Showing posts with label Podcast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Podcast. 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?

 


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.


 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.

 

Th
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.
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 .

 



When you have arguably the greatest scorer of the modern era on your team, it's easy to see why teammates give him the ball and let him cook.

And Kevin Durant was cooking with gas on Sunday afternoon against the Knicks as he poured in 53 points at Barclays Center.

Durant's jaw dropping play cements him as the league's premier player and had he not missed significant time with a sprained MCL in his left knee, he'd be the leading candidate for MVP.

Among all the superlatives to describe Durant's game, the rest of the Nets' utter reliance on him to singlehandedly carry the team to victory is not a sustainable formula moving forward.

Look no further into the past than the 2021 NBA semifinal playoffs against the Bucks. Without Kyrie Irving and a banged up Harden hobbling around the final three games, Durant scored 49 in Game 5 and 48 in Game 7 to put his undermanned team with tenths of an inch from advancing.

Brooklyn's offense was stagnant for large stretches of that series as teammates merely ball watched Durant and aside from Jeff Green were somewhat non-existent.

To beat the NBA's elite clubs in the playoffs, the Nets, and specifically Steve Nash, can't only hitch his wagon to Durant's hero ball, but need to be clicking on all cylinders to make a championship a reality.

At 33 years of age, Durant is still in his prime, but heavy minutes and even heavier usage rates are going to tire out even the most highly conditioned athlete.

Nash and company can count on Durant to carry them for stretches of games, particularly in the clutch moments, but Brooklyn needs a more balanced attack the rest of the regular season and playoffs if it hopes up achieve its ultimate goal.






Injuries were a major part of why the Brooklyn Nets watched the NBA finals from their comfy sofas at home instead of challenging the Phoenix Suns for league supremacy this past July.

The other part of the equation that led to the Nets going home early was the simple fact that Mike Budenholzer maneuvered and made the proper adjustments to pull his club out of a 2-0 series hole and then an eventual 3-2 deficit.

The Bucks head man, who was rewarded with a lucrative extension this off-season, put to bed the narrative that his playoff coaching was subpar.

If there was a coach whose decisions  left a lot to ponder, that man was sitting on Brooklyn's coaching sidelines, Steve Nash. 

The first year coach looked exactly the part, reticent to trust the bench that spurred the team to 48 regular season wins without the Big Three healthy for the majority of the season.

Shortening rotations in the playoffs in nothing new, but Nash's refusal to dig deep in his bag with the team struggling to find offense outside of Kevin Durant and with Joe Harris misfiring from the outside is still a head scratcher.

Jeff Green was invaluable in Game 5 to help lift the Nets to within one game of the conference finals, but Bruce Brown's minutes shrunk, DeAndre Jordan remained inactive and Nicholas Claxton and Landry Shamet were used sparingly.

Durant was brilliant, but Nash's offense consisted of giving No. 7 the ball and getting the heck out of the way.  Without Kyrie Irving and a hobbled James Harden, the same Nets team that earned the distinction as the most efficient offense in NBA history, didn't resemble anything close to that against Milwaukee.

Sometimes you have to give a tip of the cap to your competition for locking down defensively, but Nash and former assistant Mike D'Antoni didn't do the team any favors by allowing the offense to go full hero ball.

Nash's coaching staff has been rebuilt with Ime Udoka being hired by the Celtics, D'Antoni leaving the organization, and David Vanderpool along with Steve Clifford coming into the fold. 

The reality is, if coaching is a factor for why the Nets come up short this upcoming season, Nash won't be able to survive another playoff exit.



 Super teams never seem to settle well with fans. From Miami's big three, to Golden State and now Brooklyn, no one roots for Goliath.

The Brooklyn Nets are fully loaded with a plethora of star talent, but what rubs fans the wrong way about this club?

Is it how James Harden forced his way out of Houston and showed up out of shape and unwilling to play for the franchise?

As for Kevin Durant, was joining a 73-win Warrior team enough to annoy most? How about unceremoniously leaving the Bay Area in the middle of a potential dynasty? Or to add insult to injury, joining forces with Kyrie Irving and Harden in Brooklyn?

Irving all but mailed it in during his time in Boston and showed every inclination to join his childhood team in the Nets and bring a first ever championship to the franchise. 

With a littany of reasons to despise how this Nets team has come together and the polarizing nature of each star's personality, Brooklyn is an easy target for those still drinking the hater-ade.

Whatever the case may be, the collection of basketball prowess Sean Marks somehow collected out of thin air is nothing short of astonishing.

The Nets are the talk of the NBA world and the benchmark by which every other team is measured. 




For the first time in their NBA history, the Nets are the team with the bullseye on their back. 

The club that catches the vitriol and animosity of fans of the other 29 teams, is the odds on favorite for a title. The heavyweights are primed to knockout the competition, much to the chagrin of the viewing public.

Not even the 1985-1986 Boston Celtics, the 1970-1971 Milwaukee Bucks, the 1972-1973 Los Angeles Lakers, 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls or the 2016-2017 Golden State Warriors can hold a candle to the breadth of talent and accolades that the 2021-2022 Brooklyn Nets bring to the table.

The Nets have 44 combined All-Star appearances on the roster with marquee names like James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap headlining a fantasy basketball lineup.

All this is fine and well, but if the Nets fall short of a championship as they did a season ago, they'll be alongside the likes of the 2015-2016 Warriors, the 2003-2004 Lakers, the 1992-1993 Suns and the 2017-2018 Rockets as immensely talented squads that all go in the history books for all the wrong reasons.

Brooklyn needs a clean bill of health with Harden and Irving missing portions of last year's playoff run and Steve Nash needs to show a willingness to go into his newly rebuilt and more experienced bench when things get tight during the playoff run.

Aside from the Dream Team and All-star teams, the Nets could go toe to toe with any club from any era. Time Will tell whether this club delivers on a championship promise, but if one thing is for certain, Brooklyn's talent level is otherworldly and rightfully make it the team to beat heading into the 2021-2022 campaign.

If the year was 2011, adding Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge during free agency would be the NBA story of the off-season.

Flash forward ten years and adding a pair of 36-year-olds even to a star-studded roster doesn't nearly have the same impact.

Brooklyn had a glaring weakness in regards to the quality depth of its front court last season and that was no more evident than by their second round ousting at the hands of Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Aldridge, a seven-time All-Star and Millsap a four timer have all the credentials to step in and make an immediate impact with the franchise.

The concern and question marks revolve around the mileage and age on both players and how much they'll be able to bring to the table.

Sean Marks and Steve Nash will likely employ heavy load management to Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden, but how will they handle the minutes from the newly signed veterans?

During the playoffs, the versatile big men will provide a boost in the rebounding and inside scoring department, but depending on the matchup, teams can utilize small ball lineups that would likely force Aldridge to the bench.

Raining on the Nets free agency parade isn't the goal, but age and minutes restrictions during the regular season may minimize the duo's impact along with potential playoff opponents' pace of play and utilization of a small ball lineup to negate Nash using frontcourt depth.

Linsanit, AKA Jeremy Lin, took the NBA by storm in 2011-2012 with the New York Knicks and played parts of two seasons with the Nets from 2016-2018 at the start of general manager Sean Marks' tenure with the team. Lin played only 37 games in two years with Brooklyn as injuries derailed his chance to be the team's starting point guard long-term.
In August of 2021, Jeremy Lin was admitted into a hospital in Shanghai after testing positive for COVID-19. Lin received three weeks of treatment to battle through the virus. Currently playing for the Beijing Ducks, Lin appears recovering and recuperating. In May of 2021, Lin hinted at his retirement from the NBA after playing for the Warriors G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors. The cultural icon took his talents to Beijing at the start of this year too serve as the Ducks starting floor general.
NBA training camps open September 28 and Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks put a self-imposed deadline for Kyrie Irving and James Harden extensions to be completed before training camp.
Kevin Durant already reached a four-year extension, but the second and third parts of the Nets' three-headed monster still need to have their futures secured. Of course, there is still time to lock up two of the franchise's cornerstone pieces long-term, but the longer things drag out and as the training camp deadline draws near, the more angst it will cause Nets fans, the more it will be a media storyline, and the more it will be a distraction for players. 

 It's far from panic time for Brooklyn, but the next 15-30 days will be critical in solidifying the team's off-season and ensuring top talent stays on the roster for the foreseeable future.
The Brooklyn Nets didn't set the world on fire during free agency, but despite not making any splashy moves to the league's most talented roster, ESPN has the team that calls Barclays Center home its top ranked franchise heading into the 2021-2022 campaign. Extending Kevin Durant, and with likely extensions for James Harden along Kyrie Irving are major factors for why Brooklyn's bunch is above the rest of the pack. Signing Patti Mills, James Johnson, drafting the 2021 rookie class' premier scorer in Cam Thomas, and re-signing Blake Griffin add to Sean Marks already sterling resume.
The health of the Nets big three will be the major storyline throughout the year and ultimately determine if they'll remain on top at season's end. Depth in the front court with DeAndre Jordan's future with the club murky at best is another hole Marks will have to fill. As far talent, continuity, and overall lethal scoring capability, the Nets are head and shoulders above the rest of the league. With a full off-season to recoup from a playoff run derailed by injuries, Durant, Irving, Harden and company will be extra motivated to claim what they believe should have been theirs if they were healthy last season.
General manager Sean Marks is normally cold and calculated in his personnel moves and equally guarded when making these machinations public. So, when Marks met with reporters this week and not so subtly hinted that James Harden and Kyrie Irving are engaged in extension talks, and to take it one step f urther, on the verge of agreeing to long-term deals should excite Nets fans.
With the trio of stars in the fold for the foreseeable future, Brooklyn maintains its status as an Eastern Conference powerhouse. Harden and Irving are fully recovered from injuries suffered during the Milwaukee playoff and have revenge on their minds with the regular season two months away.
Sean Marks looks to have an important extension for a key player in the offing as Kevin Durant's agent, Rich Kleiman, expects his client to sign a four-year, $198 million contract, when he is eligible Saturday.




There have been very few reports that the Nets' big three were actively involved in extension talks. Now with the Durant deal likely in the books, Marks and the rest of Brooklyn's front office and team owner Joe Tsai, can turn their attention to Kyrie Irving and James Harden. 

Durant, 32, Harden, 31, and Irving, 29, are in the prime of their careers and more than willing to sacrifice their personal accolades for the betterment of the team. 

The Nets long-term commitment to Durant gives him assurance of a long-standing future with the club and eliminates any type of media-driven distraction speculating about his future.

With a major centerpiece staying with the Nets through the end of his prime years, it's clear the current regime is all-in to deliver a title.


 The Nets are notorious for keeping contract talks and injury updates under wraps, but the fact that not even a single report has surfaced that Sean Marks is actively involved in discussions to extend Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden is mildly alarming.




All three players hold player options following the upcoming NBA season and while fans fully expect them to be back in Brooklyn on long term extensions, having that loose end hanging out there throughout the 2021-2022 campaign is less than ideal. It would be the backdrop to the team's championship pursuit and force three players who aren't exactly media darlings into answer questions time and time again about their futures.

While Durant is pursuing a Gold Medal with Team USA in Tokyo, Irving and a svelte Harden are in the lab and making use of a full off-season, Marks will need to get their ears and find a mutually beneficial deal to agree to.

Owner Joe Tsai has shown a willingness to spend into the luxury tax and that will be a reality if the Big Three remain in the borough for the foreseeable future.

The Nets have a championship window with three of the top 7 players in the NBA and need to capitalize on the situation as much as possible. Marks can't take his eye off the eight ball now as inking his top playmakers needs to be a top priority before the season starts.



It might be sacrilegious to say it, but the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns may not be the best teams in their respective conferences, they've simply survived the walking minefield otherwise known as the 2021 NBA playoffs. Not a single player on either team has ever won a ring and that trend was likely to continue before a rash of unforseen injuries sent the Nets, Lakers, Jazz, Nuggets, Clippers and Sixers home early with due to injuries to star players.
The NBA is a star-driven league and with perennial All-Stars James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, and Jamal Murray unable to play for either stretches or the entirety of the playoffs. The 2021 NBA Finals has intrigued with 16-year veteran Chris Paul chasing his first ever Larry O'Brien trophy, or Giannis Antetokounmpo trying


  to solidify his status as an all-time great by putting a trophy in his case. Injuries are part of the game, and this is no slight to either the Suns or the Bucks, but they did not face fully healthy opponents on their way to the championship round.

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