The Hooey Factor

The Hooey Factor

By: NBASCOUT / Special to

With a change in principal ownership of the New Jersey Nets in process, the hooey factor has reared its ugly head in real force of late.* It seems that former players that have wanted to stigmatize outgoing ownership and condition incoming ownership are working overtime to get pundits and fellow players alike to take parting shots at outgoing principal owner Bruce Ratner.

Claims that he \”cared more about real estate than basketball,\” that he was \”too cheap to win\” and \”ruined the team\” abound. Let me address each and suggest that Bruce Ratner did more for the New Jersey Nets than any owner ever will.

Firstly, he laid the foundation for lasting success and competitiveness on an elite level by bringing the Nets to a venue – Brooklyn – that would support the team and attract playing or coaching talent that the Meadowlands never did. No less than Hall-of-Fame Coach Phil Jackson intoned that the Meadowlands were too isolated – lacking a fan base and energy source – to support a successful team as the reason he couldn\’t coach there despite the most lucrative offer of his career by far that was tendered to him at one point by the Nets. What does that tell you about the crucial role that \”real estate\” and Ratner\’s move to Brooklyn will play?

In this case, caring about the real estate will take care of the team\’s future. Ratner\’s the only man to engineer such a relocation to a venue that can support basketball on an elite level bringing with it a rabid fan base that is sure to sell out and afford the Nets the best possible stage for success.

Bruce Ratner should go down in history as the man that changed the face of Nets basketball for the better for all time. His ambitious dreams may well culminate in a title-winning perennial contender like the Lakers\’ franchise has been.

Of course, he needs a lot of help from his astute billionaire strategic partner who is no slouch. This guy is no stranger to basketball and winning league titles. The rest is sour grapes by former players and their pundit patrons who wish the worst for the team.

Secondly, claims that Ratner was too cheap don\’t wash. Tracing the decline of the team to the failure to retain Kenyon \”K-Mart\” Martin is absurd.

After making two finals appearances the team was already in decline culminating with the rebuild that is underway now. Jefferson, Carter and an aging Kidd saw to it with no title run again in sight.

K-Mart did New Jersey a huge favor by turning down some odd $70mil (talk about cheap?) to opt for a little more in Denver only to become Knee-Mart – not able to perform to his previous standards in his prime.

If Ratner is so cheap, why with a respectable, average $57million payroll, certainly not the lowest in the league by far, are the Nets not able to enjoy a single victory this season from such highly paid professionals? The Charlotte Bobcats owner has a smaller payroll and the team wins some games.

Is it Ratner\’s fault? Does he collect $57 million to perform on the court and produce nothing except goose eggs! Who ruined the team?

Finally, as I\’ve often said, it\’s not the money you spend, but how wisely, that determines success or failure in the NBA. Isiah Thomas\’ forays into fiscal insanity are proof of it. The Knicks are still digging out. Let that be a lesson to the new-potential-majority owner: \”Mike.\”

It seems that all who are taking parting shots at current Principal Owner Bruce Ratner are forgetting that he will remain a minority owner of the team with a huge stake in its success going forward owing to the real estate it will support.

The NBA can use another team in New York in a brand new billion dollar arena on the largest stage in the NBA. A club with some assets, upside and financial flexibility give the Nets a chance to compete better than one without.

NBASCOUT is an independent freelance sportswriter that covers the NBA and the New Jersey Nets. He is not affiliated with the National Basketball Association. Copyright 2009 by NBASCOUT, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily this website. You may e-mail NBASCOUT in care-of his wife, who writes for children, at

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