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Nets hint at who won't be back ... and the return of the D-League


In a letter to season ticket-holders about the team's future, Brett Yormark and Billy King  wrote about the Nets priorities and who they didn't mention was as revealing as who they did. They said as well that the Nets will soon have an announcement on the team's plans for a new D-League team.

"We are committed to keeping our core leadership together by re-signing Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young. At the same time, we will continue to build on our emerging young core of players, such as Mason Plumlee, Bojan Bogdanovic, Markel Brown, and Sergey Karasev."

Not mentioned: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Jarrett Jack or Mirza Teletovic. The first three have been subject of trade rumors or speculation while Teletovic is a restricted free agent. The Nets have said they will make a qualifying offer to Teletovic before June 30, meaning they can match any offer he may receive.  The question of course is how high they would go.

As for the Draft, the two suggested that the team may very well acquire picks (plural) beyond the two the Nets already control, at Nos. 29 and 41.

"[W]e are pleased to own the No. 29 and No. 41 picks. While we are identifying potential selections, we are even open to purchasing additional draft picks if the right opportunity presents itself. Furthermore, this summer, we are planning to be active in pursuing trades that would fill important needs."

Although much of the letter reiterated what King and others have said -- and speculated -- about the team's roster plans and the draft,  the D-League reference was new.  Here's the relevant quote on the D-League ... and the status of the team's $45 million training facility in Industry City, Brooklyn...

"We also want to update you that our world-class HSS Training Center is on pace to open during next season, which will give our players and coaches a state-of-the-art practice facility in Brooklyn. You can also expect to hear about our D-League commitment in the coming weeks, which would provide our young players with continuity in our system."

While the letter doesn't specifically note that the team will return to a one-on-one relationship with a D-League team, or when, it used the word, "commitment."  With so few picks over the next four drafts, a D-League team is seen as particularly important to the organization.

There have been reports in recent weeks that the Nets want to buy a D-League expansion team. but also that the new team could be a year or two away. In fact, the time required to buy a team, find a venue, hire a staff and simply set up shop makes it virtually impossible for the Nets to have an affiliate in place by the start of the D-League season in mid-November.

Buying an expansion team, as the Knicks did last season, will cost at least $6 million in entry fees ... and another million or more to operate it annually.  Other teams, like the Hornets and Raptors, have announced similar plans and the NBA doesn't want to expand the League too rapidly.  One rumor has the Nets re-establishing a D-League presence in Brooklyn.

Their previous relationship with the Springfield Armor was a "hybrid," in which a local businessman owned the team and the Nets ran basketball operations.  The businessman sold the Armor to a group of Michigan businessman and the Nets were left without an affiliate of their own. Brooklyn could have bought an expansion team of their own then, but decided against it.