The news slows down this time of year, with everyone, including us, going on family vacations, renewing our interests in the very hot Yankees and Mets (!) and in general just taking it easy under the summer sun. But there’s always something.
Where we stand... Updated
The Nets currently have three positions left unfilled: the second two-way and two training camp invites, likely to be Exhibit 10’s —deals that will permit the Nets to send young players cut in camp to Long Island. Remember, players sent down to the G League can’t have more than four years of NBA experience.
Here’s the updated list of who’s arrived and departed...
—Kevin Durant, 6’11” PF (Golden State)
—Kyrie Irving, 6’3” PG (Boston)
—DeAndre Jordan, 6’11” C (New York)
—Garrett Temple, 6’6” SG (Clippers)
—Taurean Prince, 6’8” SF (Atlanta)
—Nicolas Claxton, 7’0” PF (NBA Draft with New York pick at 31)
—Jaylen Hands, 6’3” PG (NBA Draft with Clippers pick at 56)
—Wilson Chandler, 6’7” SF (Clippers)
—David Nwaba, 6’4” SG (Cleveland)
—Henry Ellenson, 6’11” PF (New York)*
—Deng Adel, 6’7” SF (Cleveland)**
—Protected 1-20 first round pick in 2020 (Golden State)
—Lottery-protected first round pick in 2020 (Philadelphia)
—Unprotected second round pick in 2021 (Atlanta)
—Draft rights to Aaron White, 6’9” PF (A.C. Milano)
—Draft rights to Nemanja Dangubic, 6’8” SG (Estudiantes Madrid)
The Nets also re-signed free agent Theo Pinson, 6’7” combo guard.
—D’Angelo Russell, 6’5” PG (Golden State)
—Shabazz Napier, 6’1” PG (Golden State > Minnesota)
—Treveon Graham, 6’5” SF (Golden State > Minnesota)
—Allen Crabbe, 6’6” SG (Atlanta)
—Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, 6’7” PF (Toronto)
—DeMarre Carroll, 6’8” SF (San Antonio)
—Ed Davis, 6’10” C (Utah)
—Jared Dudley, 6’9” SF (Lakers)
—Alan Williams, 6’9” PF (Lokomotiv Krasnodar)*
—First round pick in 2019 - Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Atlanta)
—First round pick in 2019 - Mfiondu Kabengele (Clippers)
—Lottery-protected First round pick in 2020 (Atlanta)
* two-way deal
** Exhibit 10
One other point on the roster: stash Isaia Cordinier will not be joining the Nets on a two-way. He’s back in France training with his new club, Nanterre, in the French League. If the Nets had wanted to sign him to that remaining two-way, a deal would have had to be struck before July 31. That was the last day Cordinier could opt out of his French league contract. The deadline passed.
What’s Next for Jaylen Hands?
Jaylen Hands fate is still to be determined. The UCLA guard, taken at No. 56 in the Draft, didn’t make the 15-man roster, unlike Nic Claxton, his fellow second round pick. In fact, he is one of only seven players taken in the 2019 Draft who doesn’t yet have an NBA contract ... and three of those are players committed to playing overseas.
Hands, of course, was a late second round pick and won’t turn 21 till February. He has plenty of time to develop into what his high school fans —including Joe Tsai— expected two years ago. The Nets can go in a variety of directions with Hands. They can sign him to a two-way deal. They can sign him directly to a G League deal as a second round pick or they can stash him overseas. With roster spots dwindling overseas, it would seem that the third option diminishes daily but it would be the most financially lucrative for the kid. (The Nets last used the stash option on Xavier Thames, the 59th pick in the 2014 Draft.)
In each case, the Nets would retain Hands’ draft rights.
Hands had hoped to be a one-and-done player at UCLA, following in Lonzo Ball’s footsteps, but his freshman season was a disappointment and while he improved a bit in his sophomore year, leading the PAC-12 in assists, there are pundits who think another year in Westwood would have helped. If the Nets hadn’t taken him at No. 56, he might not have been drafted at all.
Still, the 6’3” point guard came out Foothills Christian High School in 2017 as a top 20 prospect — ahead of both Trae Young and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in point guard rankings. His high school mixtape has almost a million page views.
Like we said, Nets and he have plenty of time ... and opportunities to develop him. Not to mention, Brooklyn has a long record of finding castoffs and making them into NBA players.
Recent reports have the Nets elevating Shaun Fein to the Long Island Nets head coaching position and Ryan Forehan-Kelly to basketball development coordinator in Brooklyn. Both played key roles last year in the development of the Long Island players like Theo Pinson and Dzanan Musa.
But there’s something else. Call it the French Connection.
Alexandre Sanson, a French sports writer, found this team photo from Evreux in the French B League back in 2002-03. It turns out that the head coaches of the Brooklyn and Long Island Nets were teammates in northern France 17 years ago!
The team photo shows Atkinson and Fein kneeling in the front row, Atkinson far left wearing No. 10 and Fein two places to the right wearing No. 11. Two point guards. Atkinson, then 35, played five games for Evreux before getting hurt, averaging 6.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists. It was his next-to-last season playing overseas. Fein, then 24, played 16 games and averaged 16.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He moved on as well, but continued to play in France through 2014. His last year, he played for Antibes. So did Isaia Cordinier, according to European records.
Forehan-Kelly also had a couple of years in France (along with time in Japan, Mexico, China, Italy, Croatia, Venezuela, and Jordan as well as both the CBA and D League).
It all encouraged some nostalgia among French basketball fans and a discussion of the Nets “French accent.”
All we can say is, bonne chance.
Former Rookie of the Year Mike Miller is good friends with Kyrie Irving. The two played together in Cleveland in 2014-15 as Miller’s career was ending and Irving’s just starting. Miller last week posted a life lesson learned by one of his two sons...
It would seem that the two were playing for one of Kyrie’s latest sneaker collection ... honoring Sponge Bob. The collection dropped this week.
Meanwhile, Spencer Dinwiddie is in China, perhaps for a shoe promotion of his own? His K8IROS brand is manufactured in China.
Nope, but from what we can tell from the Chinese media, he’s promoting his new SOCKS from Stance.
The design has a stylized combination of the Shanghai and L.A. skylines (Dinwiddie is an Angeleno) and includes the slogan, “Audience of One.” Dinwiddie described the slogan as motivational, a way of expressing his personal desire to continually improve his game. He’s the audience he wants to please. No word if he’s participating in Jeremy Lin’s annual charity game this week. He did last year.
The Nets of course will be back in China in early October for the NBA China Games vs. the Lakers.
Vezenkov undergoes surgery
If you wondering why Nets stash Aleksandar Vezenkov didn’t come to the U.S. for Summer league —after working out with Isaia Cordinier and Rodions Kurucs in May, here’s your answer: he underwent shoulder surgery.
The star of the Bulgarian national basketball team and Olympiakos player underwent surgery on his left shoulder, Fosonline.gr reported.
The injury had plagued the 24-year-old basketball player all past season. It’s still unclear when the 6’9” stretch-4 will start training for Olympiakos. He had been expected to play a bigger role for the David Blatt-coached team. He was taken in the 2017 Draft at No. 57, part of the 2013 Boston trade.
Of the Nets stashes, it looks like only one will be playing in the FIBA World Cup, 6’8” Serbian shooting guard Nemanja Dangubic.
And the winner is ... J.R. Holden
The Nets this week added J.R. (or J. Robert) Holden as director of player personnel, according to several reports overseas. He has spent the last five years doing international scouting —four with Detroit, last season with Philly. Scouting the international set (no longer just Europe) will be particularly important this season. It looks like a banner year for international players in the Draft and the Nets could have as many as five picks in the 2020 Draft, two firsts and three seconds, depending on how protections break.
So who is Holden? Think the European Robert Horry. Although Horry is primarily known for his “Big Shot Bob” heroics, he also won more rings (seven) with more teams (three) since the close of the Celtic era 50 years ago. Holden can top that. He won 11 championships in four countries plus two EuroLeague championships as well as the FIBA Eurobasket. And he could also hit the “big shot”as he did in 2011, drilling the buzzer beater to upset Spain.
JR Holden new Director of Player Personnel of Brooklyn Nets?— Marco A. Munno (@MarcoAMunno) August 6, 2019
His best shot was the one with... Russian National Team , the winning one for the gold in @EuroBasket 2007.#WeGoHard#NbaTipo pic.twitter.com/Ty7KbpdMQ7
Mikhail Prokhorov was at that game, being Holden’s employer as owner of CSKA Moscow, Holden won 10 of those championships with Prokhorov as his boss. He’ll get another chance at a ring this season. Holden holds dual U.S. and Russian passports.
After Jay-Z moved to Los Angeles a few years back, he and Beyonce’ stopped showing up at Nets games. Now, however, one has to wonder if the Brooklyn born-and-bred business man will return to his courtside seats.
His Roc Nation Sports now represents four Nets: Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert, Wilson Chandler and Henry Ellenson. When the Nets signed Kyrie at the Roosevelt Middle School in West Orange, NJ, Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) was right there with Sean Marks.
Jay-Z no longer owns part of the Nets —and in the end he owned only one-sixth of one percent. He had to sell to represent pro athletes, avoid a perceived conflict-of-interest. But with his agency’s biggest talent playing for his hometown team, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll stay away this year. He should definitely bring Bey as well.
Schedule out Monday
The Nets know they will NOT be playing on Christmas and Kyrie Irving’s return to Boston will be the night before Thanksgiving, November 27. Other than that, the schedule remains a mystery, including who they open against; whether Opening Night will be at Barclays Center or on the road; how many national TV games; plus the dates of other “revenge” games like when D’Angelo Russell returns to Brooklyn ... and the four Knicks dates.
Also, if we see the Nets road game vs. Golden State is scheduled for March or April, we will consider that evidence Kevin Durant will return before the season ends!
We’re keeping track of Nets mentions among presidential candidates ... and we’re up to three now by three candidates, all Democrats. Just after the Draft, Andrew Yang noted the differences in management between his Knicks and the Nets.
The Nets have leadership, culture, personnel and a plan. The Knicks have hopes.— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) June 23, 2019
Then last week, New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who is a Brooklynite, noted a video of Senator Bernie Sanders (the junior senator from Vermont, but Brooklyn born) hitting shot after shot at an arcade game at the Iowa State Fair.
First, the Nets picked up on the tweet, noting Senator Sanders, a graduate of James Madison High School in Midwood, had played ball as a youth...
Then, Bernie himself commented...
A real yuck factory.
Wait till someone tells Bernie that the Nets are owned by a Russian oligarch and the co-founder of China’s biggest e-commerce company. Scandal.