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 data into larger stories and blogs.
Lots of Trans-Atlantic Traffic Coming Up
Kiki Vandeweghe will be heading overseas for the second time since joining the Nets front office. Vandeweghe will be scouting the Euroleague Final Four in Madrid the first week of May, reports Dave D'Alessandro. The best teams in Europe will playing: Montepaschi Siena of Italy, Tau Ceramica of Spain, CSKA Moscow of Russia, and Maccabi Elite of Israel. None of them have players slated for either round of the draft, but several top players are free agents. Artem Zabelin of CSKA Moscow and Omri Casspi are two Final Four players who could be interesting. The 7-foot Zabelin put his name in last year, worked out for the Nets, then withdrew. He didn't put his name in this year. Casspi, a 6'9" forward for Maccabi, is likely to see more time than Zabelin. Tau features former Net Zoran Planinic.
Nenad Krstic has a hectic summer scheduled. He is in Florida on vacation. Then, on May 1, he heads for Serbia where he plans to spend the whole summer (other playing a lot of basketball in China and Italy). Training begins July 1 at a mountain resort with the Serbian National Team. At the end of July, there is Diamond Ball, what Europeans call "a friendly tournament", in China, where Serbia will play, among others, the national teams of China (Yao Ming) and Argentina (Luis Scola) before returning to Italy for the Qualifying Round for Eurobasket 09. Since Serbia didn't automatically qualify for either the Olympics or the European championships last year, they must play against other European teams to get a slot at Eurobasket 09, which will be held in Warsaw. Krstic will be playing alongside Darko Milicic and another former Net, Mile Ilic.
That means Krstic will be in Serbia during free agent negotiations which don't begin til July 1 and will be in (someone's) training camp about two weeks after the qualifying tournament ends. "It was a really tough year mentally for me so I really need to get away from New Jersey a little bit," he says. If he does sign with the Nets, as expected, he will be back in Europe for NBA Europe Live, the Nets' preseason games with the Heat the second week of October.
Boki Nachbar, meanwhile, is undecided about playing in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Athens July 14-20. As Fred Kerber reports, "He must decide whether or not to play for his Slovenian National Team. Agent says no, National Team types say yes." Nachbar and the Lakers' Sasha Vujacic are Slovenia's best players and without them, it will be tough for the tiny Adriatic country to get into the Olympics. If he does decide to play, he too will be in training during free agent negotiations.
DeSagana Diop, who is like Krstic and Nachbar an international player and a free agent, will go home to Senegal, then return to Cherry Hill, where he has an apartment and his agent, Leon Rose, has an office. He won't be participating in any interantional competition. Bloggers around the league are speculating where Diop might wind up if it's not with the Nets.
Playing with the Draft
As for the Draft, we played around with the ESPN Draft Lottery, which simulates the May 20 drawing, using real mathematical possibilities. We ran it 25 times. Fifteen times, the Nets drafted 10th and took DeAndre Jordan of Texas A&M. Seven times, the Nets drafted 10th and took Marreese Speights of Florida. Twice the Nets drafted 11th and took Speights and once, the Nets drafted second and took Michael Beasley of Kansas State. (The two times the Nets drafted 11th, teams in back of them moved up into the top three.)
Dave D'Alessandro also reports that Nets plan on bringing in "at least 30" prospects for tryouts before the NBA Draft, but there will be fewer workouts. The NBA is permitting three-on-three workouts. In the past, workouts were restricted to two-on-two. This way, teams can get a look at how team players do.
Free Agent Wish List?
Al Iannazzone may be speculating or may be not, but he lists six free agents the Nets "may pursue": Devin Brown, Matt Barnes, Roger Mason, Mickael Pietrus, Fred Jones and Kareem Rush. The Nets made a move on Mason last season, but he decided to stay with the Wizards. Rush, a friend of Richard Jefferson, worked out for the team last year after being cut by the Bobcats. The workout was cut short after Rush twice got sick. He later signed with the Pacers and is now a free agent. Kerber too mentions Pietrus as a possible Net target.
And in case you missed it, Iannazzone has written that Josh Boone had an MRI on his sprained right MCL that showed it's only a sprain and that he won't need any type of surgical procedure. He had the knee operated on last summer. The Nets would finally like to see Boone get a full training camp in. He missed 2006 while recuperating from shoulder surgery and 2007 while recuperating from knee surgery. A training camp full of reps could help his shooting.
On Monday morning, Rod Thorn will give the media a chance to ask him the same questions Lawrence Frank and the players were asked last week.
The NBA will start announcing its annual awards this week. We wonder if Sean Williams will get any votes for Rookie of the Year or whether Devin Harris will get any votes for the All-Defensive Team.
A Final Thought
Iannazzone reports, "We’re told Keith Van Horn was working out at the Nets’ practice facility the other day." We ask, Why?