Back in 2011, when the Nets were still in New Jersey and trying to convince everyone their long-delayed arena would eventually become reality, they placed easels outside the visitors locker room in Newark showing architects renderings and photos of construction progress. One interested party took a long look but Carmelo Anthony wound up across the river anyway.
On Monday, there was a more permanent exhibit outside the visitors locker room at Barclays Center, which did eventually get built. As Andy Vasquez tweeted, it is an oversized wall poster and shows architects' renderings ... of the HSS Training Center. Its purpose was similar to the Newark easels. It's part of a free agency pitch that's already begun.
The view from outside the visitors' locker room at Barclays Center. Nets w/ an early pitch to potential free agents. pic.twitter.com/lEzmwKQSZv— Andy Vasquez (@andy_vasquez) October 5, 2015
Everyone publicly says this is not a rebuilding year, although some executives have been overheard calling 2015-16 a "bridge year," But there's no doubt that July 1, 2016 is marked on everyone's calendar at the Seagram Building in Manhattan, where ONEXIM has its offices, 15 MetroTech where Nets business operations are housed and for now at 390 Murray Hill Parkway in East Rutherford, where the team is training until February. And yes, at 13/1 Tverskoy Boulevard in Moscow, where the boss makes his decisions.
The visitors locker room imagery is, of course, just the first step and a small one. It will include promotion of New York, Brooklyn, Barclays, the training center, committed ownership and yes, medical care at the Hospital for Special Surgery, the Nets official hospital and the gold standard in athletes care. But even with $40 million in cap space and some good young assets, the Nets will have to win to distinguish themselves on the court. And without that, all the promotion in the world isn't going to make the Nets attractive, not in a league where everyone will have cap space.