The Long Island Nets are standing up.
While the ownership and management of the Brooklyn Nets search for a new GM --and ultimately a new front office and coach-- the Nets D-League entry, the Long Island Nets, are also closing on their new leadership, starting with a vice president of business operations, in charge of ticket sales, marketing, branding, communications and community relations.
The team will begin play in November at Barclays Center, making it the only D-League team to play on their parent team's home court. Moreover, the team will train with the parent club at the HSS Training Center in Industry City their first season. Then, after Nassau Coliseum's renovation is complete, the team will move there for the 2017-18 season and set up their own offices and training facility on Long Island.
According to league sources, the Nets management interviewed 12 candidates for the job of vice president of business operations. From that list, five finalists were chosen and were interviewed last week. The next step will be to narrow the field to two candidates. That should happen within the next two weeks. Brett Yormark and Fred Mangione, the Nets and Barclays chief operating officer, will talk with both and make the final decision.
Once that position --and the Nets GM job-- are filled, the basketball side will get some attention. Normally, a D-League front office consists of a general manager, head coach, assistant coach and trainer. The Long Island Nets will participate in the D-League Draft the first week of November, then begin play a few weeks later.
During the first 90 days, said a source, the VP will work to integrate the D-League with the Nets corporate headquarters’ various business departments and work on scheduling for year one as well as identify the timeline for the launch of the Long Island Nets, and seeding of the brand, in Nassau. The Nets have said they'd like to combine D-League and NBA games in double-headers at Barclays in the first year.
The Nets have been without a D-League team for the past two years after the ownership of their old affiliate, the Springfield Armor, sold the team. The new owners, Michigan businessmen, moved the team to Grand Rapids, along with all the players' D-League rights and draft picks, and became the Pistons' affiliate. The Long Island Nets will be wholly owned by the parent club..
As Ridiculous Upside, SB Nation's D-League blog notes, the Nets have finally realized the importance of the D-League. Ethan Drigotas writes of the Long Island Nets, "Even though their stars may not play there, the deep bench that makes a championship team will."