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...
So when the schedule comes out later this week, what games will be looking for when we scan the list?
--Nets @ Grizzlies. Let's not forget that Kidd's departure was not the only ugly departure associated with the Nets. Memphis dumped Lionel Hollins after a 56-win record. To make matters worse, the Grizzlies odd ownership/management refused to let him interview with anyone until the last minute. Hollins wants this.
--Wizards vs. Nets at Barclays. It's not going to be like Pierce's return to Boston Garden, but you can be sure Pierce will have something to say about the Nets decision not to retain him.
--Nets vs. Cavaliers at Barclays. There's no real nostalgia here. Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev played only one year in Cleveland, but still, it's LeBron James. Actually, we are hoping for this match-up to be the home opener.
Of course, we'll be looking to see if the Nets playing on Christmas Day and all the TV dates. Last season, the Nets played 26 games on national TV. The breakdown was: TNT eight times, ESPN nine times and NBA TV nine times. Finally, we'll want to know the dates of the four Knicks games.
Changing agent picture
It wasn't that long ago that one agent dominated the Nets. Jeff Schwartz was a big reason the Nets were able to re-sign Deron Williams, hire Jason Kidd and trade for Paul Pierce. That's changed.
Indeed, Schwartz once repped five Nets as well as Kidd. He's now the registered agent for only three: Williams, Mirza Teletovic and Jarrett Jack.
The agent who now dominates the Nets roster and payroll is Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group, with Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Jorge Gutierrez and Bojan Bogdanovic. He was in fact instrumental in getting Bogdanovic to Brooklyn. Andy Miller also reps four Nets but only one member of the rotation: Kevin Garnett. His other clients are Markel Brown, Sergey Karasev and Marquis Teague. Miller also reps Lawrence Frank. Mark Bartlestein reps two: Mason Plumlee and Alan Anderson.
The other two Nets are Andrei Kirilenko, repped by Marc Fleisher, and rookie Cory Jefferson, who's repped by Mike Silverman.
That's a big change.
FIBA action heating up
The friendly games are nearly over and the real games are about to begin. On Sunday, Team Russia will play Team Switzerland in Fribourg, Switzerland in the opening round of the FIBA Europe Qualifying Tournament. On Wednesday, Mirza Teletovic leads Bosnia in another Qualifying Tournament series, vs. Great Britain, whose coach is Kidd assistant Joe Prunty.
Also, Wednesday, Mason Plumlee is back in Team USA practice, this time in Chicago.
The week after, there's an international friendly tournament with a distinctive Nets touch. Croatia will play in a tournament in Spain against the host country, Mexico and Ukraine. This is the only tournament where two Nets, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jorge Gutierrez, will play against each other. And YES broadcaster Mike Fratello coaches Ukraine.
Democratic Convention in Brooklyn?
There's plenty of optimism now that the Democratic Party will hold its nominating convention in Brooklyn next August. The Clintons, being New York residents, are behind it. Mayor Bill DeBlasio is pushing it hard and representatives of the Democratic National Committee will be in Brooklyn next week to give Barclays Center a look-see.
The city, borough and arena organization will roll out a big red carpet for the Dems: "DNC 2016" banners promoting the borough as the venue for the Democratic National Convention began appearing this week on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.
The campaign will begin officially Monday at the Barclays Center, which will host the convention's main events. There will also be a luncheon at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, walk through the new Brooklyn Bridge waterfront park. AP reprots that there will even be stacks of personalized Brooklyn Nets jerseys for each member of the DNC's Technical Advisory Group who will make the recommendation.
The convention won't be limited to the arena, reports the Times:
Private ferries would shuttle delegates and donors from Manhattan across the East River to Downtown Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Navy Yard, an industrial park one and a half miles from the arena, has been considered for a media center. Celebrity athletes and actors would accompany delegates to Broadway shows and museums, and the city is even proposing a special subway MetroCard for convention week, though officials declined to elaborate on the details.
Sounds good, but how come no one mentions the optics of holding a political convention at an arena 45 percent owned by a Russian oligarch even one with a liberal record who ran against Vladimir Putin? That has to be a consideration at some point and as anyone who follows international media knows, Mikhail Prokhorov's opposition to Putin will get lost in the codewording of American politics.
Markel Brown most athletic player in the draft?
We missed it but Lenn Robbins reported this week that Fran Fraschilla called Markel Brown the most athletic player in the NBA Draft. That would mean more athletic than Andrew Wiggins, whose got some press this week. Wiggins of course was drafted at No. 1, 43 places above Brown. Still, we expect a lot from Brown, like this dunk from two years ago at the Garden which we hope he can duplicate..
Will Brown get a chance to show that off on a big stage, like the Slam Dunk Contest at the All-Star Weekend? He was asked in Friday's Twitter Q&A if he saw himself winning the contest, which after all will be at Barclays Center next February. "If I'm invited, I do," he responded.
Hollins' international commitment
There turns out to be an additional benefit to Lionel Hollins hiring: his commitment to international basketball. In interview after interview this week from Johannesburg, Hollins spoke about the value of the global game, something near and dear to the hearts of Nets ownership and management as they seek to make the Nets a global brand.
"I've been here, I've built houses, Habitats for Humanity," Hollins told Rod Boone. "I've been at an AIDS orphanage, I've been out to Clifton [South Africa] and to the orphanage that's there. The opportunity to interact with the different culture and to show the community as the NBA has gone global, we are not just global from a perspective from basketball, but we are also trying to contribute to the communities and enhance those experiences as well."
"I think it’s a great honor to be able to play for your country," Hollins told Tim Bontemps. "It’s great for the game of basketball. The game is global and a lot of these guys are teammates during the year, and now are competitors from an international perspective with their individual countries, so that’s fun."
"Now that the NBA is coming in and doing these camps all around Africa, I think that, one, creates interest, and, two, creates awareness of what's needed. So everybody needs to get on board," he told Jared Zwerling. "There was a time in China where there weren't the facilities, and now they're building facilities all over China. The game in China is growing and it's going to do the same thing here in Africa."
Markel Brown and Cory Jefferson have shown they are NBA players despite where they fell in the draft, at Nos. 44 and 60. Both have contracts and both will be in training camp. The Nets are happy with both. Not only have they shown basketball skills --including great athleticism, they are seen as character guys. Both have great personal stories, both played four years in big programs. They're also a bit older than normal draftees (as was Mason Plumlee). Brown will turn 23 in January, Jefferson 24 in December. If they work out --at all-- expect the Nets to keep drafting older, more mature players in the second round.