We've sworn off lockout speculation on these pages. It's too depressing and the final outcome too uncertain to even speculate about. Everyone is demoralized and we're all reaching the point where we ask, "How important is the NBA to our lives...really?" That's not good for the NBA, its players or the Nets organization, of which we are big fans.
So this week, we look at the issues only obliquely. We applaud Billy King's overnight stay at the Four Seasons in Istanbul and his quick side trip to Izmir (wishing Mikhail Prokhorov could have joined him); take a look at what Milton Lee's qualifications are for divining D-League talent, give a tip of the hat to Doug Overton on his induction into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame; track Boki to Rockefeller Center; do a Euro-update on a player the Nets were interested in last season; show our surprise at a missed marketing opportunity; correct the latest Kris and Kim rumors and wonder how long we can keep doing this!
Every Sunday, we’ll be updating the Nets off-season with bits and pieces of information, gossip, etc. to help take the edge off missing the playoffs, and of course, the lockout. We will rely on the Nets’ beat reporters and others who slip interesting stuff into larger stories, blogs, tweets...plus our own reporting and analysis.
Billy's Turkish Adventure
Smart move by Billy King to show he cares enough about his top player's European adventure to watch him play in Izmir, Turkey, traveling through seven time zones for a two hour game and knowing he won't be able to talk with him or be in any "contact". We assume means no email or texting either. His tweets along the way seemed more like tweaks to fans. He let us know where he was without ever mentioning who he was going to see. Didn't take a detective to figure that out.
His last tweet before leaving Izmir indicated he's going back to Istanbul. Best we can figure, neither Deron Williams nor Bojan Bogdanovic have games Sunday in the Turkish League, Euroleague or EuroChallenge. Sasha Vujacic does, however. Vujacic doesn't have an "NBA out" in his contract and although the Nets hold his "Bird Rights", no one knows how those rights will be treated in a new CBA.
Mikhail Prokhorov's 33-hour jaunt in the other direction, from Moscow to New York, is more of a mystery than Billy King's trip. He came for the Board of Governors' meeting, which discussed revenue sharing and other things. He also gave owners an update on the progress at Barclays Center, presumably with the help of Irina Pavlova, who runs his New York operation and was seen with him outside the owners' hotel. Did he make it to Brooklyn? We would have thought so. After all, he was giving a progress report on a project he hasn't seen in a year. Besides, wouldn't you want to see for yourself how your billion dollar investment is doing? But nowhere on the Nets or Barclays Center is there any mention of a visit.
We did hear he was talking to Nets front office types during the trip, which if the lockout is settled soon, might be his last face-to-face before free agency begins. We don't know if he will lend a hand when that process begins, as he did last year with the Big Three.
The Talent Evaluator
Milton Lee, the Nets director of minor league basketball operations, aka Armor GM, will get a look at more than 100 D-League prospects this weekend at local tryouts in Springfield. Lee will have the final word on who gets invited to the Armor camp, which is a 10-day affair starting around November 15. He'll also be on the line November 3 when the annual D-League Draft gets called. (The Armor will select at the 17th, 48th, 49th, 80th, 81st, 112th and 113th positions in the 128-player draft.) He's already scouted the D-League National Tryouts in Louisville the day after the NBA Draft and the league's Open Tryouts last month in Chicago and Los Angeles.
How qualified is he? Well, there aren't many professionals who've watched as many prospects as Lee has. Beyond the D-League tryouts, he had a front row seat at the Nets draft workouts and since 2006, he's been a consultant to the NBA at the annual Pre-Draft Combine, essentially running on-court operations during the camp. As a professional trainer, he's also worked with a number of top NBA players, including Dwyane Wade, Richard Jefferson and Andrea Bargnani as well a some former Nets: Troy Murphy, Marcus Williams, Jay Williams and Josh Boone.
Big Honor for Overton
Nets assistant coach Doug Overton will be honored Saturday night in Trevose, PA. The diminutive point guard who parlayed a great work ethic into an 11-year NBA career will be inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Overton still holds the LaSalle College career records for assists (671), steals (277) and assist average (5.5).
Overton has worked with the team's young players over the past two years, sitting on the coaches' back bench, but Avery Johnson has indicated he'll move down to the front row next season, whenever that begins.
Boki Back in Town
Boki Nachbar has hinted (strongly) that he'd like another chance with an NBA team, presumably the Nets, where he had his greatest success. Now 31, Nachbar has made it clear he's looking for an NBA opportunity, having turned down a couple of European offers while he waits to see what happens with the lockout. The latest indication of where he's like to play is his decision to work out in Manhattan, at the Sports Club/LA in Rockefeller Center, midway we'd like to note between East Rutherford and Brooklyn. We assume he's living in the condo he bought while a member of the Nets...and subsequently rented to other Nets players. It's probably empty this fall.
The Other Ammo
Adam Morrison is having as good a European season of any NBA player. After being out of the league last year, he's been playing well in the Adriatic League for Red Star, averaging 16.5 ppg on 50% shooting. He recently scored 30 points in a league game. Why do we care? Because Morrison, aka Ammo, was the player the Nets planned to sign to a 10-day in mid-season but he got waylaid by an ankle injury. The Nets never disclosed his name but he came thisclose to being a Net, we're told.
Would he be on the short list for a vets' minimum deal once the lockout is over? If he could get out of his contract maybe. Reports are that his contract doesn't have an NBA "out" but things change.
You can order a Jordan Farmar jersey through the Maccabi Tel Aviv website, but Besiktas of Istanbul's online store doesn't sell Deron Willliams' jerseys...or any player-specific gear whether they play soccer, basketball or volleyball. Apparently, it's just not done in Turkey. Fenerbahce doesn't offer Bojan Bogdanovic jerseys either. So all those stories about how D-Will and other stars could make deals with overseas teams to market their gear and keep the proceeds? Not happening.
Kris and Kim Still Happy After All These Days
Speaking of people who NEVER let a marketing opportunity slip by...
We'd rather report on almost anything other than the Kardashians. When the Cultural War Crimes Commission finally convenes, we figure there'll be enough time then. This week, though, it was tempting to join the chorus of those who were heralding the end of the fairytale romance. It was everywhere: Kim was talking to divorce lawyers, Kris was moving out of the hotel, he was flirting with other chicks in Miami while she was pushing the brand in Dubai, her sisters hate him (old story regurgitated). Yada Yada.
Well, just before we posted something Harvey Levin's TMZ came to our rescue. Having talked to the happy couple, TMZ had the real scoop, which without further ado, we offer the TMZ exclusive. If you can't trust TMZ, who can you trust?
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries are NOT on the verge of a split ... not even close ... despite several screaming magazine covers and websites SWEARING they're headed for divorce.
In fact, TMZ has learned the newest story making the rounds -- about Kris supposedly getting booted out of their NYC pad -- is just another steaming pile of BS.
Multiple sources who are extremely close to the couple tell us they were simply getting some boxes together for the newlyweds' big move back to L.A. ... together.
The couple had been living out of NYC's swagtastic Gansevoort Hotel for a couple months while Kim shot her new reality show "Kim and Kourtney Take New York" -- and yesterday, it was finally time to move out.
As for Kris' lack of wedding ring -- we're told the guy just isn't a fan of jewelry.
So there. They're happy and moving out of New York. Wait, what does that mean???? We'll tune in Sunday night (No we won't).
We're having a harder and harder time finding the good stuff for this weekly report. As loyal Nets fans, we've tried to keep the faith by searching out items that fit with the Off-Season Report's goals, finding nuggets throughout the week that might not make the news section.
We're hoping against hope there are some back channel discussions to move this forward. Otherwise, we reserve the right to do what everyone else appears to be doing: nothing while holding their breath until they turn blue in the face..