We call it the “Scola Principle,” as in what Luis Scola, then a Net, told Zach Lowe a year and a half ago.
“Once they win,” Scola said. “They will get everyone they want.”
So rumors of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving forming a Knick super team with Zion Williamson aside, are things happening just below the surface that should give Nets fans confidence (and hope) and The Prophet Scola was right?
Greg Logan talked to two of the Nets vets about whether they’re getting inquiries from free agents around the league.
“Guys talk for sure. They want to know how is the medical staff, how is the coach, how is the GM, how’s living in the city. All those little things, guys for sure want to know,” said Ed Davis.
Jared Dudley told Newsday he takes a more proactive approach. “It’s more me talking to them,” Dudley said. “I’m usually telling them, ‘Man, they just do it the right way here. Taking care of your body, preparing you, being able to live in the city, the facilities. The reason why Brooklyn is in the conversation is because they’re winning.”
Davis added that players have noticed what Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson have done in Brooklyn. It’s no secret.
“You could see the growth over years from 20 wins to 28 to 39-plus,” Davis told Logan prior to the Bucks game. “That’s the trend you want to see if you’re a free agent. It shows the guys at the top [of the organization] know what they’re doing. Everybody knows what this franchise went through with that trade that was arguably the worst trade in NBA history. The culture and us [contending for] the playoffs definitely help out a lot.”
The Nets of course will have better than $30 million in salary cap space going into the off-season, depending what moves they make between the end of the season (whenever that is) and July 6 when contracts can be signed. They also have their own free agent, D’Angelo Russell, they’ll want to sign.
But as Logan and Brian Lewis have pointed out, the Nets progress —40 wins, on the verge of the playoffs— is likely to be enough to persuade the top free agents to take a long look at the Nets. How much progress does that represent? It hasn’t really happened ... ever.
- Nets are an attractive potential spot for free agents - Greg Logan - Newsday