Daws" noted that he actually paid $10,000 for game tickets and was never asked to show an ID when he impersonated Thompson.

It was no joking matter for the YouTube prankster, but Nets' owner Joe Tsai added a comedic twist to the whole ordeal.

Tsai's witty reply will draw a few laughs, but until the Nets get their own house and roster in order, they will continue to be the butt of NBA pundits' jokes.

Durant pushes back on critics questioning his leadership ability


Kevin Durant is the kind of player that lets his play do the talking, He's not the "ra-ra" type to give fiery pregame speeches nor is he known to get in his teammates' faces for making a mistake.

So, of course on the heels of a heroic playoff performance from his former teammate, Steph Curry, the Durant haters were out challenging his leadership capabilities.

The Brooklyn Nets superstar isn't afraid to mix it up with detractors on Twitter by setting the record straight.

One of the more interesting tidbits from Durant came when he mentioned that the team's coaches and assistant coaches were the primary source of leadership in his estimation.

That shouldn't necessarily be a slight to Steve Nash, but questions are mounting about his ability to reel in an non-committal Kyrie Irving and run an offense that maximizes his roster's talent and a defense that masks the team's deficiencies.

Only time will tell if Durant or Nash will spearhead a Brooklyn title push, but the more success  Golden State and Curry have, the more critics will attack Durant and the Nets.

How Steph's historic night at age 34 might inspire Durant

When the 2022-23 NBA regular season gets underway, Kevin Durant will have just turned 34 years of age. Still in his prime, but with a likelihood that some slippage in durability and explosiveness will start to rear its head in the coming seasons.
Look no further than Steph Curry's monumental performance to even the series with the Celtics by dropping 43 points in a do-or-die scenario. Even more impressive is the fact that Curry joined some elite company alongside Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only three players to score 40-plus points in the NBA Finals at 34 or older. That performance by Curry should light a fire under Durant and in some way inspire the superstar to maintain confidence he can stay on top of his game as he approaches his mid-30's. The reality is, the Brooklyn Nets title window is here and now. 

Unless unforseen transactions bring top level talent to help Durant, Kyrie Irving and newly acquired point guard Ben Simmons, the Nets need to clinch an NBA Finals berth in the next two years for this era of Nets'basketball not to be considered a failure.

 All told, Curry and Durant have a mutual respect, but just like the Michael Jordan and Larry Bird McDonald's commercials that ran in the early 90's, they also believe "anything you can do, I can do better."

Durant Revealed as Statistically Best NBA Player of All-Time

Kevin Durant is often lauded as one of the greatest players in NBA history, but a new study by The Game Day concludes he is actually the greatest of All-Time (GOAT), statistically speaking. The study uses several metrics to reach this conclusion including total number of rebounds and assists to turnovers and personal fouls and averaged them out over the total number of years played.

Durant, followed by Nikola Jokic and Larry Bird ranked highest on the GOAT meter. Honorable mention included LeBron James ranked No. 6 and Michael Jordan No. 10. The full study can be found here.

It's unlikely this will once and for all put an end to the NBA GOAT debate, but its data-centric approach will at least be a talking point for fans.

KD scoffs at his ranking among NBA's all-time one-on-one scorers


Kevin Durant is no stranger to mixing it up with reporters, fans and trolls on Twitter. The Brooklyn Nets superstar has had plenty of time on his hands since his club was swept out of the first round of the playoffs by Boston.

Durant has been the recipient of plenty of bashing, but even when high praise was sent his way, the NBA legend took it as a backhanded compliment.

 Perhaps Durant is looking at this simply for what it is, praising his one-on-one ability and diminishing his role as a team leader and player. Or perhaps he thinks he's the best player scorer of all-time.

Only Durant knows the answer to these questions and the all-time great comparisons are for the fans and media to debate and players to roll their eyes at.


Durant has been subjected to a lot of trash talking regarding his role on the Warriors back to back NBA Finals winning clubs and whether he or Steph Cherry was the true leader and number one threat to opponents.

That debate will rage on, but it's pretty clear through three games that the Warriors could use Durant as they are in danger of going down 3-1 in the finals against Boston.

Draymond: 'When KD was here, our offense still started with Steph'


Draymond Green is a ride or die teammate, just ask Steph Curry. After a Twitter debate that raged on between Green and Kevin Durant regarding whether Curry or The Slim Reaper faced more double teams, the Warriors big man wanted to set the record straight in the NBA Finals Game 2 postgame presser.

Shockingly, Green sticks with his initial assertion that Curry is the draw that stirs Golden State's drink, while Durant, who is this era's most lethal scorer, did not get the type of attention that the Warriors point guard received from opposing defenses.

It's hard to argue with Green, as his Warriors evened the series against the Celtics in San Francisco, not without a few chippy moments from the fiery power forward.

Until Durant and the Brooklyn Nets take the court next season, the debate will make waves on NBA Twitter, but for a Golden State squad looking to capture a title, it's a bit odd for one of the team's leaders to be fixated on the role of a former teammate who is no longer playing in the 2022 NBA playoffs.

Kyrie vows to work on strengthening his body this summer


In a live stream via twitch, Kyrie Irving was his own worst critic for disappearing in the final three games of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics.

 Irving, who of practices Ramadan, fasted from sunrise to sunset. This had very little impact on him in Game 1 of the 2022 NBA playoffs and during the prior year's playoff run in Brooklyn.


However, Irving appeared in only 29 regular season games after the team refused to let him be a part-time unvaccinated player, before relenting and allowing him to play in road games played outside of New York and Canada.

The Nets' point guard was mesmerizing in his short sample size during the regular season, but come playoff time against a physical and swarming Celtics' defense, Irving appeared physically worn down as a lack of regular game action and conditioning took its toll on him.

Irving's Twitch stream of his Nets' highlights is the clearest indication yet that he's reaffirming his commitment not only to Brooklyn, but to the game of basketball.

Unfortunately, fans have heard this before from Irving, so his words mean very little without action behind them.

Sean Mark and the Nets have yet to engage in serious contract negotiations to extend Irving and some reports indicate they're unwilling to sign him long-term given his wavering commitment to the club.

This will be an intriguing summer for Irving to show once and for all he's all-in to make a title push.


Nets' Big Three's have enjoyed very little playoff success dating back to 90s

 The Nets have a history of teaming up three All-Star caliber players without much playoff success.


Whether the New Jersey Nets assembled Derrick Coleman, Kenny Anderson and Drazen Petrovic in the 90's, Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson in the mid-2000's, the Brooklyn Nets assembled Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams in 2013-14 or the Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden led teams in 2021-22, astonishingly none of those talented squads advanced past the second round of the playoffs.

 It's pretty mind numbing to think rosters with many future Hall of Famers could fall incredibly short of playoff success, but if Nets' history teaches us anything, it's that the sum of the team's parts are greater than the whole.

Now, Brooklyn is adding Ben Simmons to a two-headed monster of Irving and Durant, clearly not dissuaded by what the franchise's  history is trying to tell them.

The Nets most successful run in the NBA came with Kidd's Cinderella squad grinding out wins with tough defense and opportunistic fast break offense. That style, philosophy and roster construction led to back to back NBA Finals Appearances and the most successful seasons the franchise has enjoyed since joining the NBA.

Look no further than the Celtics and Warriors, the top two defenses in the current NBA, to illustrate that defensive basketball is still at the heart of championship teams.

Sean Marks and company are already so far down the road with Irving, Durant and Simmons, it's going to be hard to pivot from what is being built here, but if history teaches them anything, they'll need something beyond overwhelming star power to build a team top to bottom capable of getting back to the NBA Finals.

Brooklyn needs to reestablish Nets' Culture Beyond Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving soap opera

In 55 seasons of Nets basketball there has never been as talented a duo as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving choosing to sign with the team. Most of the franchise's legendary players came either via trade: Julius Erving, Jason Kidd, Drazen Petrovic, Vince Carter, just to name a few or via the draft: Brook Lopez, Buck Williams, Derrick Coleman, Kenny Anderson, Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin among others. Never has a marquee free agent elected to sign with the Nets.
So when the dynamic duo of Irving and Durant selected to play in Brooklyn, it sent shockwaves throughout the NBA and certainly in Nets' World. Two players, still in the primes of their respective careers, aiming to bring the franchise its first ever title was a pipedream. Somewhere along with way, between prolonged absences from a supposed leader, star players playing both GM and coach, along with young assets that built an enviable culture sent packing to bring more seasoned players into the fold, everything went sideways.

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  The Nets culture is in trouble with questions left unanswered. Who is really calling the shots? Is it Sean Marks? Is it a collaborative effort with Durant and Irving? Is Steve Nash leading the huddle? Or in the player empowerment era are the players calling their own number? How much autonomy is Joe Tsai giving Marks to do his job effectively?

 The word culture is overused across all sports, but it's paramount to understand how Brooklyn went from a highly thought of and praised organization by other teams and their fans, into a laughingstock that basically put Irving and Durant in the driver's seat directing the trajectory of the club. The reality is Marks will need to regain full roster control and importantly leverage with Irving in potentially negotiating a long-term extension.

 Irving has shown a willingness to pay the ultimate price by missing games and in turn game checks and that has done nothing to disuade him from following his personal beliefs above the team's need for him to be available. While the Nets don't have a storied history littered with championships and a winning tradition, the fact of the matter remains the team played 52 seasons before Irving and Durant signed here and will play another 52 after both are either long retired or at other destinations. 

No two players, no matter how talented or earth shattering their decision to join the team can be, should be allowed to dictate the course of the franchise. Now is the time for Captain Marks to take control of this sinking ship and navigate it through rough seas and set a new course for the championship hungry squad to follow.

Celtics magical run making Nets sweep look better by the minute

When you're winless in the first round of the NBA playoffs, it's not often you'll have bouquets of flowers thrown in your direction. But when the team that swept you goes on to become Eastern Conference Champions and steals Game 1 of the NBA Finals on the road against this era's dynastic Warriors squad, it starts to raise some eyebrows.
The Nets fell victim to the closest sweep-point differential-wise, in NBA playoff history. Not a single Nets fan wants to hear it but the sweep was closer than meets the eye. Brooklyn had a tumultuous season with an NBA record 43 different starting lineups taking the court. 

A disgruntled James Harden forced his way out and the centerpiece of the trade with Philadelphia never made his highly anticipated Nets debut in the playoffs and underwent off-season back surgery.

Pre-order TODAY: A History of the Nets-From Teaneck to Brooklyn


Kyrie Irving played in only 32 games and Kevin Durant missed 27 games with a sprained left MCL. 

 When you look at the avalanche of problems, some self-inflicted and some out of the team's control, it's not shocking the Nets lost to a Celtics team that was the hottest in the league the second half of the regular season. Building chemistry and continuity with Brooklyn's big three, while Sean Marks will need to replace LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin with younger more versatile pieces this off-season. 

 On paper, a first round exit to an Atlantic Division rival never looks good, but given all the turmoil in Brooklyn and magical run that Boston is on, the Nets are not an that far off from returning into the championship conversation.

Kevin Durant takes aim at basketball pundits in latest Twitter rant

 Kevin Durant doesn't pull any punches when criticizing NBA media pundits and how they portray him and the league overall.

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In his latest exchange via Twitter, Durant calls out ESPN and FOXSports1 personalities for setting the game of basketball back due to how the game is covered.

The war of words didn't stop there, as Durant's assertion saw a strong response from one of the most recognizable and loudest NBA pundits out there. Leave it to Durant to get the last word in. The Brooklyn Nets star tweeted out a comical video clip to illustrate just how much the media's opinion matters to him.

This Brooklyn-Atlanta trade would transform underachieving Nets into true contenders next season

The Brooklyn Nets have an embarrassment of riches as far as perimeter shooting is concerned. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, Patty Mills and Joe Harris are all long-range snipers of the highest order. But are the Nets too perimeter oriented? Absolutely.
Brooklyn doesn't get to the free throw line with regularity, outside of Durant and Irving attacking the rim when they're able to split double-teams. Harris and Curry will both be coming off ankle surgery, while Mills showed that heavy minutes in a starting role wore him down in the second half of the 2021-22 NBA regular season. 

Pre-order TODAY: A History of the Nets-From Teaneck to Brooklyn

 Curry and Mills are both undersized and below average defenders that teams hunt in Steve Nash's switch happy scheme. Yes, Ben Simmons is expected to make his Nets' debut next season, but he's hardly a score-first point guard and shies away from going to the free throw line. Sean Marks needs to get creative this off-season and target a big man who can do it all: defend 1 to 5, shoot 3-pointers, rebound and attack the basket. With Trae Young carrying the scoring load, Atlanta slid down the Eastern Conference rankings this past season and has been rumored to shake things up. 

Pre-order TODAY: A History of the Nets-From Teaneck to Brooklyn

 Brooklyn could send Harris, Kessler Edwards and one of the future first round pick it obtained in the trade with Philly centered on Harden and Simmons. Edwards is a dynamite young player who will need more time to develop as 3-an-D option for Brooklyn, but the clock is ticking on Durant's prime with Irving as his likely running mate. 

 A starting five of Simmons, Irving, Curry, Durant and Collins with Bruce Brown, Andre Drummond and Mills as the first three options off the bench would instantly transform a Nets team lacking physicality and defensive toughness into a formidable squad. The Nets are likely losing both Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge this summer and getting a quality big still approaching the prime years of his career isn't something Marks and company should pass up.