Bob Raissman is the Daily News sports media critic, and as such he thinks the Nets are doomed to become a reality show, which he calls “The Real Nets of Brooklyn.”
While conceding that the Nets summer saga attracted a lot of eyeballs, even taking some away from a pretty good baseball season in New York, the serialization of the saga come fall is likely to be, in his words, “compelling” television if for the wrong reasons.
Does anyone really think either Durant or Irving is likely to throw in the towel after not getting their way? After all, they are The Real Nets of Brooklyn. One meeting, and one statement is not going to stop this compelling reality show. The Nets are the NBA’s No. 1 story. The L.A. meeting, and the “partnership” declaration, just keeps folks talking basketball in the dog days of August.
No surprise, Raissman thinks the Nets duo’s relationship with Steve Nash is going to be the running theme in a primetime soap opera, laying out scenarios that will attract media attention.
There are a few upcoming RNOB episodes to look forward too. Like when training camp opens and the media tweets out videos of Durant, Marks and Steve Nash’s (Durant wanted him fired too) body language. How high will the discomfort level be? Then, there will be questions to Durant about the performances of Nash and Marks. What will Durant’s spin be?
Will he say this was all just about business, trade negotiations? Or will Durant fire a preemptive strike on Twitter before camp opens?
In the season’s early days, when the Nets play only eight of their first 20 games at home, could tell the tale ... and suggests things could be interesting for the YES Network’s play-by-play and game analysts.
Then, what happens if the Nets get off slowly in the regular season? On YES, the TV home of the Nets, will Sarah Kustok and Ian (The Bird) Eagle analyze how the offseason static may have affected what’s happening on the court? Will they analyze Nash’s coaching (they didn’t get into it much last season) and remind fixated eyeballs how Durant wanted him fired?
Uncertainty, he thinks, will be the team’s watchword. Moreover, Raissman thinks the Nets have already suffered losses, which he ascribed to the seven-week drama that dominated the summer and hurt the Nets when it comes to their national TV schedule. (Winning only 44 games and getting swept in the first round of the playoffs also didn’t help.)
That’s why Brooklyn’s national TV appearances have gone from 26 last season to 13 for 2022-23. That’s why matchups with the Lakers and Warriors have currently been relegated to NBA TV rather than TNT, ESPN or ABC. That’s why the Nets are not playing on the NBA’s Christmas TV spectacular. Later in the season, the NBA’s TV partners could have some flexibility to make changes.
He even wonders “can anyone guarantee Durant or Irving will still be with the Nets?” by the trade deadline.
All that said, the Nets will be the NBA’s biggest story going into the season. The ratings of ESPN’s NBA Today were the best ever in July, weeks after the NBA Finals had ended. There was no mystery why. fans of the Nets — and all the teams rumored to be interested in Durant — watched daily to see what the network’s talking heads had learned.
Now, of course, things have calmed down. There hasn’t been much to say after the Nets announcement of their truce on Tuesday. Will that change? No doubt and it starts four weeks from Monday with Media Day. As they say, stay tuned.
- Even with latest truce, Kevin Durant and the Nets remain NBA’s No. 1 reality show - Bob Raissman - New York Daily News