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Adam Silver: Free agency market rewards competence

2019 Board of Governors Presser Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

In praising the Nets and throwing just a little shade at their crosstown rivals, Adam Silver on Tuesday said he’s not concerned about the rise of superteams in big markets. Competence, he says, ruled the day.

It’s not about super teams, the commissioner said after the NBA Board of Governors meeting. It’s about knowing how to run a sports franchise in the modern era.

“I think you have unique circumstances with those players and those teams,” Silver noted. “But I think it speaks to the fact that the significance of these brands, the fact that the Nets and Clippers have put themselves in position over the last few years to be attractive to top free agents. So I think at the end of the day, it’s positive for the league.”

The Nets, of course, signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as well as DeAndre Jordan, while the Clippers came up with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

“To [the] point that you have players going to non-traditional big-market teams … at the end of the day, we want to be a league where strong management is rewarded and that every team has the opportunity to compete,”

Indeed, free agency proved that the Nets capologists have the same level of competence their medical/performance team, development staff and scouts have shown.

Without mentioning the Knicks, Silver seemed to be suggesting that New York’s “legacy” team hasn’t done the job needed. Of course, of the four big city teams, only the Knicks came away empty-handed. They couldn’t even get a meeting with a top free agent like the ones signed by the Nets and Clippers. Instead, it was Randle and the Rentals: Julius Randle and a series of players on two-year deals with a team option.

Can the Nets on-court success help them off-court? Does it matter if the Knicks outdraw the Nets but still lose 50 games? As Mike Vaccaro in the Post suggests, the gap in competence may widen.

The Nets are in capable, proven hands: Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson; the Knicks are in still-unproven (at best) hands, Scott Perry and David Fizdale. And whatever disparity there is between them now, that is only certain to grow wider across the next few years, especially if Durant can approximate anywhere close to the player he used to be.

And certainly, the first numbers —dramatic increases in ticket sales and exposure— warrant optimism that Silver isn’t the only one impressed.