Author Archives: nbascout

Brook Hurt: Nets Acquire DeShawn & Mehmet

Lopez Breaks Foot: Stevenson & Okur Brought In


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com


Brook Lopez broke his foot in the first half of the last preseason game and will be out two to four months. In the meantime, UFA SG DeShawn Stevenson signed a one year $2.5mil contract with the Nets according to reports. He\’s a good acquisition for the team.*

If the Nets season is adversely affected due to Lopez going down because an adequate replacement can\’t be found, then they, like the Lakers with Kobe being hurt, will likely have more valuable draft picks to offer the Magic in exchange for Howard.

UPDATE 12.23.11: Nets acquired former Center Mehmet \”Memo\” Okur from the Utah Jazz for a 2nd round draft pick and some cap relief to fill the hole that was created when Brook Lopez went down. This is a good acquisition.

PG Deron Williams has meshed very well with Okur in the past on the Jazz and familiarity with Humphries (who also played with the Jazz) is a big plus. It will give the Nets a head start on a season that looked less certain when C Brook Lopez went down.

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 2011 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author.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 kathyforkids@cs.com

Here We Go Again

Howard Talks Off


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

They\’ve ended. The Dwight Howard talks are no more according to reports.

Whether it\’s because the Magic have decided to take their chances on retaining their franchise center come this offseason or that they will wait for a more opportune moment to move him is anyone\’s guess.

If reports are indeed accurate, Dwight has now warned the Magic that they will lose him for nothing like they did Shaq if they don\’t trade him by the March 15 deadline. This runs counter to the report that he might stay if things change.

If Dwight wants to play with Deron, he can tell the Magic to trade him to the Nets so he can play with Deron by Christmas or lose him for nothing like Shaq. He can even sit out if he wants to get his way.*

Perhaps, the best course for the Nets is to preserve their assets to acquire elite talent in free agency like Miami had. Dwight would probably be more attracted to the Nets with a robust rather than depleted roster.

As in the Lebronathon or Melo-stakes, the D-12 wheel-of-fortune discussions have abruptly ended for the time being. I guess the only thing left for the Nets to do is exercise their amnesty rights on SF Travis Outlaw\’s contract if they wish to do so in order to have more cap room available for Dwight in free agency this summer.

It now looks like the Nets will fall back to a plan B or C or maybe D which includes preserving cap space for another run at Howard whether in the offseason or at the trade deadline. It means that they\’ll sign some reliable, serviceable and familiar talent like PF Kris Humphries, SF Andrei Kirilenko and/or SF/SG Shawne Williams in order to flesh out the roster. They will likely be offered oversized one-year jumbo contracts in lieu of multiyear deals in order to preserve their cap room flexibility for making another run at elite talent.

This is a sensible move that could leave them with a better roster if they win someone like Howard in free agency. It gives them a better chance at superior talent.

As I said: 98% of things rumored never materialize. Wake me up when a deal is done … ho hum …!

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 2011 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 kathyforkids@cs.com

Carmelo Anthony

Beggars Opera Redux


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

If the Summer of LeBron wasn\’t enough, the spectacle of new Nets Principal Owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, chasing Carmelo Anthony was. In what rational industry, except Hollywierd, are star performers chased?*

Of course Hollywood turns out its own string of flops too even with starring casts? Financial disaster often follows.

It is a credit to Mikhail that he finally came to his senses and pulled the plug on Melo talk? It was going nowhere but into an astronomical black hole.

The worst part was seeing an accomplished, refined business man, like Mikhail, reduced to begging and reaching ever higher and higher for a brass ring to land a prize he could never attain without Anthony\’s formal desire to join the Nets and the Nuggets willingness to set a firm price for his services that wasn\’t merely leverage they were using for some other deal with say, the Knicks, for example.

Acquiring star talent is a tricky business and at almost any price is a bad way to handle a team. If some thought that DeMarcus Cousins was high maintenance, what do they now think of Carmelo?

The Nets have so many assets that if used wisely they can grow their own stars rather than try to buy instant success while mortgaging their future. Sure, Anthony is a prolific scorer and would look nice in a Nets uniform.

BUT, if he wants to join the Nets, he can do so in free agency where I am sure that Mikhail will be very generous about bringing him aboard. At the same time, if he wants to go elsewhere, like to Madison Square Garden, Mr. Prokhorov has no control over this and is best served to build on what he has while keeping an eye out for other superior talents who may actually want to join his team in earnest.

Of course, if they do, they would be joining a much stronger team than the one Anthony would join if Denver had its way. So, who is the big loser here? A: Denver!

Denver will likely get no more than Cleveland had for LeBron. On February 23, a day before the trade deadline, Denver will come begging at Mr. Prokhorov\’s door for some kind of offer that would possibly salvage their future and save face for their management. Without Anthony\’s desire to hook up long-term with Jersey, that won\’t happen either.

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 2011 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 kathyforkids@cs.com

LO & BEHOLD!

NBA Season Gets Underway Christmas Day!!?


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

Lo & behold! There may be NBA basketball comin\’ our way!

After 15 hours of intensive negotiations, the parties to the NBA impasse came together long enough in a Manhattan law office to reach a framework understanding, if only tentative, to put on a shortened 66-game season starting December 25. There is still much to be worked out, but if the deal holds, we will be watching our favorite NBA stars play on Christmas day!*

The details aren\’t as important as the fact that an understanding was reached that would allow the games to go on. When the lawyers were brought in, with legal actions pending against both sides, did each take serious the need to reach agreement for the sake of the game.

After all, who wanted to watch mega-millionaires and billionaires wrestle over how to share $4bil when the average man was figuring out how to stay afloat? As a bystander to the \’sumo match\’ that led to this impasse, my sympathies were with the average fan that \’breaks his back\’ to put a roof over his head & food on the table while shelling out \’big bucks\’ to take in only a few games a year that he can barely afford to entertain his family with each season!

What is important now is what the Nets do in free agency or otherwise to shore up the team in time for their farewell to Jersey and debut in Brooklyn! If they can\’t acquire the services of Dwight Howard, perhaps, Tyson Chandler will be a defensive complement to Brook Lopez? In any case, the Nets must invest wisely in quality and opt for the best. In this manner, the season may turn out better than last! In the meantime, it looks like Santa came early for the NBA! The Grinch could be out in the cold!!?

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 2011 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 kathyforkids@cs.com

Offseason moves

Free Agency


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

In the matter of free agency and related transactions, the Nets ought focus on big men first (there are fewer around) and then consider others. The Nets should also stay away from riskier players that have had serious issues whether physical or healthwise. *

Not only did former President and GM Rod Thorn shy away from players that wouldn\’t pass a physical for knee issues (such as Shareef Abdur Rahim), but he passed on heart issues (Tractor Traylor) as well. If you invest in such players, caveat emptor.

Many names have been tossed about. Some are worthy of consideration. If Dwight Howard wants in, maybe the Magic will make a deal. Once again, though, the Nets can\’t afford to wait ala LBJ or Carmelo while other fine prospects are lost.

Remember, if you sign good players outright, you are adding assets. You can always eventually trade up if someone to your liking is not available now.

In the matter of bigs, Howard and Chandler stand out. Of course, Tim Duncan, DeAndre Jordan, Glen Davis and others are on the market as well.

Finally, whatever you do, try to avoid big mistakes. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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 2011 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 kathyforkids@cs.com

What\’s Wrong With A Euro Big Man With Skills?

The Power Forward Dilemma


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

If last season\’s title run by the Dallas Mavericks proved anything, it is that you can surround one superstar with a strong supporting cast and still beat a team with three superstars, two arguably the best to ever play their positions.

What it means for New Jersey is that you can win with less if you know how to make it more. Put another way, the sum of the whole can be bigger than the sum of the parts.*

Everybody in the NBA is looking to create the best \”Big Three\” collection of superstars to win a title. Dallas had the best overall talent evenly distributed and one great superstar: Dirk Nowitzki.

Dallas\’ Coach, Rick Carlyle, also outcoached his opposition when it boiled right down to it, but the \”Big Two\” prevailed: Nowitizki & Co. It was a title series for the ages.

Now it seems that the Nets have been searching for a Power Forward replacement ever since they let Kenyon \”K-Mart\” Martin abscond to Denver in free agency. Now, granted, he was a great part of the Nets that made it to the finals and brought a certain swagger with him, but it was fortunate for the Nets that they let him depart before his knees eventually gave out.

That said, I\’ve often wondered if the Nets were punished for letting him go? Since, they\’ve not been able to put an all-Star PF at the 4.

If the Nets can pair up Brook Lopez (or Dwight Howard should it come to that) with a star PF via the draft, in-trade or else wise, then it will mark the first time they\’ve done that since K-Mart left.

These players are out there. Some are vintage veterans, some are emerging young players and others are all-Stars already or waiting to be drafted. All the Nets have to do is acquire one, sooner or later.

PF Kris Humphries is a solid double-double machine (nothing to sneeze at), but he isn\’t an all-Star yet. If he could extend his range like David Lee, maybe he has a chance, but the Nets need a Tim Duncan or Dirk Nowitzki type to pair alongside Brook (or Dwight) as the case may be!

If the Nets don\’t find one soon enough in order to keep Deron around, then I will suggest they put Owner/PF/C Mikhail Prokhorov at the position.

I know they\’ll get an honest effort. No one wants to win more and, of course, the wing positions will take care of themselves.

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 2011 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 kathyforkids@cs.com

Where To Go From Here Pt 2

Mulling Moves


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

As the Nets moved from the Jason Kidd era to the Deron Williams, they were a little slow in moving an aging Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson-post ankle surgery.

While the Nets got value for each, they got the most for Jason Kidd. Vince Carter yielded swingman Courtney Lee, but they had to part with Brook Lopez\’s buddy PF Ryan Anderson. *

I would rather have made that trade without swapping Ryan Anderson for Courtney Lee. The Nets needed 4s. Similarly, I would not have been so quick to dump PF Yi Jianlian after swapping SF Richard Jefferson for him, though I understand the motivation for the transaction.

Also, when Miami wanted to trade SF Michael Beasley to the Nets, I was very tempted to take that trade and find another way to free up cap space if there was realistically any chance to acquire the services of LeBron James.

While the Nets were focused on the bluest of blue chips, other emerging players were being overlooked that were snapped up while the \’wait\’ was on.

One example was SF Rudy Gay. The other was PF David Lee. David could spread the floor and complement Brook in so many ways.

Another example is that while the Nets were waiting on Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic were busy signing Glen \”Big Baby\” Davis at the behest of Dwight. That could keep Dwight in Orlando.

The Nets could have drafted (or signed in free agency) this unique player, Glen Davis, instead of PF Sean Williams (a marvelously gifted athlete with issues) who is no longer in the league. [Incidentally, since Billy King likes to stock the roster with the \”Williams\” surname – not a bad idea – perhaps he\’d consider bringing Sean back from Israel and Marcus back from Russia?]

All told, however, you have to seize your opportunities. If Dwight wants to play for the Nets, he will, but it\’s complicated. Make the easier, lower-risk deals first while waiting for the tougher ones to materialize.

The Nets should also take note that former SF Richard Jefferson routinely outplayed SF Andrei Kirilenko, but AK-47 is familiar to Deron. I\’d rather have SF Michael Beasley right now than either player, but the Nets lost the opportunity to pick up this highly drafted distressed asset when Miami was clearing space for the LBJ, Bosh and Wade coup.

I haven\’t seen former Net SF Boki Nachbar of late, but his game reminds me of AK-47s. He never got a chance to play the 3 as he can, but played very well all around. I like his toughness. He can be one of the shooters surrounding Deron.

Finally, there are many choices out there. You have to seize your opportunities. I\’m glad Billy acquired Deron.

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 2011 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 kathyforkids@cs.com

Deron Williams

Saving Face: Deron for Devin


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The Nets finally pulled a page out of former President Rod Thorn\’s playbook and managed to snatch a measure of victory from the agony of defeat in the aftermath of the Melo-Drama (not to mention the LeBron-athon) while pulling off a transaction out of the blue for arguably one of the best point guards in the league in Deron Williams.*

The Nets essentially gave up two of their best first round draft picks – their own (in 2011) and the Golden State Warriors\’ (in 2012) – along with former (and possibly future) All-Star PG Devin Harris (who wasn\’t working out in NJ) and 19 year old wunderkind PF Derrick Favors (taken 3rd last June) among other things to make the deal work. The deal works if Deron stays beyond the expiry of his current contract.

It is, perhaps, only an incremental move in the immediate sense, but a hugely significant longer-term improvement to the team that promises to lay a cornerstone for a championship run if it keeps up. It is a credit to Mikhail and the Nets braintrust that they had the sense to keep an eye on Deron.

Persistence pays off and Deron wanted the opportunity others passed on.
Unfortunately, the losing may continue a while longer until Brook and Deron become more acclimated to one another. The Nets may also need to put another piece beside them.

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 2011 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 kathyforkids@cs.com

New GM In The Fold

Nets Get Their \”King\”


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

After a long search, 44 year-old former 76ers executive Billy King has been named to the post of General Manager of the New Jersey Nets.* An official introduction is pending.

One of the key factors driving the hire was the fact that the new GM is a good fit with new Coach Avery Johnson. Avery approved the hire with considerable weight given to his opinion.

Outgoing President and General Manager Rod Thorn will go through the motions as he steps down on Friday according to reports. Vice President Bobby Marks will continue as the GM\’s right hand with some form of a promotion.

My hunch that Mr. King would be the Nets GM led to my selection of his picture on my previous feature entitled \”New Prez/GM on Way?\” Billy is a \”class act\” on many levels and his professionalism and communication skills should serve him well as he seeks to embellish his resume in a second tour of duty running a basketball team.

Mikhail Prokhorov said as much in announcing his selection. Ironically, former Nets GM Ed Stefanski was hired by the 76ers to replace Mr. King and now the King comes to New Jersey.

Mr. Prokhorov, Rod Thorn, Avery Johnson and Bobby Marks all participated in making this hire according to reports. Citing the fact that he also wanted someone that was \”ambitious,\” perhaps Mr. Prokhorov felt that the Nets needed \’younger blood\’ in this critical position to boost the team\’s fortunes.

For his part, 69 year-old outgoing President and General Manager Rod Thorn has been nothing but spectacular during his tenure and it is hoped that he finds his next challenge soon as he is not one content to retire. He will be an asset to any organization. After losing both of his parents in what can only be called one of the most difficult years of his career, it was time for a change.

King joined the 76ers in 1997 and spent a total of 10 years with the team. He was elevated to the General Managership within a year and became President in 2003-2007.

The 76ers team under Billy King appeared in five consecutive playoffs (1999-2003). They also earned a Division Title and Conference Championship in 2000-01 enroute to the 2001 NBA Finals posting a 56-26 regular season mark.

Mr. King has many other distinguished credentials to his name, but serving as an Assistant Coach for the Indiana Pacers under Larry Brown is most significant for me. He learned that the game has to played the \”right way.\”

Since future Hall-of-Fame Coach Larry Brown mentored future Hall-of-Fame Coach Greg Popovich who in turn mentored Avery Johnson, I think that a nice philosophical convergence exists. This is the fit that has me excited about the future of the Nets.

The \”King\” didn\’t arrive in New Jersey. The Nets got the real King.

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 2010 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 kathyforkids@cs.com

Nets Close Out Preseason With Loss

Season Set To Begin


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The Nets closed out their preseason with a 107-92 loss to the Celtics. They have a week off before hosting the Detroit Pistons in their opener, next Wednesday.

The Nets stand to win somewhere between 30 and 50 games or so depending on player development and barring serious injury. This does not take into account any major personnel moves that may be in the offing now or as the season unfolds.*

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 2010 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 kathyforkids@cs.com