The New Jersey Nets long wait for free agency

manu-ginobili-devin-harris-netsLots of things in life suck. Crime, disease, poverty and yes… the New Jersey Nets. Not necessarily in that order.

Twenty-one games into this NBA season, the Nets are a lowly 2-19. That is not a misprint. The basketball season started six weeks ago and the Nets have recorded only two wins to go with their nineteen losses. Their two wins came against the Charlotte Hornets last week and the Chicago Bulls last night.

The Nets are losing games by an average of 10 points, second worst in the league. They’re scoring a league low 88 points per game. They are shooting 41% from the floor, two whole percentage points lower than any other team. The other night, they allowed Dallas to score 49 points against them…. in the fourth quarter. They’re already 15 games out of first place. At this pace, the Nets could be eliminated from post-season contention by New Years.

semmi-coming-to-america-arsenio-hallThe Nets recently fired their coach Lawrence Frank, who secretly has to be thanking them for their charity like Semmi when he was ordered back to the Waldorf Astoria at the end of “Coming to America.” Oh, thank you, your highness. Frank has since been replaced with Kiki Vandeweghe and Del Harris, two experienced basketball minds. The two wins have come under the new regime so at least they’re moving in the right direction. They had nowhere else to go but up.

The previous record for NBA ineptitude to start a season was seventeen straight losses, shared by two teams, the 1988 Heat and the 1999 Clippers. The Heat were an expansion team and the Clippers were well… the Clippers. These New Jersey Nets recently eclipsed that woefulness with their eighteenth consecutive loss. Even after their team’s first win, Nets fans must be timidly awaiting the next lengthy batch of losses.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched a Nets game this season. Why would I? I’m a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan. I can only take so much losing. Before writing this, I actually had to look up who was on the Nets roster. I know they have Courtney Lee who is averaging 10 points a game and shooting under 40% from the floor. So much for Magic fans who felt they shouldn’t have included him in Vince Carter trade.

I also knew the Nets had one of the Stanford Lopez twins. He’s the only one showed in any of their highlights, assuming their highlights actually make the air.

The rest of New Jersey’s roster is comprised of NBA has-beens and potential future second stringers. Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, Keyon Dooling, Devin Harris, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Terrence Williams and Trent Hassell. These Nets might not be able to beat the best NBDL team? Now that’s something I’d pay to watch. But that’s as likely as Tim Donaghy having Christmas dinner with David Stern.

lebron_james_faceThis coming off-season will be the most anticipated in NBA history. The list of free agents sounds like an all-star game: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudamire to name only a few. The Nets are under new ownership, will have a brand new arena in Brooklyn and are well under the salary cap to attract some of those superstars.

Rapper Jay-Z, a close friend of LeBron, is one of the Nets’ co-owners. Their relationship is rumored to be a potential factor in bringing Bron Bron to Brooklyn. Let the NBA tug-of-war begin.

jay-z-nets-brooklynHave you ever had a friend ask you a really big favor and that you knew would jeopardize your own well-being? Well, that’s Jay-Z and LeBron right now. At 2-19, why would anyone in their right mind, particularly an established super star such as James, Wade or Nowitzki, leave their teams to start from scratch? And the Nets are definitely scratch. They’ll have the cap room. They’ll have the venue. But they lack foundation.

Fortunately Jay-Z’s, “Empire State of Mind” is number one on the Billboard charts. That should make up for what he’s losing in ticket sales. When he sings ‘the sidelines is blind with casualties,’ he must be talking about the poor fans sitting courtside, forced to watch Nets games. According to ESPN.com, New Jersey is averaging just under 14,000 fans a game. Anyone care to take the under? I can hear the sneakers squeaking from here.

In 1972-73, the Philadelphia 76ers went 9-73. To this day that remains the NBA’s worst regular season record. A few years later they landed Julius Erving. A few years after that, they won an NBA title. Nets fans are hoping this team can follow the same path to glory. They just hope they don’t have to deal with too many nine-win seasons before doing so.

40 thoughts on “The New Jersey Nets long wait for free agency

  1. I think the Nets situation is even more dire than you discuss Chris. They are stuck in the worst arena in the NBA for the rest of this season and possibly next season. The only other option right now is to Newark for a few years but moving to Newark is only slightly worse than moving to Kabul, Darfur or Detroit. Jay-Z is a minority owner (sort of like J-Lo, Marc Anthony and Gloria Estefan with the Dolphins) so he has little say in the operation. The new owner is an eccentric Russian dude that is a complete wildcard and there is no telling if the arena ever gets built in Brooklyn with such strong community opposition. Remember, this is the same Metropolitan area that took years to upgrade Shea Stadium, refused to build a football stadium for either the Giants or Jets and continue to let the Islanders languish in the Nassau Coliseum, the worst NHL arena. The nets are pinning their hopes on free agency and the new arena, neither of which are sure things.

    The Nets have NO SHOT at King James, Wade or Dirk. They have at best a remote shot at Dirk. The only real option I see is Bosh and even that is an outside shot because I think he’ll go the Cleveland and play with LeBron if Lebron stays or he goes to the Knicks if LeBron goes to NYC. They have the same agent and have been reported to want to play with each other.

    Ultimately, the Nets are doomed to a long life of putrid and grotesque basketball.

  2. Frank… I thought moving to Brooklyn was a done deal? Do they not want any more litter in their neighborhood?

    If the Nets swing and miss this free agency period, you’re right. They could be in a world of hurt for a long time to come.

    Is this new owner showing his face around the league? Is he active? Is he willing to pay a luxury tax a la Mark Cuban to overpay players.

    I watched Memphis last night. They beat Cleveland. On their team, they have Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. At least that’s a foundation they can build around.

    The Nets have none of that.

  3. Snake… I couldn’t agree more.

    By the way, Paul Pierce is on that free agent list but I fully expect for him to re-sign and retire a Celtic.

    Although I should say differently just to raise your blood pressure.

  4. Chris

    There’s nothing free ahead for the Nets ,as Bruce Ratner how sold a majority stake in the Nets to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Can we say ‘Russian Mob’ moves into the Garden State? LOL,LOL,LOL !!! Dosvidanya !

    Not only that but their development of the site where they’re set to play (in the future) is way behind schedule. Union troubles ya’ think ? I’m sure someone’s body is now holding up a concrete block or foundation, therein.

    But let’s hold out hope that LeBron’ll bring his A-game to Brooklyn along with his global icon wannabe status. God knows if he should fall from grace now. The whole world would be in a tailspin. But you gotta admire Jeter though. He’s still gettin’ tail and not one , not one chick has had anything bad at all to say about him. And he’s been tappin’ more beaver than Oprah has been having a nutritional and sugar free diet.

    Here’s something that might warm your heart, as dear ol’ Charlie Crist wants Tebow to remain instate and sign with the Jaguars should he be picked by them. Ah dear ol’ Charlie as dumb as ever ! And in no way is he smarter than your average 5th grader. In fact any fifth grader in the state of Florida is way smarter than Crist. MENSA’s got the proof if you need it ?

    Courtesy of Charles Robinson Yahoo Sports

    Tebow to the Jags would be disastrous …

    Someone get Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell on the phone. Patch him through to Florida governor Charlie Crist. Then have Rendell give Crist a tutorial on why politicians should keep their yaps shut when it comes to formulating an NFL draft plan.

    I’d give anything for this to happen, especially after Crist came out Monday and said he had actually talked to Jacksonville Jaguars ownership about drafting Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. You’d think elected officials had something better to do. Or at the very least, that they would have learned their lesson from Rendell, who as then-mayor of Philadelphia famously incited a near insurrection while lobbying the Philadelphia Eagles to draft Ricky Williams in 1999. The team took Rendell’s sage advice into account and selected Donovan McNabb instead. Thanks anyway, Ed.

    Not surprisingly, Crist’s opinion on Tebow dovetails very nicely with that of his constituency. But why was anyone asking Crist’s opinion in the first place? Has he been breaking down film in the governor’s mansion with Jags coach Jack Del Rio? Are he and Tony Dungy exchanging draft strategies on MySpace? Or is Crist merely talking out of his rear end, hoping that one wildly popular player can save one of the NFL franchises that his state seems destined to lose? Whatever it is, Crist has definitely convinced me of one thing: Tim Tebow needs to get the hell out of the state of Florida.

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    Click the inset link to read further
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    Would it be wise to suggest that pi_sing contest is about to start between Rendell and Crist ? Being as the Eagles no doubt may well have their eyes on Tebow ?

    Alan Parkins

  5. Al… I’m thinking the Russian mafia has been in Jersey for years. They just weren’t basketball fans.

    As we’ve talked, Tebow to the Jags has been rumored for years. He’s a draw. It’s his home town. He might just save the franchise.

    Now whether he does that with his image or by completing passes remains to be seen.

    Crist sure is getting involved in football a lot these days, huh?

  6. Enjoyed the post a lot, Chris. However, Devin Harris isn’t a future 2nd stringer or has-been. DH is easily one of the top 10 point guards in the league when healthy.

    The Nets are terrible, but they aren’t even the worst team in the NBA. That honor goes to the Timberwolves. When it’s all said and done, the Nets will finish with more wins than the Wolves.

    Just one man’s opinion…

  7. Chris

    I know that the ‘Russian Mob’ has been in Jersey for years. But their primary thing was gambling ,racketeering , extortion ,prostitution and drugs. Now they want to enter into the NBA ? Does that mean that Jigga’s next CD’ll be in Russian ? But I guess there are already bootleg copies of ‘The Blueprint’ already out there courtesy of Vladimir and Nikolai. Wha’d ya think ?

    My two most recent pieces . I think you’ll love the pics of Stacey Dash !

    http://tophatal.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/pardon-me-for-saying-this-but-what-happened-and-who-the-hell-cares-i-might-but-then-again-i-might-not/

    http://tophatal.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/katies-gorgeous-lumps-bumps-and-one-or-two-of-her-friends/

    Here you’ll Dash in all of her wiles .

    Live long and prosper , as Spock says.

    Alan Parkins

  8. PJ… but at least the Wolves seem to building towards their future. Al Jefferson is far better than anyone the Nets have on their roster.

    And Harris a top ten point guard? I’ll have to crunch some numbers and get back with you on that.

    Just thinking out loud, there’s Chris Paul, Derron Williams, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose. How about Gilbert Arenas?

    Okay, maybe you’re right. I’ll give him bottom ten PG in the league. But do you really want to build a championship franchise around Devin Harris?

  9. Al… I’ve seen the movie “Running Scared.” I think the Jersey Russians were more into hockey than basketball.

    Are they going to hire Donaghy as team consultant?

    Be right over to check out your latest.

  10. Chris

    Trust me if there’s money to made off the NBA , then they’ll get involved , no matter what !

    I hear Magic Johnson is now offering advice to Tiger ? Isn’t that akin to asking David Duchovny to accompany you to brothel for a great night out ?

    Image Is Everything And Then It Can All Mean Nothing …….

    Rachel Uchitel the NY club hostess that Tiger was said to be giving lessons to, wink , wink. She’s hot man , damn fine and hot !

    Alan Parkins

  11. There is no way LeBron goes anywhere. He is re-signing with the Cavs…I just talked to him last night.

    Thanks!

    -Pete

  12. Hey, Pete.

    You’re like my college buddy, Klanmaster Sprague. Sprague lives up in Charlotte and swears he’s the one responsible for bringing Chris Leak to the University of Florida.

    But your Bron Bron sources are as good as any so I’ll believe ya’.

    Hey, did you hear Sportschump is getting some love on ESPN2’s SportsNation today.

    Nominated as site of the day.

    Can you dig it? I knew that ya’ could!

  13. Chris

    Pete N seems to be under the misconception that LeBron will ultimately re-sign with the Cavs ? If they should fail to win the NBA title this season. I think he’ll crying like the rest of the Cavs’ fans in Cleveland ! ’cause for sure he’ll (LeBron) probably contemplate seeking out greener pastures. And with D-Wade saying that he wouldn’t mind playing alongside Bron, Bron. Don’t think Riles won’t move heaven and earth to try and make it happen. I mean it’s South Beach, hot chicks , all the parties , high profile celebs and glamor to be had. Can Cleveland even match that ?

    Don’t you think that Tiger’s now fall from grace and that of Tyson’s own fall are somewhat eerily similar ? Tyson’s manager , trainer and guardian , Cus D’Amato dies and his(Tyson) world then spirals out of control. Tiger’s father , Earl , dies and within 18 months , we have a sex scandal and Tiger has essentially become a leper that no one now wants to touch. ‘nough said !

    Alan Parkins

  14. Chris

    So Cincy’s now former coach, Brian Kelly , has decided to take the Notre Dame job ? Now many of the Bearcats’ players have started to bad-mouth the guy ? And who can blame them . Apparently he’d recently told them that he had no interest in the job and he’d be coaching them in the Sugar Bowl against Florida. Apparently, not so , it’d appear.

    The kids are asked to remain loyal to a program , not to transgress or violate NCAA rules. But yet a coach can up and leave and seemingly opt of out of an oral or written contract. Sucks doesn’t it ?

    Alan Parkins

  15. Al… I’d compare Tiger’s fall from grace to only two other sports celebrities and that’s probably unfair considering the circumstances.

    Kobe was on top of the world before he made the mistake of wooing some desk clerk up to his hotel room. After what happened that night, it took years for Kobe to shake that rep. People still call him a rapist but at least he managed to get most of his standing back. That took a while.

    And then there’s OJ. Of course, it’s entirely unfair to compare Tiger’s situation to the Simpson case as Tiger didn’t allegedly kill anyone and Tiger still has the opportunity to become Tiger once again… maybe.

    Tiger was probably the nation’s most beloved athlete. Young and old, white and black, men and women all loved him.

    Not so much anymore.

    At this point, he really needs to make a public statement, not saying details, but just saying he screwed up and is sorry so we can all move on.

  16. And LeBron and Wade would make a nice dynamic duo. I understand that Bron Bron would take less money to play with some serious talent.

    But they’ll also need a decent supporting cast and that won’t come cheap.

  17. Same old story regarding Kelly. I briefly overheard some of Gilyard’s comments. But Kelly leaving Cincy was like a movie we all knew the end to. That was a done deal. I honestly think he was the only guy they could get. The bigger names weren’t going anywhere, not that ND could afford them.

    I almost feel sorry for the guy. If he doesn’t have a .600 winning percentage over the next three years, he’ll get the boot like his three predecessors.

    We can only wish him nothing but success.

  18. Chris

    Would you not admit though, the similarities ‘tween Tiger and ‘Iron Mike’ are somewhat similar ? Their ‘mentors’ or ‘father figure’ ,call them what you will. Once they were out of the picture . For both Tiger and Mike, their whole world came crashing down around their ears. Much of it being self inflicted through their arrogance, more than anything else.

    And you are right , if Lebron does take less money, not that he definitely will, to play alongside D-Wade. Then Spoelstra and Riles had better make sure that there’s some ‘serious talent’ on that Heat roster.

    Kelly may well be taking the money and running all the way to the bank with it. But the moment that ‘The Irish’ start to lose with consistently or albeit one or two games , there’ll be questions asked as to whether or not he was the right choice. He had a good thing going there in Cincy and now there’s no way for him to go back. I’m not saying that he burnt bridges the way that Rodriguez did in W Virginia. But damn , if your players are now castigating you. Then, man oh man , there can’t be much love there , at all !

    In the midst of doing a piece on my alltime favorite fighter , Marvin Hagler.
    Will give you a shout when it’s done.

    Is it me but have the Steelers fallen faster back to earth than a comet ? Wow, that loss against the Browns last night was hideous to watch.

    Alan Parkins

  19. In that sense, I see the analogy slightly, Al.

    While Tyson was at the top of his game, his descent was gradual. While the passing of D’Amato intiated his downward spiral, it was a long process. And Tyson, although the champ, was never as revered as Tiger.

    Tiger, Kobe and OJ, we’re polished, presentable athletes. Tyson was still perceived as a brute from Brooklyn. He wasnt as accessible nor did he have the people around him to build up a fake image of the man as Tiger’s publicists have obviously done.

    Tyson is now broke and starring in the Hangover. I’m not sure Tiger will ever go there.

  20. Kelly to Notre Dame was a step up. For Stoops or Meyer it would have been a lateral move at best if not a demotion from their respective programs. I haven’t seen whether the 10 point line against Florida has moved after the announcement.

    I’ll check out the Hagler piece in a bit. Can’t wait.

    And my vote for MVP goes to Troy Polamalu. Sure he hasn’t played a full season but the Steelers can’t lose with him and can’t win without him. After all, isn’t that the definition of MVP?

  21. Congrats on your Sports Nation mentions, Chump! Did you get anything special from Michelle Beadle?

    Like Jefferson & Love a lot, but Lopez, Harris and Lee are are nice threesome in New Jersey (when healthy).

    Both will finish with 15-25 wins this season, but I’d rather have the Nets roster…believe it or not.

  22. Chris

    My analogy concerning Kelly Cincy and Notre Dame ? Better the Devil you do know than the Devil you don’t ! What will be getting himself into ? The expectations no doubt from ‘The Irish’ fans will immediacy in terms of wins and a major Bowl appearance. None of which, Davies , Willingham or Weis could guarantee or even achieve , much less.

    I’d rather have seen Kelly stick around with the Bearcats and build the program up even further.

    Tyson was no dummy ! He just played the part of a ‘thug’ because it fitted in with his persona, despite his background.

    With O.J, ,Tiger and Kobe , it all came down to sheer arrogance the fact that they felt that they’re above the law.

    The Steelers just suck at the moment and I know that they’ve missed Polamalu immensely. But what’s the point in having a roster if you’ve no one plug the gap ? We’re talking about the Steelers not the Bucs or Raiders .

    What Ever Happened To ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler ?

    Alan Parkins

  23. Chris

    It’d appear that Tiger’s tentacles now reach far and wide ?

    Courtesy of the BBC UK

    UK injunction granted over golfer Tiger Woods

    Lawyers for US golfer Tiger Woods have obtained a UK injunction preventing certain information purportedly about him being published.

    The order was granted by a judge at the High Court in London, and concerns alleged information which cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.

    Last week Woods apologised to his family for “transgressions”.

    Speculation about his private life has been intense since he was involved in a car crash outside his Florida home.

    Newspaper allegations followed about extra-marital affairs.

    Woods has not been seen in public since the accident, in which his car hit a tree and fire hydrant.

    The golfer, who was found bleeding and semi-conscious, was later charged with careless driving, which carries a $164 (£98) fine and four points on his driving record.

    Woods has become an international sporting icon since winning his first major in 1997 at the age of 21.

    At 33, he is just four short of equalling Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major victories and is regarded as one of the world’s all-time great golfers.

    ===============================

    Even in my own friggin’ country now we’re now being denied a reason to poke fun at Tiger . WTF ?

    I’m going to petition her Majesty. Screw that !

    Alan Parkins

  24. Chris

    So what’s this about the Ravens’ Terrell Suggs being sued for $70 million ?

    Courtesy AP

    Women sues Ravens’ Suggs, claims abuse, paternity

    AP) – 23 hours ago

    BALTIMORE — A woman who claims Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs fathered her two children has filed a $70 million suit against the football player.

    Candace Williams is seeking $50 million in punitive damages and $20 million in compensatory damages from the three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher.

    She filed a separate complaint seeking custody of the children and is seeking a restraining order. She claims Suggs knocked her down and poured bleach on her and their son.

    Suggs said Thursday that he could not talk about the case now, but will when he can.

    Suggs has been sidelined since hurting his knee in a game against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 16.

    There’s a lesson to be learned here and that is to strap ‘your boys up’ and don’t let your ‘swimmers’ loose under any circumstances. Otherwise there’ll be hell to pay !

    Alan Parkins

  25. PJ… well SportsNation was all out of door prizes so all they gave me was this little Heisman Trophy. They figured since this their was no clear-cut candidate this year, they’d give it to someone considerably less worthy.

  26. Al… I’m not so sure I agree with you on Kelly.

    How much farther could he have taken that program? They went undefeated and still got no love from the BCS.

    His conference is behind the 8-ball when it comes the other major conferences and getting any BCS recognition.

    At Notre Dame, he’ll get every opportunity. That is until he goes all Davie/Winningham/Weis on ’em after three years with a .583 winning percentage and they run him out of town and pursue the next poor sap in waiting.

    Unlike Tiger, I think he made the right call.

  27. Al… I hadn’t heard that news about Suggs. I’m down in South Florida for the weekend attending a high school buddy’s poker/blackjack Christmas party.

    His modem is on the fritz.

    Maybe I’ll make enough money tonight to buy him a new one so I can stay glued to my site like I need to be.

  28. Chris

    With Kelly it may well have been that he felt he could resurrect the Irish’s program. But with that in mind , I do feel that he could well have made a profound mistake leaving the Bearcats. He won’t be given that much latitude when it comes to ‘The Irish’. At the first real signs of adversity they’ll be questioning his every move and decision.

    Did you by any chance ESPN’s OTL (Outside The Lines ) this morning (Sunday) ? Their expose’ on FSU cheating scandal was a real ‘eye opener’. (Click link to read)

    The ‘beeb'(BBC) as well as the press may challenge Tiger’s injunction. But I think it’s a stupid move on his part , as of now. He can’t stop the horse , given the fact that it has already bolted from the stable after he’d left the door open to begin with !

    Hope you enjoy your sojourn is South Florida ! If you happen to visit Key Biscayne , have a drink or two on me and send me a shout-out.

    Alan Parkins

  29. Thanks, Al. Back and safe.

    I missed the FSU piece you mention but I do see where they’re saying the school is admitting people on a well below par reading level.

  30. Chris

    Had you seen that OTL expose’ you’d not have been surprised at at all by what came to light concerning the actions of the staff within faculty of FSU. There was rampant and widespread cheating and many of the faculty members and certain compliance officials literally turned a blind eye to it all. But yet university President TK Wetherall states that their own internal investigations shows no malfeasance on the part of certain staff members. Whitewash or what ?

    Let’s just say that there are fifth graders with a high reading level than many of the student athletes at FSU.

    Bowden’s statement and that of the coaching staff was that they were fully unaware as to what was going on. But yet a great many of the recruits in question were actually recruited by Bowden and his staff. In particular on the recommendation of Fisher , in some casess , by all accounts.

    Dropped this on the NFL weekend .

    Charmin’ Meet The Steelers And Cowboys, Two of The Softer Teams In The NFL …

    What Ever Happened To Marvelous Marvin Hagler ………..

    Alan Parkins

  31. I hope to God that the nets and knicks both swing and miss in the 2010 free agency pool. Bunch of retards running both teams, mortaging several seasons in a row for a crapshoot in 2010.

  32. John… I feel your pain, brother.

    But hey, look at the bright side. At least Vince Carter and his random injuries are no longer your problem.

    Those now belong to Orlando.

  33. Wow, that was a very good read. In conclusion, someone who actually thinks and understands what they are talking about. Quite difficult to determine lately, especially on line . I bookmarked your web blog and will make sure to keep return here if this is how you always post. Thanks, keep it up!

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