NetsDaily Off-Season Report #15

Not a lot going on this week. The front office rested, digesting what it's done so far. Word is that they may not move to fill the 14th and 15th spots for a while, maybe even waiting until training camp opens in October.

Last week, six Nets were playing organized basketball. Deron Williams was in London playing for Team USA; Mirza Teletovic and Toko Shengelia were playing for their national teams in "friendly" tournaments in Slovenia and Estonia. Marshon Brooks, Jerry Stackhouse and Tyshawn Taylor were playing in local summer leagues in Cleveland, Durham, NC, and New York.

The spotlight will now shift to the business side as the Nets' PR types start rolling out more elements of Brooklyn buzz. Should be fun.

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, relying on the Nets’ beat reporters and others who have slipped interesting stuff into larger stories, blogs, tweets...plus our own reporting.

Tyshawn at Rucker

Here's something we missed last week. While searching the Internet for games featuring Mirza Teletovic, Toko Shengelia and Ilkan Karaman, we missed Tyshawn Taylor's memorable performance at Rucker Park in Harlem.

Taylor exploded for 35 points on July 27 in what fans called maybe the best game of the season. Here's how his performance on both ends of the floor was described.

Tyshawn Taylor finished the game with 35 points for R2K in one of the best games of the summer, if not, "the best." It’s easy to say when you have an NBA player on your team, the victory is close before the game even starts. But at the EBC, everybody is tested. And Tyshawn Taylor gave us a standout performance helping his team climb back and get the vicory. For those that witnessed in person, Tyshawn gave us more than one reason why he will be one player to keep an eye for in the NBA.

We're high on Taylor's prospects. There's a lot of potential there and as we've noted before, he's all about winning..

The Armor Advantage

Let's assume the Nets wait until training camp to finish stocking their roster. Let's assume as well that there is a player or players who they like but don't want to invest in just yet. If they want, they can sign the player to a partially guaranteed minimum contract prior to training camp. They did that two seasons ago, signing Brian Zoubek, Ben Uzoh, Sean May and Stephen Graham to partially guaranteed deals, giving them between $35,000 (Uzoh) to $450,000 (Graham). The money is added to the team's cap.

The Nets will monitor the players' progress through training camp. Should another unsigned player attract their interest in camp, they can do the same thing: sign them to a partially or non-guaranteed deal. They did that with Dennis Horner last season.

As training camp ends and the NBA season begins, the Nets have another advantage. D-League teams affiliated with NBA clubs, like the Armor, can designate up to three players cut by their NBA affiliate, in this case the Nets. The players of course are under no obligation to sign with the Armor, but if a player is seeking a fast track to the Nets (and already has that cash cushion from a partial guarantee), the Armor might be their best choice. They'll be running the Nets' system, be following the Nets' training regimen; be using the Nets' call signs and most importantly be coached by Nets employees and be managed by Nets executives. (The Nets don't have exclusive rights to those players.)

NBA teams can bring in as many players as they want to training camp. In the past, they invited five players to try out. That's probably a good number this year as well.

Roll-outs yet to come

The Nets and Barclays Center PR operations have been orchestrating big events over the past two years, building Brooklyn buzz. They started with the arena ground-breaking on March 3, 2010; then the unveiling of the "Brooklyn Nets" on September 26, 2011; the introduction of the team logos on April 30 and most recently, the celebration of "Brooklyn's Backcourt" on July 18, with the backdrop of Brooklyn Borough Hall. The Nets also got traction out of the announcement that the Nets will play the Knicks on Opening Night.

There's a lot more to come, big and small. The big thing, of course, is the introduction of the Nets new black-and-white uniforms, reportedly in late September. Also expect cover stories in magazines and newspapers as it gets closer to the Nets opener on November 1. Here's some roll-outs you can expect over the next three months.

--The Uniforms. The biggest deal. Rumored to be unveiled in late September, perhaps in conjunction with Opening Night at Barclays Center. Expect them to be iconic. (Remember, there will be two Nets-branded Adidas stores at Barclays Center.)

--The Mascot. Reported to be a "Brooklyn Knight" and designed by Marvel, possibly even the work of legendary artist Stan Lee!

--"The Association." NBA TV cameras are already shooting Nets events for the league's reality TV show. Cameras were spotted at both the Orlando Summer League and at the "Brooklyn's Backcourt" celebration. Details, including schedule, are likely to be released soon.

--The "Basketball Campus" at Barclays Center, that is, the home locker room, practice court, players' lounge and the family lounge (with concierge), as well as the press room. Expect the locker room to be "best in class." Expect a press tour close to Opening Night.

--The Transit Connection. The Barclays Center station is already listed on subway maps, in subway cars and on the platforms used by the nine lines the empty into the Connection. It's expected to be complete next month. Expect a press tour there as well.

--The Scoreboard. It's being constructed on the floor of the arena. When the seven-figure Daktronics scoreboard goes up, at the very least expect some imagery.

--The Training Facility. At some point, the Nets will announce their plans for a new training facility to replace the PNY Center. If the Nets build a new facility, it will cost upwards of $10 million.

--The YES Network team. Last year, there were a lot of temporary pairings and it sure seemed like Mike Fratello had called his last Nets game for YES. So we await the line-up of announcers, analysts and hosts. Word is a Chicago sportscaster will replace Jessica Taff.

As for the normal basketball announcements this time of year, we should be hearing soon about:

--The preseason schedule. Nothing yet, but you have to expect it will be out soon. The "home" opener will be played at Nassau Coliseum on October 9. Normally, there are eight preseason games, two each with the Knicks, Celticsand 76ers plus two others. Barry Baum, the senior vice president of communications at Barclays Center, told the Daily News this week that the Nets will play 44 games this year at the arena. That would seem to indicate three preseason games in Brooklyn.

--The training camp roster. Nets have 13 players under contract. In a normal, non-lockout year, the Nets have as many as 20 players in camp. They may stay at 13 guaranteed deals right up to training camp.

Who's got what number?

Here's our best guess at the uniform numbers of those under contract. Not official, just our (educated) guess.

1 – C.J. Watson
2 – MarShon Brooks
6 – Keith Bogans
7 – Joe Johnson
8 – Deron Williams
11 – Brook Lopez
12 – MirzaTeletovic
30 – Reggie Evans
31 – Tornike Shengelia
41 – Tyshawn Taylor
42 – Jerry Stackhouse
43 – Kris Humphries
45 – Gerald Wallace

Notes: We've read that with Jordan Farmar gone, Brooks wants No. 2, which he wore at Providence. Stackhouse has, with one exception, worn No. 42 throughout his 17-year NBA career. Reggie Evans has always worn No. 30. Watson has said he's wearing No. 1. At the Orlando Summer League, Taylor wore No. 41, a reminder of where he was drafted. Shengelia wore No. 31 in Orlando. Other than the incumbents, that would leave only one number in question: Will Teletovic get to wear the number he's worn for most of his career, 12, or will the Nets reserve it for someone else?

Jay-Z playing games

Details emerged late this week on Jay-Z's role as executive producer of NBA2K13. CNN reports:

The megastar, whose real name is Shawn Carter, has been focusing his efforts on the game's presentation and entertainment elements away from the ball -- the music, crowd reactions and interactive in-game menus. He is part owner of the Brooklyn Nets, so his involvement is one that is personally appealing.

Jay-Z handpicked the game's soundtrack with tracks from U2, Puff Daddy, Coldplay, Kanye West and "some of his own creations," CNN noted. Sounds a lot like what he's been doing with the Barclays Center architects. Expect a roll-out here as well.

Prokhorov not giving up

Just because Mikhail Prokhorov opened his wallet to the Nets front office doesn't mean he's given up his political aspirations. Just after losing in the March 4 presidential election, he filed suit against local election commissions alleging fraud. This weekend, the first of the suits was decided, and no surprise he lost.

Prokhorov sought to invalidate the electoral decisions of Territorial Election Commission No. 108 in Moscow, which he claims broke ballot packing and storage regulations while documenting the voting results.

The same court, Russian press reports, is handling two additional lawsuits filed by Prokhorov to reverse the election results of two other election commissions. Both lawsuits will be heard Wednesday.

Final Note

The next month is usually low-key as the final free agent deals are cut and international players fulfill their patriotic commitments. We'll keep track of all that and the roll-outs, too. Stay tuned.

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