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Random Notes from a Night to Remember

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Make no mistake about it, tonight's moves were as critical to the Nets' future as those at the trade deadline when Jason Kidd was traded. In one aspect, this was opening night for the Brooklyn Nets...the team started making real plans for the 2010-11 season in the Barclays Center, a building yet to rise above the Atlantic Yards.

The Nets went young, they went big, they went with skill over athleticism but most of all, they divorced themselves from the recent (New Jersey) past and started to get way under the cap.

Ryan Anderson becomes the youngest Net in a quarter century. Brook Lopez is the second youngest since Clifford Robinson (the USC Robinson, not Uncle Cliffy) played at age 19 in 1979. The roster now has three 20-year-olds (Anderson, Lopez and Yi Jianlian), two 21-year-olds (Chris Douglas Roberts and Sean Williams), a 22-year-old (Marcus Williams), a 23-year-old (Josh Boone), a 24-year-old (Nenad Krstic), a 25-year-old (Devin Harris) and a 26-year-old (DeSagana Diop)...or 11 players 26 or younger. Unless you count Darrell Armstrong and Keith Van Horn, you can only find one Net who's over 30: Vince Carter who will have to assume leadership of the team.

Ironically, though, this influx of youth is not likely to lead to an athletic game. Not a lot of speed demons on the roster after Harris. Lopez, Anderson and Douglas-Roberts had two things in common: 1) all had productive seasons for top-flight college programs, with CDR getting to the NCAA Finals after winning 38 games and 2) all of them had their athleticism questioned by draftniks and GM's alike. In spite of a combined 60 and 25 among the three of them, it was a perceived or real deficit in athleticism that caused Lopez and CDR to drop, precipitously in the latter's case. Yi is different. He is a very athletic--and skilled--seven-footer. It's his conditioning and his heart that is in question. One can be corrected, the other remains an issue.

There appears no doubt the team is pointed towards 2010-11 when and if the courts and banks agree the team will be playing its first games in Brooklyn and possibly with a shot at Lebron James. The departure of Jefferson breaks whatever chains there were binding the Nets to New Jersey. It will be felt on the court and at the ticket office. Imagine being a Nets ticket rep fielding phone calls tomorrow in East Rutherford. Will the reps hint at how the way has been cleared for Lebron or will they be forced to admit that yes, this isn't a retooling, it's a rebuilding. Barring some a serious roster overhaul between now and November, this doesn't look like a playoff team.

And what does this mean for free agents Krstic, Boki Nachbar and DeSagana Diop? Is Lopez Krstic insurance if he bolts to another NBA team or even a European team? Is Anderson Nachbar insurance? It would appear those choices will permit, indeed, encourage the team to low-ball Krstic and Nachbar next week when free agent season begins. Diop, if he gets the full MLE from Mark Cuban, is likely gone.

Of course, it's early and the roster no doubt will look different when the Nets fly to London and Paris in late October. It had better.