Getting from 99 percent to 100 sure has been interesting.
Don’t think anyone had Devontae Cacok on their Nets training camp bingo card but the Nets seem to believe that the Lakers castoff can play a role either as a two-way with Brooklyn or as a star on Long Island. And why not? He was first team All-G League two seasons ago, averaging nearly 20 and 10. He also has a championship ring. As an Exhibit 10, he’ll get a bonus but unless he makes the 15-man roster, he won’t cost the Nets anything.
Cacok’s signing gives the Nets 19 players for training camp, one short of the maximum. Will the Nets add a 20th? They don’t have to. As we noted, it appears the Nets will hold the second two-way open through at least part of training camp, making it competitive among Cacok, David Duke Jr. and whoever else they sign. Kessler Edwards is already signed to the first two-way.
Who’s likely to be the 20th invite, assuming it’s not a surprise like Cacok? At this point, it seems difficult to believe that Isaia Cordinier would settle for a training camp contract considering that several Euroleague teams have been pursuing him. But then again, he still hasn’t signed overseas yet.
More importantly there’s this interesting tidbit. After working out with Nets, Cordinier is still in New York!
The image of him getting his hair done by Willis the Barber, a Nets favorite, is from Saturday.
Gotta look good for Media Day! This of course follows some previous Internet sleuthing from early in the month showing what appears to be the 6’5” wing working out at HSS Training Center. In case you forgot, the 24-year-old Cordinier was acquired in the Jeremy Lin trade back in 2018 and has been stashed since. He made First Team All-Eurocup this season with Nanterre.
There’s also a couple of Summer Leaguers who might get the call: Quinndary Weatherspoon, the 6’3” guard who like Cacok has been a two-way the last two years (with San Antonio), and Jordan Bowden, the 6’5” defensive oriented guard who was in Nets training camp last year and then played for Long Island.
There’s also Bryce Brown whose G League rights Long Island acquired last week. He’s a 6’3” 3-point specialist who once hit 11-of-11 from deep while playing for the Celtics’ G League affiliate in Maine.
One thing seems likely: If there is a 20th camp invite, it will be a wing. The end of the Nets bench and its camp invites tilt heavily toward big men. The last two adds to the roster have been athletic 6’8” players in Cacok and Sekou Doumbouya. The Nets, in fact, loaded up on bigs in the off-season, starting with Day’Ron Sharpe in the Draft, then re-signing Blake Griffin, signing James Johnson, LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap before trading for Doumbouya and bringing Cacok to camp.
It’s hard to underestimate the Nets focus on defense and rebounding. Not only have they brought in all those big men several of whom are defenders first, but the additions to their coaching staff have defense in their resume’s as well. David Vanterpool, Brian Keefe and consultant Steve Clifford all made their coaching bones pushing D.
What’s with the extensions?
Back on August 7, Sean Marks said he expected Kyrie Irving and James Harden to be “signed, sealed and delivered” by training camp, now nine days away. Marks along with Steve Nash face the media in their annual preseason press conference Tuesday. Doubt he wants the first question to be, “hey, what’s with the extensions?”
(The alternative is, “What’s the vaccination status of your team? Ugh.)
‘Nuff said about Kyrie, but...
We weren’t planning on writing up Nick Wright’s comments on Kyrie Irving this week but once Kai decided to respond, it was too much fun not to post something. All that said, there’s one thing that few pundits talk about which is what a solid teammate Irving has been in his career. Whether it’s been Caris LeVert calling Irving his best teammate or Jayson Tatum saying he calls on Irving for leadership advice, guys he’s played with, particularly the younger ones have said all the right things.
A couple of days after Wright’s comment (not even comments), Bruce Brown and Tyler Johnson were overheard talking about Irving in an Instagram chat.
Bruce and Tyler with praise for Kyrie, along with a message for his haters @PlayboiClaxton @BrooklynNetcast @NetsKingdomAJ @RenCruzi pic.twitter.com/F4yxECmsbd— nets arent a superteam (@CAPTHABASEDGOD) September 17, 2021
As TJ said, “if they only knew that man...”
The Nets jersey numbers won’t be final until Media Day on September 27 when the team will post its official training camp roster. We don’t yet know what number Devontae Cacok will wear (he wore 12 in L.A. but that’s taken and 15 in college) but the rest of the roster seems pretty much settled. So, feel comfortable placing your orders...
0 - Jevon Carter
1 - Bruce Brown
2 - Blake Griffin
7 - Kevin Durant
8 - Patty Mills
11 - Kyrie Irving
12 - Joe Harris
13 - James Harden
14 - Kessler Edwards
16 - James Johnson
20 - Day’Ron Sharpe
21 - LaMarcus Aldridge
24 - Cam Thomas
30 - David Duke Jr.
31 - Paul Millsap
33 - Nic Claxton
45 - Sekou Doumbouya
95 - DeAndre’ Bembry
Some good numbers still available including some classics like Nos. 6, 10, 15, 22 and of course 19, once and only once worn by Scott McKnight, the New Jersey Nets point guard who was “common” in his greatness ... “Just Wright,” you might say. We’ve always believed that whoever next wears that number will be granted special powers by the basketball gods (to make up for the movie!) In case you’ve forgotten Wright, here he is...
As a side note: We’ve seen some building fan sentiment to honor Vince Carter now that he’s retired by hoisting No. 15 into the rafters. We heartily endorse this.
Adam Harrington to honor his late sister
This Wednesday, The Jill E. Harrington Hanzalik Memorial Fund will host its Sneaker Soiree at Glen Ridge Country Club in New Jersey. It will be a star-studded event featuring tennis and golf outings with professional athletes including Steve Nash, Bruce Brown, Blake Griffin, Spencer Dinwiddie, Sabrina Ionescu, Joe Harris and Tiago Splitter, plus a cocktail hour and dinner with a panel discussion featuring the pro stars.
It’s Nets assistant coach and player development director Adam Harrington’s way of honoring his late sister who he calls his “best friend.”
“She was just an amazing person,” Harrington told the Nets in-house beat writer Tom Dowd. “I just remembered as I chased my dreams of trying to make it to the NBA what she meant to me along the way. Sometimes that was mentoring, sometimes that was being a big sister. Sometimes that was financial stuff. How can we create a foundation that will help people chase their dreams, and there’s a lot of different ways you can do that.”
As Dowd wrote this week...
Jill Harrington Hanzalik was 33 years old and eight-and-a-half months pregnant when she died in 2010. The stage 4 colon cancer had gone undiagnosed and her infant son, Chase, could not be saved either. Adam, four years younger, lost his best friend...
He was playing in Europe at the time and returned home, eventually taking a year away from the game entirely.
“I just wanted to be there for my family,” said Harrington. “I wanted to start a foundation and I wanted it to be something that lasted a long time. A lot of times tragedy hits and everybody will give initially and before you know it, it’s over. What can we do to continually give back?”
The foundation — with a unique mission — was his answer. Specifically, Harrington described that mission as providing “goose bump moments.” It’s facilitated travel for a state championship cheerleading squad from Alaska to perform at a college football bowl game in Florida, for a performing arts group to see Broadway for the first time, for a youth mock Congress to visit Washington, D.C.
“I imagine this cheerleading group flying across the country, walking out to 60,000 people at the Capital One Bowl and that feeling they would get. We wanted to help create those,” said Harrington.
Lately, they’ve also begun to turn the foundation’s focus towards sustainable projects, like building basketball courts in underserved areas. The proceeds from this year’s event will go towards rebuilding basketball courts in East Orange, N.J. and Brooklyn this Fall.
Harrington has done a lot in his basketball life, like playing in the NBA and overseas, teaching Kevin Durant how to mimic Dirk Nowitzki’s one-legged fadeaway to helping players like Harris and Dinwiddie succeed at the NBA level, but the foundation is something else again.
“A lot of the Brooklyn family will be showing up and supporting,” said Harrington. “It’s going to be a fun night to give back but also, I think everybody in the room is going to get better from it and have a feeling that we’ve made a difference.”
Tickets can be purchased online starting at $300. And if you can’t attend but still want to contribute, that too is appreciated by Harrington and his foundation.
Barclays Center to make Basquiat student art permanent
As we wrote back in July, the Joe and Clara Wu Tsai Foundation funded the inclusion of a Jean-Michel Basquiat curriculum in New York’s public schools. The program, underway in Brooklyn since April will now expand throughout the five boroughs. In addition, the Nets and Barclays Center hosted an art show in August featuring 150 Basquiat-inspired pieces already created by middle and high school students in Brooklyn, the late artist’s hometown.
The exhibit, hosted by the Tsais’ foundation, drew art lovers to the arena. The exhibit included works like this, “Bowl of Lies” by Morgan Pettiford...
Now comes word, via Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report, that the student art will become a permanent part of the arena. Quoting Mandy Gutmann, the Nets Executive Vice President for Communications and Community Relations. Oder reported that some student work will remain on display at Barclays in a more permanent exhibition on the concourse.
Now that leaves the question will the Nets also unveil a white Basquiat-inspired jersey in this coming season? As put together by @Netszn, a white City edition Basquiat-inspired jersey could be a really nice number...
Back in April, Kevin Durant hinted he and other Nets players would like to rep the Nets in Basquiat whites. Seems like a good idea.
All-Star Game in Brooklyn?!?
But it’s not at Barclays Center! The NBA’s 2K league announced Friday that their first All-Star Game will be held at Brooklyn Steel, an 1,800-capacity live music venue close to the BQE in East Williamsburg, next Saturday at 7 p.m.. Fans can register to attend but it will be broadcast on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.
Also Saturday, the league will announce its MVP. Josh “Choc” Humphries of Nets Gaming Crew is one of the five finalists for the Award. Choc and Connor “Shotz” Rodrigues were both named All-Stars.
Mike James officially signed with A.S. Monaco of the French Serie A league this week. That leaves only Tyler Johnson and Reggie Perry from last year’s squad unsigned. No word on either’s future. James filled in nicely when the Nets roster was bereft of guards and we will always remember his creativity in this special moment from the last regular season game...
Miss it, don’t you? Well, just three weeks from Sunday, it begins all over again, with the Nets-Lakers preseason game at Staples Center. Hold tight.