Every weekend, we update the Nets' off-season with bits and pieces of information, gossip, analysis, etc. to help take the edge off not winning the NBA championship. We rely on our own reports as well as what the Nets’ beat reporters and others have slipped into larger stories, blogs and tweets...
Point guard logjam
Some fans are concerned that the Nets may be thin at point guard. The team thinks not. IF everyone is healthy (there's that mantra again), there should be plenty of flexibility ... and talent.
We're assuming that Deron Williams will be back and hopefully confident, the result of a healthy body. Jarrett Jack is a bit of a risk. He didn't play well last season in Cleveland, which he attributes to being more of a facilitator than a shooter. If he is anything like the player he was with Golden State two years ago, he's a bargain ... and like he says, he can play behind or with D-Will. With Joe Johnson --and Bojan Bogdanovic-- capable of playing the 2 as well as the 3, the possibilities of moving people around grow. The Nets are serious about versatility.
Do the Nets need to rely on Jorge Gutierrez and Marquis Teague as third string guards? Are they that important? Hardly. Last season, with D-Will and Livingston starting, Gutierrez, Teague and Tyshawn Taylor played a grand total of 715 minutes or 8.7 minutes per game. (It should be noted that in a couple of interviews Lionel Hollins has said nice things about Teague. Maybe he's reminded of Mike Conley, Jr.)
Beyond that, let's not forget about Alan Anderson, Mr. Versatility. He started in place of Shaun Livingston in Games 6 and 7 of the Raptors series, both of which the Nets had to win. He filled in at the point on occasion during the season as well. Also, the Nets were surprised by Markel Brown's passing (if not his ball-handling) in Orlando. He thinks he can play a bit of the point as well. Can he? Nets will probably give him a shot at some point.
So will all those players be on the roster come November 1? Doubt it.
Billy King said this week that the Nets are pretty much set, pretty much done, with the exception of camp invites. The math is this: the Nets have 15 players, but only 13 on fully guaranteed deals. Jorge Gutierrez has a $25,000 guarantee if he makes the training camp roster. Cory Jefferson has a $75,000 guarantee with no guarantee date. If he is still on the roster by the first week of January, his deal becomes fully guaranteed at $507,000.
The Nets can have up to 20 players in training camp and there's nothing to stop them to sign another player even with a partial guarantee. There are some obvious candidates for the invites, including DaJuan Summers who played well in the Summer League. Adonis Thomas, who did not have a good summer league, is also a possibility.
Money, money, money
Driving a lot of decisions will the financial impact of signings. Will the Nets keep a 15th man, for instance? Will it be worth the luxury tax hit?
Here's Mike Mazzeo's breakdown on how much the Nets will owe this year, way down from last year, but still way up historically. And note this: the tax is based on what the team's roster looks like on the last day of the regular season, not the first day.
The Brooklyn Nets, with 15 players under contract, could head into training camp with a projected payroll of $94,045,708 and a projected luxury tax of $35,954,301 for a total of $130,000,009 -- $134,000,009 including Travis Outlaw's $4,000,000 amnesty payment.
Last season, the Nets spent $197,398,845, when you factor in their payroll ($102,828,064), NBA-record luxury taxes ($90,570,781) and amnesty payment to Outlaw ($4,000,000).
That’s a difference of $63,398,836. (I went over these numbers, and the motivation behind it, in greater detail here).
Some interesting historic facts re the tax and the Nets. Despite the huge payments the last two years, the Nets grand total of $118.6 million over the past decade isn't even in the top three. That exclusive club includes the Knicks at $241.6 million, double the Nets taxes over the decade; the Mavericks at $150.5 million and the Lakers at $122.5 million. (Of course it helps that Bruce Ratner never paid a dime in luxury taxes when he owned the team for seven lean years in New Jersey.
It's all in Mark Deeks updated "Complete History of NBA Luxury Tax Payments." Here's a fun fact from Deeks' chart: Five teams have paid any luxury taxes in the last decade: Charlotte, Golden State, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Washington. The Thunder never paid the luxury tax? Interesting.
The enduring legacy of Drazen Petrovic
For five years, Croatia has not had a player on an NBA roster. For the basketball-crazed nation, that's a long stretch. This season, they will have two: Bojan Bogdanovic on the Nets and Damjan Rudez on the Pacers.
For them and all the other Croatians --and indeed most of the NBA's Europeans, their inspiration is Drazen Petrovic. Earlier this year, Bogdanovic was the subject of the Euroleague feature video below. He was asked who was his idol. There was no hesitation.
"Drazen Petrovic. He is the idol of all Croatian people, not just of basketball players. one of the best Europe players ever," Still, twenty years after his death, It's Petrovic ... and it should be noted the Nets.
It was the Nets, after all, who first drafted and first offered an NBA contract to international player, Oscar Schmidt of Brazil, in 1984. But it was Petrovic who cemented the Nets reputation as the franchise with the best sense of basketball's global reach. They gave Europe's best player significant minutes and he rewarded them by becoming the first international player named to an All-NBA team. Of course, the team also is now owned by the first international, first European and first Russian owner in Mikhail Prokhorov.
This season, they will have, if the roster remains the same, five international players: Mirza Teletovic (who was coached by Petrovic's brother, Aco, on the Bosnian national team), Andrei Kirilenko and Sergey Karasev from Prokhorov's home country, Jorge Gutierrez of Mexico and Bogdanovic.
A decade ago, the Nets drafted their first European player after Petrovic was killed, Zoran Planinic. It didn't work out as planned, but he too like Bogdanovic and Teletovic was inspired by Petrovic. Back then, he said that as he began to sign his first NBA contract his hand began to shake because he was joining Petrovic's team.
Hopefully, Bogdanovic feels the same way ... but it is a big legacy, still.
Mike Fratello on Bojan Bogdanovic
Few people in the Nets universe know as much about Bogdanovic as Mike Fratello does. We noted back in 2012 that he was a fan. As coach of Team Ukraine, Fratello went up against Croatia and Bogdanovic on more than one occasion. The other day, we discovered some highlights of Bogdanovic's preseason game vs the Thunder last October. As it turns out, Fratello was the NBA TV analyst. Relying on his experience coaching against Bogdanovic and his connections with Brooklyn, Fratello offered some interesting insights.
Prokhorov, Yormark ranked in New York Sports Top 50
The Daily News tried its hand at ranking the top 50 personalities in New York sports, an exercise in futility. Ranked according to who "wields the most power and registers the most impact --economically, socially, politicially-- across New York sports coverage.
Ranked No. 1 is James Dolan, mainly because he owns Cablevision, the Garden, the Knicks, Rangers and Liberty. Hard to argue that. Mike Francesa at No. 8 is pure idiocy. Mikhail Prokhorov, who set the NBA's financial standard and brought a major league team to Brooklyn, is nine spots behind Francesa. Brett Yormark is 38. He's only the CEO of the Nets and Barclays Center and in charge of bringing the next major league team, the Islanders, into the city limits.Jay-Z who longer owns a piece of the Nets bur remains quite friendly with the organization is ranked 23. Not on the list? Jason Collins.
Here's the link, going backward. Less painful that way.
Sam Amico of FOX Sports writes this week on how basketball writing can be improved. In talking about credentialing bloggers, he writes...
I don't blame teams from shying away from allowing too many one-on-one interviews. They rarely know who to trust. That's why they need to be more selective in who they credential. Public relations staffs should do their homework. That doesn't mean axing bloggers. Waiting For Next Year in Cleveland and NetsDaily in Brooklyn are good examples of independent sites/blogs that are well-written, thought-provoking and informative. But there are a lot of others that aren't."
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