July 19, 2019

Nets win 2019 NBA Free Agency with the acquisition of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan; lose D'Angelo Russell, Ed Davis, and other players

The Brooklyn Nets have been struggling to obtain top-tier NBA players in what seems like forever, and shortly after 6:00 p.m. on June 30, 2019, as soon as the NBA Free Agency period opened, it was as if the Brooklyn Nets hit the lotto. For months, not only did New York City sports talk radio hype Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant going to the New York Knicks during free agency, but their national brethren also chimed in. So, when the news broke that the Brooklyn Nets signed Irving and Durant, radio personalities became punching bags and psychologists depending on the caller. Nets fans came out of the woodwork to express their joy and apprehension. Most were concerned about Durant’s Achilles injury. Some felt a little bit of trepidation about the age Durant will be when he can finally play again, losing D’Angelo Russell, and whether Irving is capable of leading. All are legitimate concerns. But when one looks at the landscape of top-tier NBA players who were free agents, it would have been malpractice for the Nets not to try to sign them. There are also reports that DeAndre Jordan will sign a four-year, $40M deal with the Nets and that Durant and Irving will both take less than the max so DeAndre Jordan can receive $40M. Jordan can also be a help to Nets center, Jarrett Allen, who is going into his third season with the team.

In the last decade, Nets fans have been on a roller coaster ride. They have watched the Nets move from New Jersey to Brooklyn. They were there when Nets management tried to reel in LeBron James, and then later, Dwight Howard in his last year with the Orlando Magic. And, no one can forget the Nets trade with the Boston Celtics for the Big 3: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. It was at that introductory press conference presenting the Big 3 that Brooklyn Nets principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov talked about being a championship contender.

 

At the time, most reporters expressed publicly and privately that Billy King did one heck of a great sales job. And, some even laughed, particularly as the Nets’ fortunes started sinking. Truthfully, it was no laughing matter. No business-minded person wants to see red ink on a balance sheet. And to a large extent, during that time, Brooklyn’s economy was tied to the Barclays Center’s profitability. Fortunately, Prokhorov moved quickly and changed the management of the Brooklyn Nets and replaced King with Sean Marks, who brought in Kenny Atkinson, who has a reputation for bringing out the best in players, particularly point guards, as the head coach to replace Lionel Hollins. Prokhorov also did one other thing to help Marks and Atkinson, he gave them the breathing room to right the sinking ship.

Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson 750x422Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks (l) and Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson

Nets fans already see big things in store for their team. Some are talking rings and others, see this team to be the next Eastern Conference Champions, particularly if Kawhi Leonard leaves the Toronto Raptors. If the Nets with this new composition of players get to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, this season, it will be considered a smashing success considering the Nets’ history. If it should win the East, and that is a big if, well let’s just say the City of New York will have to close down Flatbush Avenue because there will be dancing in the streets. And, some New Yorkers, because we are a bold bunch, may hold a simultaneous street party in front of Madison Square Garden.

The real NBA Basketball rivalry in New York City starts now.

WATCH VIDEO: Jason Kidd meets New York media as head coach of Brooklyn Nets

What's The 411TV's, Andrew Rosario, takes us inside the press conference held at the Barclays Center announcing that Jason Kidd, a recently retired NBA basketball player including the Nets as one of his former teams, is the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

Gary Sussman, Vice President, Public Relations, made the announcement to the media, while Nets General Manager Billy King accompanied Jason Kidd to the press table and made the opening remarks.

Also in attendance were Brett Yormark, CEO, Brooklyn Nets; and Bruce Ratner, Chairman, Forest City Ratner Companies and Developer of the Barclays Center.

Previously a point guard in the NBA, Kidd was a ten-time NBA All-Star, a five-time All-NBA First Team member, and a nine-time NBA All-Defensive Team member. He won an NBA Championship in 2011 as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, and was a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner during his pro career, as part of Team USA in 2000 and 2008. Immediately prior to this first head coaching position with the Brooklyn Nets, Kidd played for the New York Knicks. Kidd played for the Nets from 2001 through 2008.

Billy King Issues Statement on Jason Kidd

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge and was placed on interim probation nearly a year after he smashed his Cadillac SUV into a utility pole on eastern Long Island, reports the Associated Press.

In exchange for the guilty plea, Kidd agreed to speak to Long Island high school students about the dangers of drunken driving. If he fulfills his community service, his plea will be reduced to a violation — driving while ability impaired — when he returns to court on Sept. 30.

Kidd, who retired as an NBA player after last season, was recently hired to coach the Brooklyn Nets — the team he took to two NBA Finals as a player when the franchise played in New Jersey as the New Jersey Nets.

In response to this news, Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King issued the following statement:

"Jason has taken responsibility for his actions, and fully realizes that he needs to grow from this experience. We are confident he will make these strides on a personal level and have a positive effect on others as well."

Watch VIDEO: Scenes from the Press Conference Introducing Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry

Andrew Rosario, Chief Correspondent, What's The 411SPORTS' takes us inside a press conference held at the Barclays Center introducing the newest members of the Brooklyn Nets team.

Gary Sussman, Vice President, Public Relations, opened the press conference with the introduction of Nets General Manager Billy King who lauded Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. These new members of the Brooklyn Nets make the team a formidable force in the NBA's Eastern Conference and a championship contender.

Prokhorov Wants A Ring

Brooklyn Nets Principal Owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, flew in from Moscow specifically for this occasion. Prokhorov didn't mince any words, he expects the Brooklyn Nets to be a championship contender. He noted that Garnett, Pierce, and Terry each have at least one ring, while at the present moment, he has none.

Also in attendance were Brooklyn Nets Head Coach, Jason Kidd; Bruce Ratner, Chairman, Forest City Ratner Companies and Developer of the Barclays Center; Brett Yormark, CEO, Brooklyn Nets; and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

 

Photo Credits: Alexis Williams/What's The 411 Networks

Brooklyn Nets forward Tornike Shengelia will undergo surgery on Wednesday, July 31, to repair a damaged meniscus in his left knee, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.

A further medical update will be issued following surgery.

In his rookie season, Shengelia, a native of Georgia, appeared in 19 games for Brooklyn, averaging 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds in 4.9 minutes per game.

In final game of the season, Nets general manager gives strong signal that Tony Brown won’t be back

Today was the last game of the season for the Brooklyn Nets. They hosted the Toronto Raptors at the Barclays Center, a team the Nets bounced out of the playoffs in the first round in 2014.

I thought there was an outside chance that the Nets could close out the season with a win, particularly since Toronto head coach Dwane Casey told the media in a pregame press conference that the Raptors would be without DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Cory Joseph, Luis Scola and Jonas Valanciunas. And, adding to the missing key Toronto players, the Nets started the game with a 21-4 run, which made me hopeful.

However, the 17-point lead seemed to vanish in an instant. By the end of the half, Toronto led Brooklyn 49-47; at the end of the third stanza, Toronto had a 12-point lead 78-66. When the music stopped, the Nets had lost to the Raptors 103-96, and in so doing, finished the season with a 21-61 record, the 3rd-worst in the league.

In the loss, Bojan Bogdanovic came up big for the Nets, scoring 29 points on seven 3-pointers. Sean Kilpatrick, a fan favorite, as they are still calling his name when he steps on the hardwood, added 12 points and tied his three career assist record. Donald Sloan scored 11 points, and Henry Sims chipped in 10 points and tied his career-high three blocked shots.

Like the Nets, the Raptors also only had four players in double digits; but they scored more points. Norman Powell led all scorers with 30 points and nine rebounds; Terrence Ross scored 24 points and 10 boards off the bench; Delon Wright added 18 points and seven assists; and Jason Thompson chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds.

Anyone following the Nets this season knows that this season is the team’s worst season in Brooklyn. The downward spiral caused the reassignment of general manager Billy King and the firing of head coach Lionel Hollins on January 10, 2016. Anthony (Tony) Brown, an assistant coach under Hollins was named interim head coach and played caretaker to a team that seemed to be in disarray. As one who followed the team, I don’t think the 21-61 record really reflects the potential of the Brooklyn Nets’ team as it is presently constituted. The team needs a stronger point guard, a defender around the rim, and a coach that has experience developing young players, and particularly millennials. The salary cap is expected to go up to approximately $89 million and with Nets current salary obligations it could have between $42.1 and $48.2 million for free agents. Attracting good free agents to the Nets will depend in part on who becomes the next head coach.

Sean Marks, the Nets new general manager has been in evaluation mode of both players and interim coach Tony Brown. There is no doubt some of the players will not be back next season and certainly Tony Brown won’t be back.

Brown told the media that the Nets’ young players are still being evaluated and was asked if he still believed he was being evaluated by Marks.

“I can’t answer that. I really can’t,” Brown said before Monday’s game against the Wizards. “We’ve got two games left. I feel like the situation has been tough from the beginning, I’ve tried to make the best of it and I’m going to continue to do that the last two games and whatever happens, happens. I’m not worried about my fate with this organization.”

As I watched Brown hustle out the door after the Nets final game against Toronto and there were no final remarks by Nets General Manager Marks, I guess we all have our answer soon enough.

Sean Marks starts off his tenure as Nets GM with a win

Friday marked the first Nets game since the announcement of former San Antonio Spurs assistant general manager Sean Marks as the Nets new general manager. The announcement was made one day prior marking the end of a search that began with the reassignment of Billy King on January 10th. The Brooklyn Nets faced their cross-town rivals in the New York Knicks who experienced their own personnel change with the firing of former head coach Derek Fisher earlier this month.

The Nets are looking to rebound from a 109-90 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies prior to the All-Star break while the Knicks try to end a six-game losing streak. Even though times have been difficult for the Nets, one of the players who has kept the team competitive has been Brook Lopez. The center has improved in most aspects of his game with his numbers improving from last season.

The Knicks jumped to a nine-point lead in the first quarter shooting 59% from the field, with Carmelo Anthony leading the way with 11 points in 12 minutes of play. The Nets forced ten Knicks turnovers and outscored the Knicks in the paint to close the gap to two points at the half.

Early in the third quarter, the Knicks extended their lead to five however it would be short lived as the Nets went on a 20-2 run taking the lead 74-61. The Nets run was aided by converting Knicks turnovers into points. Brooklyn has struggled on the defensive side of the ball of late and saw their lead dwindle to three in the fourth quarter. The Nets showed resiliency and fight as they went on a 16-2 run to win their first game after the NBA All-Star break and their first under new GM Sean Marks.

In the 109-98 win over the New York Knicks, Lopez led all scorers with 33 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots. Bojan Bogdanovic knocked down four three-pointers and scored 16 just in time points off the bench.

Thaddeus Young chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds, Donald Sloan 14 points and 10 rebounds and Joe Johnson added 12 points, six assists and six rebounds.

For team blue and orange, Carmelo Anthony led with 22 points, while rookie stand-out Kristaps Porzingis chipped in 16 points.

Despite Nets’ loss to Trailblazers, Donald Sloan and Thomas Robinson injected much-needed energy

On Wednesday night, the Brooklyn Nets caught a break when Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony didn’t suit up. They took advantage of the Knicks lacking their star player and defeated their surging rivals, 110-104, their second game since general manager Billy King and head coach Lionel Hollins were relieved of their duties. On Friday night against the Portland Trailblazers, the Nets weren’t afforded the same luck.

Damian Lillard, a star in his own right, suited up and showed the Nets exactly how a star manages his game. Lillard poured in a game-high 33 points, with 10 assists leading the Blazers to an 116-104 win over the lowly Nets. Lillard scored throughout the game but did most of his best work when it counted the most.

In the 4th quarter, Lillard scored more points than he scored in any other quarter with 14 points and made big plays down the stretch that inevitably sealed the Nets to their fate. With just under eight minutes left in the 4th, Lillard drained a jump shot that cut, what was a brief four-point Nets lead, 92-88 to 92-90. Minutes later, Lillard hit a three to give the Blazers a one-point, 93-92 advantage with a little over seven minutes left till the end of regulation.

“I’m just in one of those grooves where the game is just in flow,” Lillard said. “I just feel good out there and the way we’re playing as a team only makes it easier.”

Lillard’s three would spark a 10-2 Blazers run over the next three minutes featuring five points by Lillard and a three by Allen Crabbe who finished with 19 points. The Blazers laid down the ground work to coast till the buzzer sounded and once again, the Nets tasted defeat. Under interim head coach Tony Brown, the Nets have played inspiring basketball, so far, and tonight was no different.

The Nets competed and were in this game. They gave themselves an opportunity to win but like the majority of their games this year, late game execution, whether it’s defending or scoring, continues to be the Nets biggest issue.

“Down the stretch, we just struggled defending.” Brown said post-game.

And the evidence is proven by the Blazers shooting 42 percent from three (15-35) and 50 percent from the field (47-93).

The Nets actually shot the same percentage from deep but only made eight threes and from the field, the Nets shot 44 percent. On a night where every starter for the Nets reached double-figures including two bench players, the Nets still came up short. Brook Lopez led all Nets players with 25 points and seven rebounds and Joe Johnson scored 15 points with four assists. The most encouraging performances came from Thomas Robinson and Donald Sloan.

Robinson gave the Nets the much-needed energy and fire the team lacked. He made the hustle plays on the boards and had some great moments, especially early in the fourth when Robinson scored five straight points which put the Nets up by four, 90-86, forcing a Blazers timeout with 9:18 left in the 4th.

“Thomas Robinson had a wonderful night,” Brown said. “His energy really helped us get back in the ballgame.”

Sloan on the other hand, gave the Nets great play from the lead guard position. The former Aggie almost posted a triple-double, 15 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and seemed to be the answer as the Nets starter going forward opposed to Shane Larkin who struggled all night long, finishing with two points.

There are a lot of things the Nets need after losing their G.M. and head coach all in the same week and recent reports state that the Nets are looking to fill the void. The Nets are linked to Bryan Colangelo and coach, Tom Thibodeau, known for running his players into the ground. In Thib, the Nets will have one of the best coaches in the NBA. They would have an identity, and that’s something worth investing in.

General Manager Billy King Reassigned

The Brooklyn Nets today reassigned General Manager Billy King within the organization and have parted ways with Head Coach Lionel Hollins.

For the remainder of this season, Assistant Coach Tony Brown will serve as interim head coach. The GM position will remain open until a replacement is named.

Surprised? Not really. Anyone who has been paying close attention to the Brooklyn Nets knew the hammer was going to fall. In fact, many wondered what took so long. Hollins is the Nets fourth and longest serving head coach since the team came to Brooklyn in 2012.

During the 2012-13 inaugural season at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Nets fired Avery Johnson on December 27, 2012, 28 games into the season and Johnson had just won the NBA’s Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for November just weeks prior.

P.J. Carlesimo took over on an interim basis and the Nets made it into the NBA playoffs, but lost Game 7 in Round 1 on May 4, 2013, to the Chicago Bulls 99-93. On Sunday, May 5, 2013, the Nets fired Carlesimo who had a 35-19 regular season record with the Nets.

On June 12, 2013, Nets General manager announced that newly retired New York Knicks player Jason Kidd would be the new head coach for the Brooklyn Nets. Now, to be fair, Kidd was an all-star, NBA champion, an Olympic Gold medalist and known to be a coach on the floor, but that didn’t stop the haters from complaining about Kidd’s selection. Kidd’s tenure with the Nets was no walk in the park.

After a loss to the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day, Kidd’s record with the Nets dropped to a disappointing 9-19. At the time, Kidd was sharing coaching duties with Lawrence Frank, and at the start of 2014, Kidd took full control of the coaching duties creating an acrimonious relationship with Frank. On February 3, 2014, Kidd was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for January. On April 1, 2014, he was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month a second time for the month of March. Kidd also took the Nets to the second round of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs.

On July 1, 2014, the Milwaukee Bucks secured Kidd's coaching rights from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for two second-round draft picks in 2015 and 2019. Unlike the two previous coaches, Kidd wasn’t fired; he left for the Milwaukee Bucks because the Nets would not give him more managerial control.

On July 2, 2014, in walks veteran NBA coach Lionel Hollins. The Brooklyn Nets announced a four-year deal with Hollins and with the Nets announcement of his departure today, Hollins is the longest serving Brooklyn Nets coach thus far.

“After careful consideration, I’ve concluded that it’s time for a fresh start and a new vision for the direction of the team,” said Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov. “By making this decision now, it enables our organization to use the rest of the season to diligently evaluate candidates with proven track records. It’s clear from our current state of affairs that we need new leadership. With the right basketball management and coach in place, we are going to create a winning culture and identity and give Brooklyn a team that it can be proud of and enjoy watching. We have learned a great deal during the past six years and our experiences will guide us for the future. Following the consolidation of team ownership last month, I can assure you that I’m more determined and committed than ever to build a winner.”

Hopefully, going forward Prokhorov will be more pragmatic with his future moves because his previous strategy of “win at all cost” has not proven to be a winning formula.

VIDEO: Brooklyn Nets introduce Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry

Andrew Rosario, Chief Correspondent, What's The 411 SPORTS' takes us inside a press conference held at the Barclays Center introducing the newest members of the Brooklyn Nets team.

Gary Sussman, Vice President, Public Relations, opened the press conference with the introduction of Nets General Manager Billy King who introduced Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. It is the expectation that these new members of the Brooklyn Nets will make the team a formidable force in the NBA's Eastern Conference and a championship contender.

Prokhorov Wants A Ring

Brooklyn Nets Principal Owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, flew in from Moscow especially for this occasion. Prokhorov didn't mince any words, he expects the Brooklyn Nets to be a championship contender. He noted that Garnett, Pierce, and Terry each have at least one ring, while at the present moment, he has none.

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