Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A "Thorn" in Who's Side?

I originally thought one of the reasons Rod Thorn might have resigned his post as GM of the NETS had something to do with a new philosophy imported by the new-sheriff-in-town-owner; Mikhail Prokhorov.

After all, he, Mikhail, immediately took the position of front man at the Draft Lottery professing very lofty ambitions for his new team on TV while there.  He then followed that up with a giant advertisement a few blocks from Madison Square Garden (which by the way I thought was brilliant!).  He came on board with a bold new Mission Statement.

The fact Brett Yormark turned out to be Thorn's phantom menace is quite a revelation to me.  I never saw that coming.

Read Peter Vecsey's Column from the October 2nd edition of the NY Post to get a better insight into the friction between Brett Yormark and Rod Thorn.

I remember writing how it was that I could be excited about a seven win team.  I felt strongly Rod Thorn was in the process of what needed to be done, which was rebuilding the team and finally separating itself from the Jason Kidd era and all remnants of it.  The Nets were/are well on their way towards that end with a good young core drafted by Rod Thorn.  The least of my concerns was the fact they are coming off a seven win season.  As a believer in the notion a Fish Rots from the Head, I was very secure with the Nets Front Office situation, and therefore, the team as a whole.  They're a young talented group led by Lopez, who now have Avery Johnson as a coach.  The Nets have cap space and manage it well.  With a passionate owner I thought it was all coming together with time.  I thought from the top down, the Nets organization had one of the strongest situations in the NBA and I still consider them a major team of the future once they are re-branded under the Brooklyn name.

So, let's skip over Bruce Ratner for now, who initially did more harm than good when he dropped the ball with Kenyon Martin.  But he is after all the reason why I care.  He's bringing them to Brooklyn.  Let's be straight about that before I digress.  Let's move on. 

Mikhail Prokhorov was the new billionaire owner who is passionate about basketball, who has a vision for his team and a drive to see it become successful (We don't know that for sure yet.  It's what we want to believe.  Based on what Mikhail is telling us, why not dream; right?).  I thought maybe he was coming in and refitting his organization's structure to suit his style which is his right as the new owner.

Brett Yormark is the team's CEO.  I've heard him on the radio more than any other team's top executive around here.  Of course that may have been natural at the time because of all the hoopla surrounding the initial sale of the team and the subsequent ground-breaking in Brooklyn.  Mikhail's emergence on the scene gave the Nets CEO more reason to play front man while additionally championing the Nets move out of the IZOD Center as they finish out their days in New Jersey playing in Newark.  In that time he's done nothing to give me the impression he doesn't have his act together.  That said, Rod Thorn's departure truly surprised me (at the time, that is). And I thought naturally it might have something to do with Mr. Prokhorov.

The two battled with philosophical differences.  The fact it struck us all as a surprise should still speak well of their professionalism and their ability to keep it in-house; no?

Apparently, one of the points of contention was over the next coaching selection after Mr. Frank was let go.
The CEO wanted John Calipari; The GM wanted Avery Johnson.  Obviously we know who won that battle.
Avery Johnson was named coach.  I think it's a very good hire by the way.  At least he believes in playing defense unlike another coach around these parts.  We took a step forward hiring Avery but we took two steps back losing Rod Thorn.

He rebuilt the New Jersey Nets into the team that made back-to-back Finals appearances.  He's one of the most respected executives in all the NBA.  I could gloat about him for a longer while, but at this point it would be an exercise in futility.  I'm just sorry he is now in Philadelphia and not still with us.

Philadelphia ~All we did in effect was trade executives.  The 76'ers get Rod Thorn, we get Billy King; their former GM.  I'm sorry; we did not get the better of that deal and perhaps Brett Yormark should have this noted on his personal file.  It's not like we can give him a demerit.

Brett Yormark and Rod Thorn traded barbs in the papers recently.  The Nets CEO tried making a mockery of the seven win season Mr. Thorn engineered last season along with a few other points of contention he voiced in recent comments.  Obviously what ever problem the two had between them, it became personal.

The NETS lost a good GM.  There is no way getting around that.  They did not land LeBron James and it appears as if Carmelo Anthony in a Nets uniform has lost it's flicker also.  They have a good coach though.  And there's your state of the Nets.

The hiring of new GM of the Nets; Billy King,  tempered the momentum I've been building for the Nets, as this team gets closer to it's move to Brooklyn, more than any other development since Bruce Ratner purchased the team.

So in my "Un-Official" list of Key Moments in "Brooklyn Nets History" this places in the top five:

1) Bruce Ratner purchases team; announces move to Brooklyn.
2) Nets lose Kenyon Martin
3) Mikhail Prokhorov buys into and assumes majority ownership.
4) Ground Breaking on Atlantic Yards makes things a little more real for me to believe.
4) Rod Thorn resigns as team's GM/Billy King new Nets GM

...Just sayin'


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