Monday, October 27, 2014

Brooklyn Nets: Winds Of Change Keep Blowing Down Flatbush

From the desk of:  THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH


BROOKLYN NETS: Year Three Poised To Be Team's Most Uncertain Yet.

I smell a rat, but for as long as Bruce Ratner completes Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park (like he promised the people of Brooklyn), the phone call for Pest Control will remain on hold.

THAT is the top story if this upcoming season set to commence this Wednesday - not the team.

Ratner, a native Brooklynite, endured ten long years of litigation, ultimately bought the Nets, built Barclays Center, and moved the team to Kings County.

Of course, we knew that was only (a hook) part of his more grandiose plans for developing the LIRR yards along Flatbush Ave./Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street.   Locally, the contentious way Ratner went about securing the property for his proposed Atlantic Yards (through city backed eminent domain) was the main issue of protest.

Fast forward to 2010 - The NBA ratified Ratner's sale of majority stake in the Nets to Mikhail Prokhorov, as well as 45% interest in Barclays Center.

Fast forward again: the first residential complex after Barclays Center finally got started at the corner of Flatbush and Dean Street, and, and..., now Bruce Ratner again wants to sell his remaining stake in Barclays Center.

All I know, is that he has a lot more building to do.  I don't care if the development is ultimately named Atlantic Yards or Pacific Park.  Just get it done.

And what of the majority Nets owner?  It turns out Mikhail Prokhorov isn't such a sure thing either.   The Russian billionaire owns 80% of the Nets.  Apparently, a portion of his stake has been under negotiation, although he would maintain controlling interest of the team.

Yes, the team....

We last left them post Game 5 elimination from the Eastern Conference semi's against the Heat.

Since then, Andray Blatche ran off to play in China, former coach Jason Kidd exiled himself to Milwaukee, and Paul "The Truth" Pierce denounced Brooklyn on his way to D.C.

Thanks for the memories guys.

Now for the recurring nightmare:

First and foremost, the Brooklyn Nets suffer Ankle Anxiety.  This occurs when the team's point guard and top paid player (Deron Williams), and the team's top scorer (Brook Lopez), continually miss games, or play ineffectively due to recurring ankle/foot injuries.

Let's speak truth; to date Deron Williams has not been the elite franchise player the Nets anticipated. And while already burdened with carrying the weight of the organization, he must now attempt to do so on two surgically repaired ankles.

Brook Lopez' situation is even more distressing.  He missed nearly all of 2 of the last 3 seasons with recurring foot injuries.  More so than even Deron Williams, Brook's presence on the court, or absence, factors most in Nets success, or lack thereof.  He also effectively dictates what style of play the Nets utilize.

Brook Lopez' status for Wednesday's season opener in Boston is now questionable.  Coach Hollins says he'll play.  Nevertheless, the Nets open the 2014-15 campaign with front court issues.

Leading the Nets will be new head coach Lionel Hollins.  He took over for Jason Kidd, who was by far Billy King's most curious venture, as Kidd turned on King by biting the hand that fed him his first NBA job.

Billy King will be hard pressed to live that down if his club falters badly this season.  Every GM is entitled to one pet project - much less two.  Lionel Hollins isn't exactly a slam dunk.  Billy King gave him a 4-year contract based primarily on his work for the Grizzlies and to a much lesser extent, his work with the Bucks.  That's not an overwhelming resume.

One must also keep in mind that Kidd took over for P.J. Carlesimo, who took over for Avery Johnson, meaning Billy King and the Nets have yet to begin their 3rd season in Brooklyn, but are now on their 4th head coach.

After last season's gross expenditure, and 2nd round elimination, I think it safe to say Billy King begins the season on the hot seat.

Now the conversation about the 2014-2015 Brooklyn Nets can start.


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