In an extensive interview with China Daily this week, Brett Yormark spoke about the team's prospects this season, its expansion in China, its spending and of course, its two games in Beijing and Shanghai this October. His bottom line is that the Nets brand, enhanced by the Brooklyn move, continues to grow and that the team will be younger, faster and competitive this season.
"Only one team out of 30 can win the championship ... but that doesn't mean the 29 teams that didn't win did not have a good season," Yormark told China Daily's Yan Weijue when asked about whether the Nets will be a "contender" for the NBA championship. His answer is typical of what ownership and management are telling everyone. The mantra is competitiveness rather than contender as it was last year.
"My goal for the team is to be competitive every year, to be relevant, to be part of the conversation. And you gotta be a little lucky to win a championship - our ownership is committed, as you can see. They are providing us with all the resources we need to be successful."
"I think we will be a very, very competitive team this year." he added. "We've gotten much faster because we've gotten younger and we've gotten versatile."
As for the brand in China, Yormark agreed with Yan that the Nets have a great advantage in that Kevin Garnett is among the most popular players, if not they most popular, in China ... and that the Nets took a chance on Yi Jian Lian six years ago. Yan writes, "The flashy front office moves translated into soaring merchandise sales and increased TV exposure in China."
But despite that, the Nets still have a ways to go. "More Nets games were on live broadcast last year, but the number still can't compete with the Rockets, Lakers and Heat. Kevin Garnett is arguably the most popular player on the team, but he didn't play well last year, which plays a role in their viewership," Huang Shuo, chief NBA editor at Sina Corp, the league's premier Internet partner in China, told China Daily, the English language version of People's Daily, the government-owned news outlet.
Huang also defended the Nets against criticism that they are "tuhao," a trendy term for the free-spending yet uncultured nouveau riche, saying "willingness to spend money is the first step of their strategy."