March 22, 2018

Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal came up winners at the US OPEN; the Cavs and Celtics Kyrie Irving – Isaiah Thomas trade dissected, Brooklyn Nets sale news

In this 96th episode of What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, are talking about how Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal  slayed at the 2017 US OPEN, the Cavaliers, and Celtics trade of Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas, Danny Ainge getting thrown under the bus, Roger Goodell and the NFL on Ezekiel Elliott and Josh Brown, Seattle Seahawks' Michael Bennett's arrest by the Las Vegas police, the proposed sale of the Brooklyn Nets, the NY Yankees, Carmelo Anthony's outlook with the NY Knicks and his wife La La Anthony. Our Photo of the Week is Jeremy Lin and Caris Levert in Taiwan.


2017 US OPEN

Congratulations are due to professional tennis players Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal on their grand slam wins at the 2017 US OPEN. Stephens beat Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0, to win the Women’s Final. And, on the men’s side, Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, beat South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to win the men’s US OPEN FINAL.

Boston Celtics – Cleveland Cavaliers Trade

Kyrie Irving has left the building. Irving is now with the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 pick by way of the Boston Celtics, and a 2020 pick from Boston.

The Courts Give Ezekiel Elliot a Reprieve

The Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot can play for the Cowboys this season despite Roger Goodell handing down a six-game suspension to Elliot for domestic violence. The NFL Players Association took the NFL to court to get a Temporary Restraining Order over the process by which Goodell came to Elliot’s punishment, and won.

NFL Give Josh Brown a Six-Game Suspension

The NFL, after suspending former New York Giants kicker Josh Brown 1 Game for beating his wife, quietly suspended him for 6 games. The league reopened the investigation based on new info and has yet to release its findings. The NFL concluded there was a violation of its personal conduct policy and imposed a 6-game suspension which Brown accepted without appeal.

NFL Supports Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett had a run-in with Las Vegas police when he was leaving a night club. Bennett says that the officer told him he would "blow my f*cking head off"

NBA and NBA Players Association Issue Joint Statement on Social Issues

Here’s a big contrast between the NBA and the NFL. Recently, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Players Association executive director Michelle Roberts are encouraging players to speak out on social issues, stating to NBA players:

“None of us operates in a vacuum. Critical issues that affect our society also impact you directly. Fortunately, you are not only the world’s greatest basketball players — you have real power to make a difference in the world, and we want you know that the Players Association and the League are always available to help you figure out the most meaningful way to make that difference.”


Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Brooklyn Nets’ players Jeremy Lin and Caris LeVert in Taiwan.


Brooklyn Nets for Sale

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is ready to do a slow dance to sell the team. Initially, Prokhorov wanted to sell a minority stake in the team, but because of the pace, he is willing to sell up to 49 percent and the remaining 51 percent shortly thereafter. Sources say Prokhorov is encouraged by the sale of the Houston Rockets for $2.2 Billion.

Carmelo Anthony Still with the NY Knicks

Carmelo Anthony is still a member of the New York Knicks even though both the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers have expressed interest in him. Additionally, the Knicks point guard situation isn’t knocking anyone’s socks off and the team is considering bringing in point guards Trey Burke and Jarrett Jack for training camp.

The New York Yankees in the Hunt

 Right now, there is enough space between the Yankees and the Orioles for the Yanks to get a wildcard spot in the playoffs.


Now, let’s go off topic. New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony showed up unexpectedly at the launch of his estranged wife, La La Anthony’s, new denim line at Lord & Taylor in New York City. Carmelo proudly posted a photo of La La on Instagram.

Carmelo Anthony Instagram post of the launch of LaLa Anthonys new denim line at Lord and Taylor 613x400


After surrendering two straight to the likes of Washington and a heartbreaker in the city of brotherly love, the Brooklyn Nets failed to enter the win column, dropping their third straight to an Eastern Conference powerhouse, the Indiana Pacers 103-86.

The Nets continue to regress and now sport an overall regular season record of 9-18.

Any time these two teams match-up, a grind it out possession by possession game is to be expected, due to the half-court offensive styles these two teams execute, and that's what occurred tonight...... until Indiana's perimeter swingman Paul George and shooting guard Lance Stephenson decided to end the competitive tango.

Nets and Pacers Keep It Close Early

George and Stephenson combined for 52 points, with George scoring 26 points, grabbing six boards and dishing five assists; while Stephenson enjoyed his Junior's cheesecake, as the Brooklyn native was cooking in his environment recording 26 points, cleaning the glass with seven rebounds and also promoting the fact that sharing is caring dropping 5 dimes, all while establishing that he is one of the best two-way shooting guards in this league.

A close game early, as both teams subjected each other to poor offensive execution ending the first quarter with the Pacers leading by a deuce to the Nets 17; the Pacers took control of this game in the second and put it out of reach in the 3rd, accumulating their highest advantage over the Nets up to 24 points.

At the end of the half the Nets only trailed by six, 39 to the Pacers 45, but the increase in defensive pressure by the Pacers halted the Nets and their offensive success, as they exploded out of the intermission period on a 15-4 run solidifying their control on the game, as well as, hitting the 70 point mark on a 4-foot made jump-shot by Pacers forward Ian Mahinmi with 4:09 remaining in the 3rd period to the Nets 47 points.

If their frustrations weren't conspicuous regarding the overall game itself, Nets forward Paul Pierce's flagrant foul on starting Pacers point guard George Hill served as evidence with 4:22 remaining in the 3rd quarter when Hill stole a bad pass by Nets guard Joe Johnson and embarked on a one man fast-break only to be met by a close line by Pierce targeting Hills neck which ultimately led to his ejection.

To begin the fourth quarter, the Nets announcer addressed the sellout crowd of 17,732 in attendance, engaging and encouraging them to lift the Nets emotionally and "STAND UP," as he articulated through the loud speaker, which served no purpose as the fans stood and the Nets remained seated.

Every opportunity and threat the Nets posed was deflected by stellar defensive play by the Pacers, who accomplished this feat albeit missing their defensive anchor and last line of defense in starting Center Roy Hibbert due to foul trouble.

Nets guards Deron Williams had 9 points and 8 assists; Joe Johnson scored 17 points; and off the bench, guard and journeyman Jason Terry provided a spark totaling 11 points with 8 coming within the 4th quarter.

As Terry connected for two back-to-back three's with 5 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter reducing the Nets deficit to 18 points, 98-77, Stephenson answered with a three of his own pushing the lead back to 21, 98-77.

He was having one of those nights playing in front of his home crowd, an individual home game for Stephenson, as he posed with friends and family for pictures after the match had commenced.

In other words, Stephenson earned his Juniors Cheesecake, in a resounding and resonating fashion.

The return of Williams and Brook Lopez to the Nets lineup brought hope to the franchise which experienced tough times early in this season and the now loss of Lopez for the season creates even more of an uphill climb for the Nets to achieve respectability in a conference that has failed to live up to the hype which revolved around the celebrated pre-season player transactions.

The Nets will have to contribute down low on offense and defense by committee which means larger roles for Forward Kevin Garnett, rookie center Mason Plumlee, and Forward Andray Blatche.

The various injuries the Nets have been obligated to this year, I would think have served as a learning curve for first year head coach Jason Kidd forcing him to make intelligent in-game basketball decisions on a game-by-game basis.

Jason Terry Looking Forward

In the postgame festivities, Terry shared his thoughts on the overall state of the Nets.

"We're together," said Terry to media correspondents in the Nets locker-room.

"It's just a matter of us picking it up. If we have to get kicked in the butt whatever we have to do, we must pick it up," Terry added.

He even suggested their future Christmas day matinee with the Chicago Bulls.

"It's a great opportunity for a team to come up in here like Chicago, who's going to make you play hard each and every possession, all is not lost and we get another opportunity here at home on a special day and what better Christmas present to get than a win against the Bulls," Terry continued.

The Nets host the Bulls on Christmas Day and what follows is a pre-determined schedule that could influence the Nets franchise to make some drastic changes. After the Bulls, the Nets will host a winnable game against the Milwaukee Bucks, and then the plot thickens the day after the Bucks match, at Indiana, at the San Antonio Spurs and at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

So long to the team who posed a possible threat to the Miami Heat; now they must modify the dreams of the front office and its billionaire owner from Russia with love, Mikhail Prokhorov. With their injuries, stars failing to perform at the highest level, and a first year coach struggling to find his way on Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue, the Nets need more than hope they need luck, in the toughest place to find it especially in the city that never sleeps, as everyone else is up searching for their own.

VIDEO: Not a splashy name; but Atkinson gets high marks from other coaches and players

In this video, What's The 411Sports hosts, Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, are talking about the Brooklyn Nets hire of Kenny Atkinson as the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. 

Do you think the Nets made the best decision?

Atkinson comes to Brooklyn Nets with rave reviews from Jeremy Lin and others

We knew it was coming, but we didn’t know the timeframe; but four days after the Brooklyn Nets season ended, the Nets announced its new head coach, Kenny Atkinson.

Atkinson will become the 21st head coach in the franchise’s NBA history and its sixth coach since 2012.

“We are thrilled to announce Kenny Atkinson as our new head coach and to welcome him and his family to Brooklyn,” Nets General Manager Sean Marks stated in a press release. “Kenny’s years of NBA coaching experience working under successful head coaches such as Mike Budenholzer and Mike D’Antoni have provided him with the foundation and experience we were looking for in a head coach. We believe that Kenny’s core principles, leadership, communication skills and exceptional background in player development make him an ideal fit for the culture we are building in Brooklyn.”

From the comments made by Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, he is continuing to signal patience with the team’s building process.

“I’d like to extend a personal welcome to Kenny and wish all of us success as we begin a new era at the Brooklyn Nets,” said Prokhorov. “Aside from his tremendous skills and experience, he has the mindset we need to build a winning team day by day, step by step. Together, we can do great things.”

And, glowing comments about Atkinson are coming from people outside the Nets organization including Charlotte Hornets point guard Jeremy Lin, who was coached by Atkinson when Lin played for the New York Knicks.

"I’ve kind of been saying it was just a matter of time for him because I know how good he is, I know how much he was there for me in New York," said Charlotte Hornets point guard Jeremy Lin. "When you’re around him, you kind of understand there’s something different about him: his energy, his passion, the juice he approaches his work with."

Lin added: "He doesn’t leave any stone unturned. He’s always the first one in, and I’m saying first one in by, like, hours."

Atkinson joins the Nets after spending the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks under Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. The Hawks made playoff appearances in each of Atkinson’s four seasons, including the club’s first-ever trip to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. The 2014-15 Hawks registered a franchise-record 60 wins, including a franchise-best 19-game win streak, and captured their first division title in more than 20 years. Atkinson served on the 2015 Eastern Conference All-Star coaching staff, and he guided Team World in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend in New York. Prior to his tenure with the Hawks, Atkinson was an assistant coach for four seasons with the New York Knicks (2008-12), helping the team reach the postseason in 2011 and 2012. Atkinson also spent one season as the Director of Player Development for the Houston Rockets (2007-08).

“I am truly honored and humbled to be named the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and I would like to thank Nets’ ownership and management for this tremendous opportunity,” said Atkinson. “Together with Sean and his staff, we look forward to building a winning tradition here in Brooklyn. I also want to acknowledge and thank Mike Budenholzer and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for their cooperation and support throughout this process. While I am eager to begin working with the Nets, I remain committed to my coaching responsibilities with the Hawks for the remainder of the postseason.”

A native of Huntington, New York, Atkinson has also held various coaching positions abroad, serving as Director of Player Development/Assistant Coach for Paris Basket Racing Club in France (2004-06), Director of Player Development/Assistant Coach for the national team of the Republic of Georgia in the summer of 2006 and as an assistant coach with the Ukraine national team at the European championships in 2011. Most recently, Atkinson was Head Coach of the Dominican Republic national team in last summer’s FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City.

Prior to beginning his coaching career, Atkinson played professionally for 14 years (1990-2004), beginning his pro career in the CBA and USBL before competing for teams in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain. A standout collegiate player at the University of Richmond, Atkinson earned All-CAA First Team honors as a junior and senior and helped lead the Spiders to a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1988. He was also selected as the 1987 CAA Rookie of the Year.

What a difference a day makes. At the opening of the Brooklyn Nets HSS Training Facility, yesterday, there were reports that San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Sean Marks had turned down the Brooklyn Nets offer to serve as general manager for the team. Today, Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center made the announcement that he got his man. Sean Marks is now the general manager of the Brooklyn Nets.

“After an exhaustive vetting process, we are delighted to have Sean as our General Manager,” Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said. “His experience on the court, in coaching and management gives him a 360-degree view of the job at hand. His background helping to build one of the greatest teams in the NBA gives him an unparalleled frame of reference. And he impressed us all with his vision, his values, his personality and his enthusiasm for the club. The vote to select him from an incredible list of talent was unanimous. We welcome Sean into our Nets family and look forward to his strong leadership and independent thinking as we build our own success story.”

“I am very excited to be named the General Manager of the Brooklyn Nets, and to become a member of the vibrant and dynamic organization that represents Brooklyn,” Marks said. "I would like to thank Nets’ ownership for giving me this opportunity, and I look forward to the challenge of creating a unified culture and building a winning team."

Marks joins the Nets after spending the past five years with the San Antonio Spurs, including the last two seasons as the team’s assistant general manager. Prior to serving as assistant general manager, Marks spent one season as an assistant coach on the Spurs’ 2014 NBA Championship team, one season as the team’s director of basketball operations and general manager of the Spurs’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, and one season as a basketball operations assistant.

A veteran of 12 NBA seasons, Marks was originally selected with the 44th pick in the second round of the 1998 NBA draft by the New York Knicks. Over the course of his playing career, he suited up for six different franchises, including the Toronto Raptors (1998-00), Miami Heat (2001-03), Phoenix Suns (2006-08), New Orleans Hornets (2008-10) and Portland Trail Blazers (2010-11). He also spent two seasons with the Spurs (2004-06) and was a member of the 2005 NBA Championship team.

Prior to embarking on his NBA career, Marks spent played four seasons at the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as a captain during his senior season (1997-98). He earned his degree in political science from the school in 1998.

Marks is a native of Auckland, New Zealand, representing the country in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. He was also a part of the team that finished fourth at the 2002 FIBA World Championship.

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 Owner Mikhail Prokhorov Wants NBA Championship Ring



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.

Video Discussion: Prokhorov going to Nets training camp could signal management and coaches are on the hot seat; Nets Media Day offers signals, too

This boss ain’t playing around!

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, took to Twitter to announce that he will be joining the Brooklyn Nets at training camp at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Although the Brooklyn Nets have made it to the NBA Playoffs during the past three seasons in Brooklyn, the Nets haven't exactly had a winning record under Prokhorov.

The Brooklyn Nets win-loss record under Prokhorov stands at 177-217.  Additionally, the team has had four head coaches in Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlesimo, Jason Kidd and now Lionel Hollins. Only Hollins has lasted more than a season.

At the end of the 2014-15 season, the Nets also traded away its franchise player Deron Williams to the Dallas Mavericks.

Since sending Williams to Dallas, there appears to be some uncertainty with the team right now regarding the point guard position, which was evidenced today at Nets Media Day.

When I asked Hollins if Jarrett Jack would be the starting point guard at Nets Media Day today, he replied that the point guard position was up for grabs, it would be based on whoever earns the position.

Prokhorov going to Nets training camp could be making a tense situation even more tense. Many are speculating that the training camp visit seems to signal that several people may be on the hot seat, including Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King and head coach Lionel Hollins.

Could it also mean that Prokhorov might just want to better understand the various dynamics surrounding the team?




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