Al Iannazone is the Nets beatwriter for The Record and online columnist for the YES Network. This is his second year covering the Nets for The Record and YES, and his sixth overall. He covered the team from 1996-2000 for the North Jersey Herald News. He was the Knicks beat writer for The Record from 2001-2004.
Al was kind enough to answer a few questions about the Nets for NetsDaily.
1. It seems like the Nets have been at their best this season when Jason Kidd has controlled the game. Is he deferring too much to Vince Carter?
I believe the offense always runs better when Jason Kidd is in charge. As great as Vince is, he forces too much some times. The perfect example was the Pistons' game, when he took 29 shots, many of which were not good.
I think the Nets are still learning each other and how to play in the new offense, although I think after two-plus months together they should know by now. I also think they may eventually go back to the old offense, and get away from the equal opportunity scheme. It's not working the way coach Lawrence Frank hoped.
Carter and Jefferson are averaging less points than last season. Kidd is averaging fewer assists. And look where the Nets are now at 2 games under .500 and a sorry 4-4 at home.
I just think the mix, at least thus far, isn't right. They're not playing with the sense of urgency they displayed the last six weeks of last season, which also set up some unrealistic expectations for this campaign.
To me, the biggest problem is the effort on defense and not so much offense.
2. How likely do you think it is that this team makes a trade by the deadline? Do you envision a major deal or something minor?
I think the Nets will make a trade before the deadline, the scale of which I don't know. Right now, I would keep an eye on Dec. 15. That's when players signed during the summer like your Melvin Elys, Dan Gadzurics, Chris Wilcoxes, etc. can be traded.
Nets' management is preaching patience on their newcomers. They want to see the reserves they spent the summer acquiring pan out. But if they return from this two-game trip on a four-game losing streak, which is possible, something could happen.
The Nets return to face the Sixers and then go to Washington. You could be staring at a six-game skid or maybe four or five losses in six games if they don't play with heart and fight. And it would be just in time for open season (Dec. 15).
I think everyone is expecting a big deal from the Nets before the February deadline. But unless they tank big-time, or Kevin Garnett could be had for Carter and some other pieces, they may keep the big three together for the whole season.
I think they should see what they could get for Carter. His value is high now, but if they keep losing or his production dips, he won't be worth as much. They can't trade Richard Jefferson. He's base-year-comp, so he's only worth half his salary in trades.
3. What's the best thing about covering the Nets?
There are a few things I like. In no specific order:
* The Nets are very accessible. The players are good to deal with, which you don't have on every sports team.
* Although the Nets always are painted as second-class citizens to the Knicks and they don't have the same following, I got e-mails from a lot of fans. First, it shows they are reading my stories, which I still get a kick out of. I can't answer all the e-mails, but some will point things out that we, the writer, don't see because we're so wrapped up in everything.
* Lastly, I truly enjoy covering a major beat for The Record. But unless you are a columnist you can't be as analytical or opinionated. Writing for the YESnetwork.com allows me to have more of a platform to opine and speak my mind about the Nets or anything NBA related. I enjoy that freedom.