October 19, 2019

Taurean Prince makes a declaration with 22 points, rookie Nicolas Claxton shows he has skills, and; Nets new locker room décor makes a statement all its own

It’s only preseason, but the Brooklyn Nets blew out the Brazilian basketball team, SESI/Franca, 137-89, last night at the Barclays Center.

As with any sport, on any given night, any team could defeat their opponent. Unfortunately, for Brazil’s SESI/Franca, the pride of the country couldn’t even make them more competitive last night. Granted, NBA players as a group, are the most elite basketball players in the world. However, the Nets players that were on the floor last night are not NBA elite players, some have the potential, but they are not there yet.

Beyond the information provided to this reporter about SESI/Franca’s starting five, i.e., names, numbers, and player positions, there really isn’t that much information to go on about this team. In doing background research on Google, Franca Basquetebol Clube  is the legal name for the team, but it is known as SESI/Franca for sponsorship reasons. It is a Brazilian men's professional basketball club that is based in Franca, São Paulo state. Founded on May 10, 1959, the club has won the South American Club Championship six times. The players range in age from 16 -37 years old. The oldest player is David Jackson, who is an American and a starting guard. Both Rafael Hettsheimeir and Lucas Cipolini are 33 years old.

With 26 points and five rebounds, Hettsheimeir put up the most points for SESI/Franca and led all scorers; Jackson added 19 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals, and; Jimmy De Oliveira who scored 15 points and three assists were the only players scoring in double digits for SESI/Franca. Their bench combined for 15 points.

Meanwhile, the Nets had eight players to score in double digits. Taurean Prince led the Brooklyn Nets with 22 points and four rebounds; David Nwaba and Dzanan Musa each scored 18 points, Nwaba added five rebounds and four assists, while Musa seven rebounds and three assists; Caris LeVert, and Nicolas Claxton, who came off the bench, both contributed 13 points, while LeVert added nine assists to his totals; starting center Jarrett Allen and second unit G/F Garrett Temple each scored 12 points, Allen achieved five rebounds and three assists, while Temple managed to add three assists and three rebounds to his total, and; lastly, DeAndre Jordan came off the bench to chip in 11 points and eight rebounds.

Spencer Dinwiddie, known for his scoring and assists, led all players last night in rebounds with 12.

There was plenty of ball movement and Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was pleased that his players dialed in on that note.

“I liked our quick decisions,” said Coach Atkinson. “It’s part of our principals. Shoot it, move it, drive it, and the guys did a really good job across the board. But we have to follow it up again. Forty assists is a big number. I’m very pleased with that.”

Claxton, a rookie who the Brooklyn Nets selected with the 31st overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, talked about playing his first NBA minutes.

“At the end of the day, whatever level it is, it’s basketball,” Claxton said. “I just wanted to come out there and affect the game in any way that I could, and I think I did a pretty good job of that. Just using the minutes that I had and making something happen. My teammates helped me out a lot too – just finding me in my spots and everything.”

Brooklyn Nets fans are going to be counting on all Nets players to be found in their rights spots as the season flows on. As we all know, there will be down days, but at least, when those down days are at home, the Nets players will have a locker room with beautiful décor to lament in.

 
 

A new Big 3 arrives in Brooklyn to add firepower to the Brooklyn Nets which already feature standouts Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Joe Harris

When the news broke during the first moments of the 2019 NBA Free Agency that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant would be signing with the Brooklyn Nets, it was clear that this was the start of a new era in Brooklyn. Today, that notion was underscored and co-signed by the number of media that showed up to see and hear from these two NBA superstars at the Brooklyn Nets Media Day held at the Nets practice facility.

The event kicked off with Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson answering a myriad of questions from the media including: how the Irving – Durant deal came together, will Kevin Durant travel with the team to China (preseason), players Atkinson expects to see take the next step upwards, what it’s like working with elite basketball players, and more.

In his own words: Kenny Atkinson

Kyrie Irving Hits The Stage

Then the moment that everyone was waiting for, Kyrie Irving takes the stage. Before anyone could ask questions, Irving leaned in and laid it all out. Irving started off as though he was in a confessional, all that was missing was, forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

“I’m incredibly grateful to be here,” Irving said. “It’s been a journey that I’ve taken numerous steps in different directions, and I’ve failed and succeeded…”

Uhhh, so where is this going?!

Irving went on to say that he was the mastermind behind bringing Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan to the Brooklyn Nets.

Meanwhile, in the weeks leading up to the announcement, the drumbeat that Irving and Durant would be signing with the New York Knicks grew louder with each passing day. So, how did Irving and company land in Brooklyn?

From Irving’s detailing of the sequence of events, it seemed like the Brooklyn Nets were in the lead for a good while. He went into detail about his decision-making and listed the factors that swayed his decision. Irving watched a good deal of Brooklyn Nets tape, he noticed that the players played hard, the Brooklyn Nets were a well-managed and coached team, New York City is close to home, and he grew up watching and rooting for the Nets, which was his hometown team when they played in New Jersey.

So, how did those so-called basketball insiders get this so wrong? Easy, they were probably not talking with Kyrie Irving and probably didn’t know that he used to root for the Nets in the Julius Erving days. Additionally, when people hear New York, they forget that Brooklyn is part of New York City.

But, getting back to the deal, at 4:16 a.m. before NBA free agency started in earnest, Irving, Durant, and Jordan were on the phone, FaceTime, specifically, when Irving asked if they were ready to do this. Indeed, they were, and Irving reached out to Nets general manager Sean Marks to get the ball rolling. He also let Marks know that it wasn’t just him, saying, “I had some other pieces I wanted to bring with me as well…”

Marks, talking about the signing of Irving and Durant at his press conference on Tuesday played it cool as if it was just another day at the office. But, listening to Kyrie Irving, one could only imagine the “happy dance” that Marks and his team were probably doing when he learned that Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan were ready to sign with Brooklyn.

For the most part, Brooklyn Nets fans were exuberant at the news that Irving and Durant would be coming to Brooklyn and not the New York Knicks. However, some fans and reporters were wondering will Irving come and then leave Brooklyn high and dry like he did Boston. In answering the Boston issue without being asked, Irving stated, “nine months ago I was sitting in front of the Boston crowd saying that I wanted to re-sign. And after that, a lot of things happened in my personal life that really changed the landscape of how I felt about the game of basketball and actually playing it in a team environment, and that really affected me as a human being.”

“‘Hey…they loved me in Boston, I loved the Boston fans” Irving continued. “And then two weeks later things just got really, really rocky for me in terms of — when I left for, I believe you know, after the Phoenix game, I went to my grandfather’s memorial, and he passed on October 23rd and after he passed, basketball was the last thing on my mind. So, a lot of basketball and the joy I had from it was sucked away from me and there was a facial expression that I carried around with me throughout the year, didn’t allow anyone to get close to me in that instance and it really bothered me. I didn’t take the necessary steps to get counseling or get therapy or anything to deal with someone that close to me dying. I’ve never dealt with anything like that.”

At that moment, there was a momentum shift in the room, yes, Kyrie Irving is a basketball god, a basketball hero, but he is also a human being that grieves like the rest of us.

We also learned that Irving and Durant have a real bond and Irving is very protective of Durant which he made very clear when he recounted Durant’s injury to his Achilles.

“We all know K was not ready to play in that environment…we put him on a national stage to end up selling a product (that) came before the person,” Irving said as though they were fighting words.

So, if Irving has anything to do with it, don’t expect to see Kevin Durant on the court before he’s physically ready.

Kevin Durant Speaks, sort of

Speaking of Durant, when it was his turn to speak, it was more question and answer and a noticeable shift in the relationship with the media. While Kyrie was open and laying it all bare, Durant, was closely guarded and with good reason. Since his move to the Golden State Warriors from the Oklahoma City Thunder, some media people seem to be out to get him.

For Durant, the opportunity to play for the Brooklyn Nets with his friends at this moment in time was not to be taken lightly, “it’s very rare we could meet up at this point… to control our destinies.”

Durant also did his homework researching the Nets. He already knew Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert from working out with him last summer. But he researched Nets coach Kenny Atkinson.

“I was doing a lot of YouTube research on Kenny Atkinson and watching interviews to see how he talked after games and stuff,” Durant admitted. “I really liked his approach to his craft as a coach and that’s what drew me in pretty quickly.”

DeAndre Jordan

In every group, there seems to be someone who brings the comic relief and DeAndre Jordan was just what the doctor ordered. Jordan made it clear that as a veteran player at the center position, he will mentor Jarrett Allen, who is going into his third year, but the position will be competitive.

Jarrett, you have been put on notice.

What’s Next?

The Brooklyn Nets will play two games at home at the Barclays Center during the NBA preseason, on Friday, October 4, 2019, against the SESI/Franca Basketball Club (Brazil) and on Friday, October 18, 2019, against the Toronto Raptors. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.

The first regular-season home game is on Wednesday, October 23rd at 7:30 p.m., against the Minnesota Timberwolves, followed by the New York Knicks on Friday, October 25, 2019, also at 7:30 p.m.

 
 

With the NBA blockbuster signings during this NBA off-season, Caris LeVert, a young star will continue to shine in Brooklyn this season

From the moment the Brooklyn Nets acquired guard Caris LeVert in an NBA Draft night trade with the Indiana Pacers in 2016, you knew there must be something special about this young man. Why else would Nets general manager Sean Marks, who was only an NBA general manager for four months, risk his career giving up Thaddeus Young, a serviceable player, for an unknown rookie? Even though Nets ownership gave Marks wiggle room, he couldn’t totally strikeout. To many NBA observers at the time, this move was a head-scratcher.

Today, the Brooklyn Nets announced the signing of guard Caris LeVert to a three-year contract extension, one day after his 25th birthday.

So, how has LeVert performed over the years?

LeVert has appeared in 168 career games (61 starts) across three seasons with the Nets, recording averages of 11.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.0 steals in 24.8 minutes per contest.

This past season, LeVert set single-season career highs in points per game (13.7) and rebounds per game (3.8), which marked his third straight season of improvement in both categories, to go along with 3.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 26.6 minutes per game through 40 contests (25 starts). The 25-year-old averaged 18.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 29.7 minutes per game in his first 13 games prior to suffering a foot injury, and he capped off the 2018-19 campaign by registering averages of 21.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in 28.9 minutes per game while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from 3-point range in Brooklyn’s five postseason games against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“Caris personifies what it means to be a Brooklyn Net, and we firmly believe his best basketball is in front of him,” said Marks. “The growth he has displayed in his first three seasons is a testament to his tireless work ethic, along with an unrelenting will to maximize his talents and achieve team success. Our entire organization is excited to continue to have Caris as one of the leaders of our program moving forward.”

Although the Nets did not disclose LeVert’s deal in financial terms, Adrian Wojnarowski reported the deal to be about $52 million dollars for three years.

 

The Brooklyn Nets have signed forward Deng Adel.

Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.

Adel (6’7, 200) appeared in 19 games (three starts) with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018-19 season, averaging 1.7 points and 1.0 rebounds in 10.2 minutes per game after signing a two-way contract on January 15, 2919.

Adel also appeared in 37 NBA G League games last season split between the Raptors 905 (25 games) and the Canton Charge (12 games), recording averages of 12.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 31.2 minutes per contest. The 22-year-old competed for Houston’s NBA Summer League Team in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Prior to beginning his professional career, Adel spent three years (2015-18) at Louisville, averaging 15.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 33.1 minutes per game as a junior.

A South Sudan native, Adel is an Australian citizen and will join the Australian Boomers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

With the Brooklyn Nets new player composition, the Nets are on the map, and the competition is expected to be fierce

The NBA released its 2019-20 schedule of NBA games today, and the Brooklyn Nets followed showcasing their highly anticipated schedule. As one who has been regularly covering the Brooklyn Nets since its inaugural 2012-13 season in Brooklyn, I can tell you the first home game of the season at the Barclays Center is always thrilling. There’s electricity in the air, as excited diehard Nets fans are back to root for their team. However, if you follow NBA news, you know this season is going to be different. You will want to be at the Barclays Center when the Nets first game of the season tips off against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, October 23rd, at Barclays Center.

And, if you’re asking why, go have a seat. Seriously, this will be the night that the Brooklyn Nets unveils its new roster to the public, which includes the long-awaited introduction of new players Kevin Durant (although Durant won’t be playing), Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan, as well as, returning fan favorites: Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs, Caris LeVert, Dzanan Musa, and Theo Pinson.

The Timberwolves will feature its standouts Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and former Nets players Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier should be in the house, as they now play for the Timberwolves.

Over the course of the season, fans are going to be paying attention to see if Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson will be able to work his player development magic on 2019 NBA draftees Nicolas Claxton and Jaylen Hands, in addition to weaving into the Nets system new players Deng Adel, Wilson Chandler, Henry Ellenson, David Nwaba, Taurean Prince, and Garrett Temple.

Want to see Zion Williamson, the NBA’s 2019 No.1 Draft Pick, in Brooklyn? The Nets play his team, the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, November 4, 2019. It will be Williamson’s first NBA game in New York City during the regular NBA season.

If going out during the week isn’t your thing, you’re in luck because 18 of Brooklyn’s 41 home games will be played on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. And, if you’re good with arithmetic, you know that’s just under half of the home game schedule.

The Nets will also host five-afternoon matches, including a 3 p.m. game versus the Philadelphia 76ers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 20, 2020.

Want to see the Nets’ first home game against 2019 NBA playoff foe, the Philadelphia 76ers featuring Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons? You can check them out on Sunday, December 5, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. Former Boston Celtics player, Al Horford, is now with the Sixers, so this offers a matchup between him and ex-Boston teammate and new Nets signee, Kyrie Irving.

A couch potato, or a Nets fan living in another city, you’re in luck. The Nets did so well last season, they will be featured on national television 20 times this season, six games on ESPN, six contests on TNT, and eight games on NBA TV.

If you prefer radio, Brooklyn Nets games will broadcast regionally on the YES Network for the 18th consecutive season and on WFAN radio for the 16th consecutive season.

The Nets will play two season-long four-game homestands this season, with the first beginning Tuesday, January 7, versus Oklahoma City and ending Tuesday, January 14, versus Utah, and the second spanning from Wednesday, March 18, versus Washington through Wednesday, March 25, versus the L.A. Clippers. The month of January will feature a season-high 10 home contests.

Brooklyn’s longest stint away from the Barclays Center will come in November, when they embark on a nine-day, five-game road trip, beginning on Friday, November 8, at Portland and concluding in Chicago on Saturday, November 16.

The team’s schedule also includes 11 back-to-back sets. And, you know how players hate back-to-back games.

You can see the full Nets schedule here.

With the player moves that Nets general manager Sean Marks made over the summer, this Nets season is highly anticipated. Expect games to be sold out, so don’t wait until the last minute, get your tickets as soon as possible. This Brooklyn Nets season is going to be lit!

The Brooklyn Nets have re-signed guard/forward Theo Pinson. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.

Pinson was originally signed by Brooklyn on Aug. 6, 2018, and had his contract converted to a two-way deal on Oct. 11. The Nets then exercised the Standard NBA Contract Conversion Option on Pinson’s contract on April 10. In the 2018-19 season, Pinson appeared in 18 games with Brooklyn, recording averages of 4.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and, 1.2 assists in 11.7 minutes per game. He also appeared in three playoff games for Brooklyn, averaging 3.0 points, 1.0 rebounds and, 1.0 assists in 7.3 minutes per contest, and is currently playing with Brooklyn’s NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas.

The 23-year-old also played in and started 34 games for Brooklyn’s NBA G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, this past season, averaging a team-high 20.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 35.6 minutes per contest. He earned All-NBA G League Second Team and NBA G League All-Rookie Team honors and finished the season ranked 16th in the league in both points per game and assists per game. Pinson registered the first triple-double in franchise history on Dec. 28 at Wisconsin with 27 points, 10 rebounds and, 15 assists. The Greensboro, N.C., native scored in double figures in all but one of his 34 games with the LI Nets and posted 18 games of 20 or more points, including a Long Island season-high 43 points on Jan. 10 at Maine. Pinson also finished second in voting for the 2018-19 NBA G League Rookie of the Year award. In five playoff games for Long Island, Pinson averaged 19.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and, 5.0 assists in 38.3 minutes per contest.

The Brooklyn Nets have signed free agent guard/forward Garrett Temple. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.

“Garrett is an excellent culture fit who can guard multiple positions and provide a stabilizing presence on both ends of the court,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “His high IQ and strong leadership qualities will be welcome additions to our team. We look forward to welcoming Garrett and his family to Brooklyn.”

Temple joins the Nets after spending the 2018-19 season with the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers, appearing in 75 games (career-high 55 starts) and registering averages of 7.8 points, a career-high 2.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.0 steals, in a career-high 27.2 minutes per game. The 33-year-old has seen action in 514 career games (211 starts) split between Houston (2010), Sacramento (2010, 2016-18), San Antonio (2010), Milwaukee (2011), Charlotte (2011), Washington (2012-16), Memphis (2018-19) and the Clippers (2019), posting career averages of 5.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 20.3 minutes per contest. Temple is a career 35.3 percent shooter from 3-point range and shot a single-season career-high 39.2 percent from distance in 2017-18 with Sacramento. He’s also appeared in 26 career playoff games over four postseason appearances, most recently with the Clippers this past season.

The Baton Rouge, La., native went undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft after a four-year collegiate career (2005-09) at Louisiana State, where he earned All-SEC Second Team and SEC All-Defensive Team honors as a senior.

 

The Brooklyn Nets have signed free agent forward Wilson Chandler. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.

“Wilson is an experienced leader who will bring a veteran presence to our frontcourt rotation,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “His team-first mentality and high character will be excellent additions to our culture, both on and off the court. We are excited to welcome Wilson and his family to Brooklyn.”

Chandler (6’9, 225) joins the Nets after splitting the 2018-19 season between the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers. In 51 games (33 starts), the 32-year-old registered averages of 6.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and, 1.6 assists in 23.1 minutes per contest while shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from 3-point range (the second-best 3-point field goal percentage in a season in his career). Chandler has appeared in 641 career games (480 starts) with New York (2007-11), Denver (2011-18), Philadelphia (2018-19) and the Clippers (2019), averaging 12.9 points (44.4 percent from the field, 34.3 percent from 3-point range), 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 30.5 minutes per game. The Benton Harbor, Mich., native has also seen action in 15 career postseason games, most recently appearing in four games with the Clippers in the 2019 NBA Playoffs.

Chandler was originally selected with the 23rd overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks after a two-year collegiate career (2005-07) at DePaul University, where he earned Second Team All-Big East honors as a sophomore.

The Brooklyn Nets have signed forward/center Nicolas Claxton, the 31st overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, to a multi-year contract. 

Claxton (6’11, 215) spent two collegiate seasons at the University of Georgia (2017-19). As a sophomore, the forward/center averaged a team-high 13.0 points, 8.6 rebounds (third in the SEC), 1.1 steals and 2.5 blocks (10th in the nation) while adding 1.8 assists in 31.6 minutes per game on his way to being named to the All-SEC Second Team. Overall, Claxton appeared in 65 games for the Bulldogs, averaging 8.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists and, 1.9 blocks in 23.0 minutes per contest. The 20-year-old finished his career ranked No. 8 on UGA’s all-time blocks list (123).

A native of Greenville, S.C., Claxton has also represented the U.S. Virgin Islands in international competition. He is currently competing for Brooklyn’s NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas.

Brooklyn Nets trade DeMarre Carroll to San Antonio Spurs in a three-team trade

The Brooklyn Nets have acquired the draft rights to guard/forward Nemanja Dangubic from the San Antonio Spurs and the draft rights to forward Aaron White from the Washington Wizards. Brooklyn has traded forward DeMarre Carroll to San Antonio, and Washington has acquired forward Davis Bertans from San Antonio to complete the three-team deal.

Dangubic (6’9, 195) was originally selected with the 54th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by Philadelphia and subsequently had his rights traded to San Antonio. The 26-year-old Serbian native most recently played for Bayern Munich of the Basketball Bundesliga in Germany.

White (6’9, 230) was originally selected with the 49th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by Washington after a four-year collegiate career (2011-15) at the University of Iowa. The 26-year-old Ohio native most recently played for Zalgiris Kaunas of the Lithuanian League.

Carroll was originally acquired by Brooklyn in a trade with the Toronto Raptors on July 13, 2017. In 140 games (81 starts) in two seasons with the Nets, Carroll averaged 12.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 27.7 minutes per game. He also appeared in all five of Brooklyn’s postseason games in 2019. In 10 NBA seasons with Memphis (2009-10), Houston (2011), Denver (2011-12), Utah (2012-13), Atlanta (2013-15), Toronto (2015-17) and Brooklyn (2017-19), Carroll holds career averages of 9.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 24.2 minutes per contest in 554 games (339 starts).

“We would like to thank DeMarre for everything he brought to our team both on and off the court during his two seasons in Brooklyn and wish him and his family nothing but the best moving forward,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks.

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