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NetsDaily Off-Season Report - No. 22

And we’re back, for our 11th big year! Every weekend, we’ll be updating the Nets’ off-season with bits and pieces of information, gossip, etc. to help take the edge off 28-54.

Brooklyn Nets

One more after this one. A week from Monday, training camp opens.

Welcome, Alan Williams

Few expected the Nets to sign a 25-year-old big man with three years experience as their first two-way player. First of all, Alan Williams barely qualifies for a two-way. A two-way player can have no more than three years experience and it’s hard to recall a player his age agreeing to a two-way. After all, the maximum potential earnings for two-way players in the 2018-19 season will be $385,000, as the New York Times reported back in April.

Unless of course, he gets signed to a full NBA deal during the year. That would not be surprising ... if all goes well. The Nets have had a lot of movement in their first two years under Sean Marks. In 2016-17, a total of 24 players were under contract at one point or another during the season. Last year, it dipped to 22 players, including four two-ways.

Unbalanced trades happen all the time, with openings suddenly arising. Under two-way rules, the Nets will have a lot of time to take a look at the 6’8”, 265-pound Williams. The way it works, Williams can spend 45 days with the NBA Nets before Marks will have to make a decision to sign him to an NBA contract. Those 45 days do not include the time between his signing and the opening of G-League season, which is November 2.

Bobby Marks thinks that the Nets will quickly exhaust those 45 days.

Sean Marks has said he expects to use the G-League in different ways this season. Back, in April, he volunteered that things are changing down on the farm.

“The fact that the G League has taken those steps now, where you’ll potentially have draft eligible candidates or players coming into the G League. You’ll have foreign guys coming into the G League early, that’s a terrific – I give the NBA a lot of credit for they are trying to develop and tweak how we all use the G League.”

A number of NBA pundits, in addition to Bobby Marks (do we have to say “no relation” at this point?) gave the Nets high grades for the signing and use of two-way.

In fact, Dakota Schmidt of Ridiculous Upside, the SB Nation fan blog that covers the G-League, wrote Sunday, “There is a ridiculous amount of upside in Williams. He is arguably the accomplished NBA player to receive a two-way deal.”

What can we expect? Bryan Fonseca, who does our “What We Expect” series, will have more on that in the near future. In the meantime, here’s a video from two years ago, before he partially tore his meniscus, vs. Golden State. It was a blowout but Williams had 16 points and 17 rebounds.

One final thing about Williams the player. In a tweet, Jared Dudley seemed to suggest that Williams is not fully recovered from his meniscus tear, but on the other hand, we was working out for NBA teams, and presumably the Nets, last week.


Now, let’s talk about the person who is at least as interesting.

Williams comes out of the Arizona law enforcement establishment. His mother, Jeri, is the police chief in Phoenix, the country’s fifth largest city, and his father, Cody, is a justice of the peace in Maricopa County, which encompasses Phoenix.

Chief Williams was named two years ago after being chief in Oxnard, California, for five years. She started as a beat cop in Phoenix, rose to deputy chief then went off to Oxnard.

The first woman chief in the Arizona capital, Williams was asked about Black Lives Matter when she was sworn in.

“The Black Lives Matter movement was spawned by a rash of men of color, and sometimes women of color, being killed by the hands of law enforcement. So it is a cry out, it is a see and listen to me and help me understand why this is happening. So I am obviously an advocate of Black Lives Matter from that respect, because that’s the community coalescing and involving.

“But frankly I’m all about all lives matter.

“Wouldn’t it be a great world that if and when we respond to calls for service, and you call your Phoenix Police Department and every single time we come out we do right by you?

“So the Black Lives Matter movement is a call and a cry out for us as a community, we as law enforcement to really recognize and know the importance of community connections, police legitimacy and trust and just bear respect for human life.”

Not what you normally hear from a police chief.

Williams the player has been involved with both his mom and dad’s law enforcement role. He congratulated his mom on her new job and watched the swearing-in in sweats while on the road.

And last April, while recovering from his knee injury, was campaign manager for his father’s re-election campaign, using his social media accounts to gather support, raise money.

And watch for this ritual whether at Barclays Center or Nassau Coliseum. As the New York Times reported, Williams’s respect for his mother’s profession inspired him to see police officers who work at his games, to shake their hands and to thank them for their service.

Numbers Please ... another update

We await the Nets decision on what number Alan Williams will wear this season. Sounds like a minor thing, but Williams has worn No. 15 while with the Suns. As any Nets fan knows, No. 15 belonged to Vince Carter when he played for the Nets. We were surprised when the Nets handed No. 15 to Isaiah Whitehead, assuming that at some point the Nets would retire it. We chalked it to Whitehead having worn it growing up in Brooklyn and so he was granted the privilege of wearing it for the Brooklyn Nets.

Now, though, a decision to hand No. 15 to Williams would suggest that there’s nothing special about No. 15. No dis to Williams, but we would very disappointed if that happened. VC played as well for the Nets as he did for the Raptors and Toronto has retired No. 15. So should the Nets.

WHAT WE EXPECT ... the archives

As we noted, Bryan Fonseca has put together previews on all the new Nets (other than Williams), whether Draft picks or signings. That includes not only Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs, but Theo Pinson, the undrafted North Carolina product, and even Isaia Cordinier, the French League guard whose rights the Nets acquired in the Jeremy Lin deal.

Here are the links to his work...

Dzanan Musa, young but experienced - June 24

Rodions Kurucs, a project with potential - June 24

Why Ed Davis could be a great fit in Nets front court - July 3

Isaia Cordinier — does he have a chance at NBA? - July 13

Kenneth Faried - Special ‘Manimal’ Edition - July 15

How important of a piece will Shabazz Napier be? - July 16

Could Treveon Graham be more than the ‘15th man?’ - July 19

Theo Pinson is more than just some undrafted prospect - August 7

Jared Dudley brings elite range, toughness and TWITTER - August 13

Could Jordan McLaughlin be more than Long Island’s PG? - August 14

Melli vs. Vezenkov

Reports out of Italy this week had the Nets still interested in Nicola Melli, the Italian power forward who Brooklyn has scouted multiple times and may have had an interest in signing a year ago.

Now, suggests Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi, the Nets’ and other teams’ interest extends to 2019.

Melli is indeed an accomplished player, playing in Italy, Germany and Turkey. He’s athletic and physically strong. He’s a winner, with multiple championships in his career. His mother won a silver for Team USA in women’s volleyball in 1984. But by the time free agency rolls around next summer, he’ll be 28.

Moreover, the Nets already have a 6’9” forward who they like. As Aleksandar Vezenkov proved Sunday in Bulgaria’s loss to Russia, he can play at a high level. The Nets stash poured in 22 points in 37 minutes, grabbed 12 rebounds and shooting 7-of-16.

He may not be as athletic or as strong as Melli, but he’s five years younger and as Sean Marks said of him when the Nets drafted him a year ago, he’s an “elite shooter.”

This year will be critical for Vezenkov. Last year, as we have noted, F.C. Barcelona didn’t play him, knowing that his future was likely in the NBA. (They did the same thing with Rodions Kurucs.) Now, Vezenkov will be playing for Olympiacos, the Greek team that is the favorite to win the Euroleague. More importantly, his coach, David Blatt, is among the best in the world and wants to play him.

If Vezenkov plays the same kind of game he displayed vs. Russia, it looks like the Nets will have a solid prospect whenever he decides to come over (or a trade asset.) His three-year deal with Olympiacos has NBA “outs” after each year.

NetsDeli, Updated

Remember the story of the East Side Market, the Manhattan deli whose new sign mimicked (and we’re being kind) our logo?

Here’s a better view.

Well, we are told by our bosses at SB Nation that the issue has been resolved. Expect the signs to be taken down soon if it hasn’t already. If you still see it at 1463 York Avenue, near First, let us know.

Gianluca Pascucci’s wisdom

Marcellino Natalini is an Italian basketball fan who won Italian Basketball’s “Commissioner for a Day” this summer. It’s contest for Italian youngsters who want to have “an impact on the basketball industry through innovative ideas,” according to contest rules.

The winner got a trip to the U.S., including a visit to the Las Vegas Summer league and the Nets training center ... plus dinner with Gianluca Pascucci, the Nets director of global scouting.

Natalini wrote about his experiences including that dinner with Pascucci who’s not often quoted. Here’s some of what he learned from Pascucci who had been Daryl Morey’s right hand man in Houston before Sean Marks hired him.

Pascucci’s first big piece of wisdom imparted over dinner was this: “In the winter, teams are built but in the summer, players.” In other words, make sure your players spend their summers in the gym and together...

“Speaking with Gianluca,” Natalini wrote, “the importance of keeping players together as much as possible emerged ... to create a family” inside and outside the gym. Pascucci also emphasized the importance of filling the training center “with all the comforts” possible.

The Nets of course have done both. (One interesting aspect of the HSS Training Center is that players cannot reach all those “comforts” in the players’ lounge without passing through the weight and conditioning area.)

Pascucci also emphasized that it is of “paramount importance to build a brand as a team,” in other words a culture.

“Brand and community ... these words impressed me in the various chats with other members of the franchise,” Natalini noted.

Here’s a video of Natalini with some international players from the summer league... including Shawn Dawson, the Israeli who played for the Nets in summer league and was signed by Joventut of Spain.

Final Note

Just another reason why we love Spencer Dinwiddie: his love of the city...

And of course, he has no mercy no matter who he is up against!