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Slowly, Nets and Liberty weaving closer ties

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It shouldn’t be much of a surprise, if any. The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and WNBA’s New York Liberty, with their intertwined ownership, are slowly moving closer together. With Joe Tsai the principal owner of the Liberty and minority owner of Nets, the relationship was bound to grow and we’re starting to see it.

Two pieces of news Wednesday give hints of what’s likely to be closer collaboration between the two teams, particularly once Tsai takes over the Nets from Mikhail Prokhorov. Although scheduled for the 2021-22 season, the New York Post has reported the two men are in talks to not only accelerate the Nets purchase, but add the operating companies that run Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum to an expanded deal. (Both arenas are owned by government entities, Barclays by the state of New York, the Coliseum by Nassau County.)

Wednesday morning, the Liberty announced it had reached an agreement with the Hospital for Special Surgery which of course is the official hospital of the Nets and sponsor their training facility. HSS also treats Liberty players.

“The Liberty are proud to expand our long-standing partnership with HSS to include a visual representation of their commitment to women athletes,” said Keia Clarke, Liberty COO. “HSS doctors treat our players, attend our games and support our youth initiatives, so this collaboration makes sense on many levels.”

Then, in the afternoon, hours before the WNBA Draft, Spencer Dinwiddie unveiled a sneaker design to honor the Liberty on Draft Night.

Dinwiddie referred to the Liberty as the Nets’ “sister team,” and included hashtags for the Liberty’s new slogan “Liberty Loud” as well as the Nets “We Go Hard.”

There are other connections. The Liberty will host the Chinese women’s national team for an exhibition game at Barclays Center on May 9. It will be Liberty’s first game in Brooklyn and that’s led to speculation that once the team’s commitment to Westchester County Center ends following this season, they could be headed to Barclays for the 2020 season.

And Liberty players have started to show up courtside at Nets games. More importantly, Tsai has apparently chosen a trusted aide, Oliver Weisberg, an American, to deal with both teams. Weisberg runs Blue Pool Capital, the Tsai family investment vehicle.