With Wilson Chandler being suspended for a third of the season (25 games) and, worse, Rodions Kurucs being arrested, handcuffed and arraigned on domestic assault charges, this has not been a good week for your Brooklyn Nets. The off-season, which been, in Frank Isola’s words, “once-in-a-lifetime” was tarnished ... at least.
A lot of questions remain unresolved about the arrest and at this point, as we’ve tweeted, we hope that Rodi and his girl friend get all the help they need. The court case in the People vs. Kurucs is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. There are issues upon issues to be dealt with as sports lawyer Michael McCann wrote. So we’ll just have to wait and see.
As for Chandler, you have to wonder if the Nets have made a decision yet on whether to keep him. While he has apologized to the team and his teammates, the Nets have made no comment on the suspension ... and according to reports are thinking about adding Carmelo Anthony or Joe Johnson. That combination can’t be a good sign for Chandler, who is coming off an injury and is 32 years old.
Decisions, decisions, decisions
The announcement that Matt Riccardi will replace Trajan Langdon as GM of the Long Island Nets and Shaun Fein will replace Will Weaver as head coach had been expected. Riccardi also has been named the Nets director of scouting. That takes care of the G League but there are still a number of jobs left to fill.
The Nets need to sign a second two-way player. Henry Ellenson, the 22-year-old ex-Piston and ex-Knick big, got one of the two slots. No idea who will get the other. As we’ve noted, the Nets waited until September 17 of last year to sign Alan WIlliams to the second two-way. Besides, there are still a number of teams who, like the Nets, have yet to sign both of their two-ways.
Brooklyn also has two training camp invites open. Deng Adel, the 6’7” South Sudanese forward by way of Australia, has been signed to an Exhibit 10 deal which will permit the Nets to hold on to his G League rights if and when he’s cut from training camp. Again, no idea who gets the remaining jobs.
There’s also the future of Jaylen Hands, the UCLA point guard who the Nets drafted at No. 56 but has not signed yet. Not signing Hands at this point suggests that Hands, who’s all of 20 years old, may spend this year overseas, becoming the Nets sixth stash. Hands going overseas would not be without precedent. Nigel Williams-Goss of the Jazz was drafted by Utah at No. 55 in the 2017 NBA Draft, then spent two years playing in Europe before signing a contract with the Jazz in July. (The Nets, if they choose the overseas path for Hands, might not have him play in Europe. With all their connections to the Australian NBL. that might be a better option.)
We anticipate one of the Nets next announcements will feature the names of their two new assistant coaches, replacements for Chris Fleming and Pablo Prigioni. They were hired away by the Bulls and Timberwolves respectively. Again, no word of who’ll be hired for those jobs. It’s been reported that Ryan Forehan-Kelly has been promoted from assistant coach in Long Island to player development coordinator with Brooklyn. That hasn’t officially been announced yet either.
No word, at least officially, on two other reported additions to the basketball operations staff. J.R. Holden is the Nets new director of player personnel, Sportando reported a month ago. Holden, who had a long career in Europe, including nine with Mikhail Prokhorov’s CSKA Moscow, has been an overseas scout for the Pistons and 76ers. Also, according to his LinkedIn profiles, Daniel Jones, another Aussie, is the Nets Physical Performance Coach, a new position, and Rohan Jaitley has been added to the analytics team. Jaitley had been an analytics intern with the Suns.
We expect there will be other additions, promotions etc. revealed in the next few weeks.
Another date to keep in mind: September 19. That’s the opening day of the two-day NBA Board of Governors meeting at which the sale of the Nets to Joe Tsai will be approved. The sale of Barclays Center should close around then as well.
Tsai has been very respectful of Mikhail Prokhorov during this Long interim between when he bought 49 percent of the team from the Russian oligarch a little more than a year ago. It’s always been Prokhorov’s team for him and his associates.
Now, with the deal finalized, expect Tsai to move quickly on putting his stamp on the organization. And no, we don’t expect any changes on the basketball side. Tsai knows to leave a good thing alone.
The Nets Media Day is set for September 27, we are told. That’s also the first official day of practice. The Nets and other teams headed overseas in preseason get an early start. Greg Logan of Newsday tweeted Saturday the Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson will hold their pre-season press conference on September 24. They last spoke to the press in April, although Sean Marks introduced Nicolas Claxton and Jaylen Hands to the media in late June just after the Draft and just before free agency. A lot has happened since.
So, although the Nets didn’t hold a press conference after signing Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan back in July, we assume all three will be available on Media Day. Why didn’t the Nets introduce their big free agent class back in July? It’s certainly possible that they didn’t want to interrupt KD’s recovery from Achilles surgery, which took place June 12. Now, with him providing regular updates on his condition via Instagram, that’s got to be less of a concern. Also, Durant has said he’ll be headed back to New York sometime this month to continue his rehab, both at the Hospital for Special Surgery where he underwent the knife and at the HSS Training Center.
We have to think the Nets will stream the Marks-Atkinson press conference and YES Network will do something on Media Day ... if not before ... with the big free agents.
First question gotta be about the Nets chances for a championship... THIS season.
Spencer Dinwiddie, from what we can tell, hasn’t yet confirmed that he has contracted to buy a penthouse In the still unfinished Brooklyn Point, just up Flatbush Avenue from Barclays Center. It will be Brooklyn’s tallest building at 720 feet when complete. We expressed some skepticism about the report in the Post, noting that other real estate developments have tried to create buzz by claiming anonymously that celebrities are moving in.
But we have heard that Kyrie Irving will have a pied-a-terre in Brooklyn. He famously bought a house in South Orange, N.J. just before free agency and there was some suggestion that commuting from there to the HSS Training Center would be a grind ... the kind of grind the Nets would like their players to avoid. So it should come as no surprise that he’s looking for something closer in Brooklyn. Pied-a-terre sounds so much better than crash pad. Again, we have no confirmation (but that this time of year, we are desperate for news, particularly good news.)
Is there anything better than a wall banner featuring the WojBomb that announced the Nets “Clean Sweep” back on June 30? We think not.
Congrats to Justin Gakobe!