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 last year. 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...
Deron hates New York ... or does he?
We found ourselves alternatively amused and appalled at the "controversy" over Deron Williams' remarks about New Yokr this week, as published in Resident Magazine ... a publication we had never heard of but which describes itself as the "monthly magazine for the affluent and culturally savvy Manhattanite."
The media found the remarks shocking and in need of public scorn. What he say? Well, the second hand version of the remarks had him hating New York, which of course he never said.
Here's what he actually said...
"I’m not going to lie. I don’t really feel so much like a New Yorker. I grew up in an apartment in Texas where you could send your kids outside like ‘yeah, go play in the sun.’ Here it’s more challenging. The process of getting them into school is a nightmare. Even private schools where you pay are an ordeal. In Utah, you just send your kids to the first public school in the area because they’re all great. Truth is, we enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle and going back to Utah every summer. It’s a relief to take that timeout. No traffic. No crowds. My daughters still have their friends there. There’s a big backyard. They go to the pool; the playground and they jump on the trampoline. Kids running wild and free here (in New York)…? I don’t think so."
Wow. That is damning! "Not so much like a New Yorker." Not "I hate New York" or even "I don't feel like a New Yorker." Just "not so much like a New Yorker." Still, it set off a wave of approbation. Boomer and Carton, apparently tired of figuring out whether the Jets or Giants will suck less and counting down the final days, hours, minutes and seconds of Derek Jeter's (interminably) long goodbye, devoted a whole segment to it.
Carton starts off by saying, "If you don't like living in the city, in the five boroughs, who's makin' ya?" Forgetting of course --as Stefan Bondy noted-- Williams is the only Net who owns his own home in those five boroughs. He has chosen to live in New York, bought an eight-figure condo. It went downhill from there. "If I hated living in New York City, I wouldn't live in New York City," he continued. Of course, Williams never said that. Oh wait there's more faux anger from the WFAN sportscaster, describing Williams as "bitching" about New York, which of course is simply never done.
In comparison to ESPN's Jared Greenberg, we're told, Carton was positively edifying, but no one listens to Greenberg so we're not going there.
Others chimed in. One of our favorites was the Post treatment. Justin Terranova's piece in the Post, which was a mostly plain vanilla recitation of the Resident Magazine quotes, was topped with a headline that read, "Deron Williams no fan of living in New York." Post editors thought it all so newsworthy that they placed it THIRD on the Post website under Joan Rivers' death. Really? Last week, with crises and mass murder in Iraq, Ukraine, etc. and a misquoted interview of Deron Williams is big news?! Guffaw!
We don't know where any of the rankled writers and commentators live. But really, a resident of the city has a love-hate relationship with Gotham?! NO! That's news?! If you don't complain about SOMETHING in the city, you're not a New Yorker! Rents, garbage, schools, the help! They're all the target of incessant ire.
Also amusing to us was the lack of a similar reaction when later in the week Carmelo Anthony admitted that his decision to stay in the city was about "business opportunities," that he sees New York as the perfect launching pad for his plan to become a "digital athlete." In other words, it WAS all about the money. D-Will cites the difficulties his children face when discussing how he feels about the city. Melo discusses how he couldn't give up the "business opportunities.".
"I just couldn't leave from that perspective," Melo said at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in Manhattan. "There were so many opportunities that I started to build upon here in New York City, business opportunities, different situations, things I've already started to build here."
(And unlike D-Will, Melo has not professed a love of the subways, which D-Will did in the Resident interview. Also, unlike D-Will, Melo rents, now owns in Manhattan.)
People come and go from New York all the time. It's that dynamism, that diversity that makes the city great ... and it is great. Better than 50 percent of New Yorkers were born elsewhere, around 40 percent were born overseas. That's stunning and says a great deal about the city as cultural magnet, but that also means a LOT of people moved away, too, for whatever reasons.
That ends the amusing part of our post on this story. Here's the appalling part. Few if any of these pundits mentioned that Williams mainly used the interview as forum to discuss his role in the fight against autism, a fight born out of the diagnosis he and his wife Amy received when their adopted son, D.J. was two years old. The author of the interview noted how Williams "choked up" talking about his son who, by the way, was born in Brooklyn. He spoke about the need to get early diagnosis, avoid the stigma and his role as "ambassador" for Autism Speaks.
There was virtually nothing about that in most of the discussion. His advocacy of autism issues, his personal tragedy, got little mention, as if it was a footnote, rather than the focus, of the interview. Our report on the interview was retweeted more by parents affiliated with Autism Speaks than by basketball fans. We don't listen to much sports radio in New York. It's filled with faux anger by shrieking, usually overcaffineated "hosts" with little but the most general knowledge. If Billy King or Lionel Hollins is on the shows, we listen, then turn if off. We find it mostly juvenile ... and, as this case proved, meaningless.
One other thing: Bondy alone among writers and commentators got a response from D-Will, writing in the Daily News...
Williams explained to the Daily News that he only meant it can be "a lot" to raise four kids in the city and "to get away in the summer is always great for a couple months."
"I love New York but I also love my time in Utah," he told The News.
Bondy, in fact was the voice of reason (!!) in this. Good for him.
D-Will and his wife didn't respond directly, didn't engage in "damage control" as Hardwood Paroxsym suggested he must. Amy did post pictures of the happy Williams family on Instagram and Deron's Point of Hope kept tweeting out names of corporate sponsors for his Dodge Barrage for Autism on September 15. Classy.
Andray Blatche may think he's headed to Miami to negotiate a deal with the Heat, but there are indications Sunday that that is not a done deal at all.
Bary Jackson of the Miami Herald and Mark J. Spears reported Saturday night that Ryan Hollins, the very definition of a journeyman center, has met with the Heat, something Pat Riley has yet to afford Blatche.
Seeking another backup big man,Heat summoned Ryan Hollins to Miami to meet with Spoelstra & staff Friday.Nazr Mohammed came in previous week— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) September 7, 2014
Free agent center @TheRyanHollins met with the Heat on Friday, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Kings, Bulls & Spurs also have interest in Hollins— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) September 7, 2014
Ira Winderman, the Heat beat reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, also writes Sunday that while Blatche might seem to be a "no-brainer," particularly after his high level of play with the Philippines at the World Cup, there remain questions.
If it were up to me (and it never is), it would be a no-brainer. Frankly, I think a lot of it would be up to Blatche, a willingness to buy into the Heat system and accept a minimal contract. Even that tweet that came out at the World Cup, saying Blatche was returning to Miami to negotiate . . . there is nothing to negotiate, at least with the Heat. The minimum is all they have to offer. I would be shocked if the Heat would allow a guarantee to get in the way. But you do have to wonder about Blatche being forced to wait this late in the process, whether there isn't more at play than salary or role.
Yes, you do.
Boy oh Boy, Bojan
Oh yeah, he's ours. And all he cost the Nets in 2011 was $1.3 million in cash and a second round pick who isn't in the NBA anymore, as we noted last week.
But what you saw this week in Spain, despite the disappointment to Croatians, is part of the Nets strategy to make up for the lost draft picks they have sent Boston in the Kevin Garnett - Paul Pierce trade. Buy picks and hope the players they take make up for what was lost.
"We will always buy picks," one Nets executive told us not long ago, noting the Nets will try to hold on to the $3.4 million they're allotted to sweeten deals or buy picks. Another Nets exec noted that the Nets felt comfortable giving up a pick, even in a great draft, because they believed they could bring Bogdanovic over. He is their first round equivalent this season and he looks like he will play like one. Throughout the long wait, before and after the Boston trade, the Nets expressed optimism that he would be a lottery-level player on arrival.
In addition to finally bringing over Bogdanovic, they bought three other picks in the 2014 draft, all of whom they thought had been overlooked. It cost them of a total of $1.9 million. Multiple sources told us they had Markel Brown at No. 22 on their mock draft board going into the Draft. They believe Brown is NBA-quality but that his age --he'll be 23 at the end of January-- and his tweener status, somewhere between a point guard and a shooting guard, dropped him down to 44. He is virtually no-risk. He'll make rookie minimum --$507,000-- this season and is only partially guaranteed next. (Cory Jefferson also has some NBA qualities, like an ability to rebound and hyper athleticism for a man of his size but needs to bulk up As a result, his contract is only partially guaranteed this summer.)
For those who say the Nets could have had Bogdanovic AND the 17th pick sent to Boston, the counter argument in response is that of course they could, but they thought getting Piece and Garnett opened up a championship window. Also, they'll note that if you're planning on contending, rather than rebuilding, there are only so many openings for rookies on your roster. James Young, the 19-year-old taken by the Celtics with their pick, may very well turn out to be better than Bogdanovic in the long term, but he's a rebuilding team's pick, rather than a contender's pick.
The Nets are likely to want picks, first or second rounders, or a young player in any small deals they make. They got two for Jason Kidd and Sergey Karasev in three-team salary dump with the Cavs and Celtics. Karasev remains the Nets youngest player.
Will it work out long term? It should if the Nets don't fall out of contention and have to give up lottery picks. The 2014 Draft is likely to be the best for a while. And if Bogdanovic and Brown contribute to a contending team this year, there won't be a lot of hand-wringing about giving up picks. The focus will be on this season. We shall see. It's why they play the games. And yes, the Nets DO regret the Boston deal. This is one way they are trying to recover from it.
One other thing on Bojan. As he took over in the fourth quarter vs. France, scoring 14 points (but missing what could have been the game-winner), he got progressively more emotional. Watching him, he is for the most party stoical, but when the game is on the line and he's pumpin', he gets quite excited. Almost a guarantee he becomes a fan favorite.
A late add from Milwaukee
In an interview this week at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit, Bucks owner Marc Lasry spoke about Jason Kidd's future role. You may recall that initial reports had Kidd wanting to move on to Milwaukee so he could be the GM, not the coach. Then, Kidd and Lasry denied that was the case, that Kidd wants to be coach in Milwaukee, not GM. John Hammond could keep his job, unlike Larry Drew.
Well in that interview, as reported by our sister site, Brew Hoops, Lasry didn't rule out Kidd joining the front office at some point in the future, essentially confirming those initial reports.
"I think right now the plan is coach the team and then we'll see how everything develops. So I think for us, for the GM [John Hammond], for Jason, and for us, it's much more of a team approach as opposed to everything being [about] individuals."
If you're interested, Lasry and Kidd both still own pieces of the Nets and Barclays Center, held in blind trusts. Kidd must sell his share. Lasry does not, according to Nets sources.
Social media from top to bottom
Following the players social media accounts is always fun. Some, like Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez and Jorge Gutierrez, still don't have Twttier accounts. Sergey Karasev has an account maintained by others. Also, there's the variations among players who do.
Jarrett Jack is the most pithy user of Twitter. Here's what he posted minutes before news of his trade to the Nets was leaked...
I got news— JARRETT JACK (@Jarrettjack03) July 9, 2014
And here's what he tweeted this week, perhaps signaling his arrival in New Jersey...
Oct 29th pic.twitter.com/ROM3hV8lc6— JARRETT JACK (@Jarrettjack03) September 4, 2014
Mirza Teletovic often uses his Twitter account to promote the Nets in Bosnia, as he did two days ago, enlisting Bosnian footballers Asmir Begović and Edin Džeko as Brooklynites.
Marquis Teague posts a lot of pictures of his meals on Instagram. Here's one. Has Dr. Jeremy Bettle seen this??
But Karasev is in a league of his own. Someone affiliated with him maintains a Russian language page for him on VK.com, the Russian equivalent of Facebook. It's in Russian, but it is filled with news, video, images, etc and updated, for the most part, daily. There's no pictures of food, but with the aid of Google Translate, you can track what he's up to.
We need to know more about this, a throwback NEW JERSEY Nets cap which one of our fans, @brotherrfuture94, tweeted us about. He said he purchased at the Lids at 462 Fulton in Brooklyn and that the store they had just gotten them in. It seems legit and one would think there is (a bit of) a market for it. If we hear anything more, we will let you know.