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. Sad for us. We rely on our own reporting as well as what the Nets’ beat reporters and others have slipped into larger stories, blogs and tweets...
First things first
We offer our congratulations to Mason Plumlee and Deron Williams on their big achievements since our last report.
Plumlee of course won a gold medal in the FIBA World Cup, giving him two of the four big titles a hoopster can win: an NCAA championship at Duke, which he won in 2010, and the World Cup. Not bad for a 24-year-old. The other two are tougher: an NBA title and an Olympic gold.
D-Will continued his great work on behalf of autism awareness with his Dodge Barrage at Basketball City. The event raised money ...and awareness. D-Will's Point of Hope Foundation has in fact pulled in more than $700,000 for charity since it was founded. After D-Will's son, D.J., was diagnosed with autism, he turned the foundation's focus to autism awareness. Also deserving of praise: his able assistants in this effort, Matt Mitnick and Jisset Pena, of his foundation's staff, as well as those players who showed up ... and played!
Coach: Bogdanovic still only a fraction of what he could be
Zeljko Obradovic is often called the "Phil Jackson of Europe" because of his championship resume, having won eight Euroleague titles with four different clubs. In addition to his success at the club level, he has won major trophies as Serbian national basketball team head coach, such as the 1997 FIBA European Championship and the 1998 FIBA World Championship.
For the past two years, he's been coach at Fenerbahce in Istanbul, where his best player was Bojan Bogdanovic. A Croatian reporter asked him about the Nets rookie's potential.
"He's maybe 40 percent of what he can be. He still has lot of room for improvement and it’s all up to him. Bojan knows what I think about him, I told him everything. I really wish he will stay as long as he can in NBA, but I wish he stays as someone who could leave deep imprint in the league and be very important player."
Bogdanovic credits Obradovic with helping him become a better player, telling reporters in July that Obradovic had asked him to be the initiator on Fener's pick-and-roll offense. Obradovic thought for sure that Bogdanovic would stay in Turkey for at least another year, but once he made his decision to play in the NBA, with the Nets, he offered him his congratulations.
In addition to Obradovic, Bogdanovic's teammate on the Croatia national team, Luka Zoric wished him well, calling "NBA-ready." Zoric also joked (as have we) that he is headed to Istanbul to play for Fener, where he's trading one Bogdanovic --Bojan-- for another --Bogdan. Will it ever end?
Thanks again to Igor Marinović, who's covered Bogdanovic for a number of Croatian and Bosnia media outlets, most notably Sportske Novosti. Give him a follow.
Alan Anderson's product placement
We don't know if there's any connection between Public Enemy, Flavor Flav and Alan Anderson, but either way, Anderson has to be happy with the rappers' appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon this week. There, live, was the Long Island native rocking a Nets jersey with the No. 6, Anderson's number.
There were other sightings of Nets gear this week. Here's one: John Bradley-West, the British actor who plays Samwell Tarley on Game of Thrones had his Brooklyn Basketball sweats on when he posed with a fan.
The Night's Watch is with us!
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 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 as well as Jason Collins. Andy Miller reps Kevin Garnett as well as 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. BDA, the Brian Duffy agency, reps Jerome Jordan, who has a training camp invitation..
Jeff Schwartz, Excel Sports Management
--Deron Williams, Mirza Teletovic and Jarrett Jack.
Notes: The Nets have had a great relationship with Jeff Schwartz who at one point repped five Nets players as well as their 2012 second round pick, Ilkan Karaman (through his European partner) and Jason Kidd. Among his other clients: Devin Harris, Blake Griffin, Tyson Chandler and Lamar Odom. The Nets credit Schwartz with helping them re-sign Williams, shepherding Kidd's coaching candidacy and convincing Pierce to agree to the trade. It was Schwartz, in fact, who first broached the head coaching idea to both Kidd and the Nets ownership. Earlier last season, he added Livingston. Then, when Livingston left, his replacement turned out to be a Schwartz client, Jarrett Jack.
Arn Tellem, Wasserman Media Group.
--Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Jason Collins, Jorge Gutierrez, Bojan Bogdanovic
Notes: Tellem's Wasserman and Schwartz's Excel are the two biggest NBA agencies. Tellem picked up Bogdanovic, who had been represented by Marc Cornstein, last summer and was instrumental in getting the Croatian star finally signed in Brooklyn. Tellem's son, Matt, works in the Nets' front office. Tellem had been helping Collins find work before the Nets signed him. Wasserman Media's B.J. Armstrong, the former Bull, reps Gutierrez.
Andy Miller, ASM Sports
-- Kevin Garnett, Marquis Teague, Markel Brown and Sergey Karasev
Notes: Like Schwartz, Andy Miller has lost a number of Nets but unlike Schwarz, he added a few, too. Reggie Evans was traded and Andray Blatche became a free agent. Then with two trades and the Draft, Miller wound up with three new Nets clients: Marquis Teague, Markel Brown and Sergey Karasev. Miller of course retains the Big Ticket as his big client. Miller is one of the most respected sports agents in the US. He was able to get Garnett to waive his no-trade clause in 2013, one of the more underappreciated aspects of the Nets - Celitcs trade. Deron Williams and Jason Kidd may have texted Garnett, but it was Miller who negotiated with the Nets on getting his final year fully guaranteed. He once worked for the Nets in the their press office.
Marc Fleisher, Entersport Management
Notes: Fleisher reps a number of the NBA's international players. Like Schwartz and Miller, his role was critical in making the Nets' 2013 off-season successful, blessing the final deal between the two sides. Kirilenko is his biggest client by far. Also reps Aron Baynes of the Spurs.
Mark Bartelstein, Priority Sports
--Alan Anderson, Mason Plumlee
Notes: Bartelstein, one of the NBA's biggest agents, hadn't repped any Nets for a few years until last summer. He pushed hard for the Nets to sign Anderson to a two-year deal, with a player option in the second year, an ideal arrangement for a journeyman. Anderson originally agreed to a two-year deal with a starting salary of $1.8 million, Peter Vecsey reported. Then, he signed for the vets minimum when he heard the Nets were getting Kirilenko. That freed up the full mini-MLE for the Nets to use on AK-47. Bartlestein also represents David Lee, Taj Gibson and Mason's brother, Miles Plumlee.
Michael Silverman, Athlete Management
Notes: Silverman reps a number of young NBA players, including Epke Udoh and Quincy Acy.
LIRR to the rescue?
A survey of typical weekday Nets games last season showed more than half the fans took the subway, a quarter arrived by private car; The third most popular mode of travel was walking (6.9 percent), which outpaced the Long Island Rail Road (6 percent), taxis or car services (5.7 percent) and city buses (1.1 percent). The use of mass transit was even greater than anticipated by the team ... or local residents.
Now, with a year to go, the Barclays Center/Nets management is hoping that the pattern of using mass transit will continue with the Islanders who will play an exhibition game at Barclays next Friday night. A year from now, it will be for real as the Isles move to Brooklyn.
"We really want to make sure that we do everything right for the Long Islanders coming out to Brooklyn," Barclays chief operating officer Fred Mangione said. "This is kind of our last dress rehearsal. The next time the Islanders are here, they're here for real."
So on Friday, the LIRR will be adding trains and staggering departures, reports Newsday.
After the game, trains will go directly to Babylon and Hicksville. Brooklyn customers traveling to those stations typically have to change at Jamaica. In between scheduled departures, the LIRR will also run shuttle trains between Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica at regular intervals after the game, and as late as necessary.
The LIRR learned some lessons in this regard last year when the Islanders and Devils played the first NHL game at the arena. The railroad, said the LIRR president, was "crushed" by 6,000 fans after the game -- considerably more passengers than the LIRR carries after other Barclays events.
Taking mass transit to games will be a cultural change for Islander fans, just as it was for Nets fans. Nassau Coliseum is a mile from any LIRR station. Everyone drove. So hello convenience, goodbye tail-gating.
We're updating our "Library section," which can be found as a drop-down section on our front page. One of the first things we're doing in updating our Twitter links, making sure they are authentic. Nets front office informed us last week that a Twitter account we thought was Lionel Hollins was in fact a fake. The coach, we were told, does not tweet.
So here's what we got. Not every player tweets. Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez and Jorge Gutierrez don't have verified accounts. Sergey Karasev's is apparently maintained by the same people who maintain his Russian VK.com account. VK is the Russian equivalent of Facebook and his is extraordinarily well done. It is in Russian. Billy King has locked his account. We also included some writers' accounts as well.
If we missed anyone, be sure to let us know.
Still waiting on camp invites
Other than Jerome Jordan, we still don't know who has been invited to Nets training camp. Last year, the Nets waited until three days before Media Day to announce that they had signed Jorge Gutierrez, Chris Johnson and Gary Forbes, then surprised everyone with the addition on Marko Jaric on Media Day. Not that it mattered. He was done.
So we expect to hear this week on the official list. Teams can invite up to 20 players, with or without contracts, to training camp. We doubt they will bring in four more players, with 16 already in camp. We are told no headlines, no big names.
This is it, the final Off-Season Report for 2014. Off-season ends with Media Day. After that, it's pre-season. We've done the off-season reports now for seven years, going back to 2008. Some off-seasons are better than others. This one wasn't as eventful as the last two. That's for sure!
In 2012, there was the Joe Johnson trade and Deron Williams signing, not to mention the move to Brooklyn and the opening of Barclays Center. Heady times.
Last summer, of course, there was Jason Kidd's arrival, the Paul Pierce - Kevin Garnett trade and the Andrei Kirilenko signing. Exciting times!
This summer, the big news was Jason Kidd's departure for the Bucks. After that, it was not very big: The Nets lost Pierce but gained Bojan Bogdanovic, lost Shaun Livingston but gained Jarrett Jack. Had no picks in the draft but wound up with three rookies in Bogdanovic, Markel Brown and Cory Jefferson plus a 20-year-old in Sergey Karasev.. The biggest news, other than Kidd, may have been Mason Plumlee making Team USA. Ho-hum. But that's fine. Concerns about health have begun to dissipate. No one is in a boot or wearing a cast. Everyone is upbeat. Expectations are low.
We got 'em right where we want 'em.