The Nets Sign Petro, Go After Morrow, Offer Farmar and Haslem

The Nets Make Some More Moves


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The Nets are still searching for a President and Mikhail Prokhorov reportedly expects to interview candidates for the position next week. Could former Memphis GM Jerry West be in the mix? He would be a good choice for the Presidency.* Former Trailblazers GM Mike Pritchard wouldn\’t be bad as his GM.

The Nets reached agreement with a decent 24 year old, 7-1 backup Center named Johan Petro, formerly of the Nuggets and Sonics. He came over from France originally and his 3yr and $10mil contract makes sense. They also have a 3yr and $12mil offer sheet on the table to RFA Warriors SG Anthony Morrow in another low risk move.

The Nets dumped reasonably priced, young talent with upside in SG/SF Chris Douglas-Roberts and PF Yi Jianlian for basically nothing to make cap room for LeBron. They did get a low second round pick for CDR and end-of-bench defensive presence in veteran G Quinton Ross (whom I like) for Yi, but that hardly will make up for the lost production from the players they moved. Adequate replacements almost always cost more.

I think the Nets might flesh out their remaining roster slots with RFA PG Jordan Farmar (a good backup for Devin Harris) and/or PF/C Connor Atchley (an undrafted rookie that impressed me very much in Summer League who might replace Ryan Anderson as Brook Lopez\’s buddy). I also think that NJ native C Brian Zoubek will be a solid reserve given his training by Duke Coach Mike Kryzewski.

UFA PF Shelden Williams, another Duke product, is also a possibility. I also happen to like big PG Jarrett Jack who Toronto has had available as a change of pace to Devin Harris. Maybe the Nets can take Hedo Turkoglu\’s contract off of Toronto\’s hands for a package of Turkoglu and Jack and some picks from Toronto to make it palatable.

Reliable 30 year old veteran Houston PF Luis Scola is worth bringing aboard depending on what it\’ll take, but the Rockets also have well-rounded rookie PF Patrick Patterson from the draft and may not cling that tightly to Scola. Either one of the aformentioned PFs is okay in my book.

Spending money bringing PF Viktor Khryapa to the Nets might make some sense and would add a continental European flavor that could mix well with what the Nets need. I thought he had potential coming into this league originally and he certainly showed it overseas. If it translates, Khryapa could be a reasonable option for New Jersey.

As for Andrei Kirilenko also known as AK-47? Wait until he is a free agent if you are interested.

PF Emeka Okafor is too risky for what he brings and never seems to live up to expectations. I would look elsewhere. Ditto for Derek Fisher from the Lakers. He never plays anywhere as well after he leaves Kobe.

Former Sixers GM Billy King is reported to be interviewing as a replacement for Rod Thorn. The Nets should look elswhere, unless this is the \”King\” they had in mind to sign.

Update 7.11.10 @ 2:00pm ET:

The Nets priority was a star PF that could play in front of rookie Favors until he is ready to start. Rumor has it that the Nets are preparing a \”big money\” offer for RFA Luis Scola.

Rod Thorn insists he\’s resigining – not retiring – and that he\’d like to take up the challenge of helping another team if it\’s out there. In the meantime, the Nets search for replacements for Mr. Thorn and/or Mr. Vandeweghe continue.

Another priority has been a backup PG when Devin goes down. The position needs to be quality three deep in order for the Nets to weather any downtime.

I think the Nets are better off utilizing the lion\’s share of their room under the cap for the major star quality personnel that can make a difference at key positions rather than only paying top dollar to fill many holes by loading up too much on second or third tier personnel with upside.

It can add up quickly. You\’ll have nice depth, but you\’ll lack sufficient all-Star caliber starting personnel at key positions.

There needs to be a balance between the two, but favoring superior talent. Moreover, your best personnel should come via the draft.

Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Shaq, Kobe and many others came via the draft. Few great players ever change addresses. This year was an exception.

Finally, there are many holes that can be filled adequately with less costly personnel that went undrafted, foreign talent, second rounders that never had a chance to shine and even D-Leaguers that may be hidden gems that have something to prove. Why overpay too much and clog the payroll with too many players that never realized their potential and may not?

Of course, it is okay to speculate on the upside of some players. It works out sometimes.

It is less risky then getting stuck with big contracts on lame players you can\’t move, but too much of it won\’t get you where you want to be.

It is good to consult your coach as to the kind of players he likes, especially, if he has a good eye or sense for talent, but he\’s too busy coaching to be aware of what\’s out there full time and you need personnel types like R.C. Buford, Sam Presti, Mitch Kupchak and others that know talent and correctly evaluate it in order to provide the coaching staff with superior talent whether they want it or not.

Update 7.11.10 @ 8:35pm ET:

The press is reporting that the Nets have offers on the table for both Jordan Farmar (3yr & 12M) and Udonis Haslem (3yr & 20M). Each comes from solid programs and should render quality service to the Nets.

Haslem will be a fine mentor for Favors. Farmar\’s quickness should keep the pressure on opposing teams when Harris is resting or down.

Update 7.12.10 @ 3:01pm ET:

Former Lakers RFA PG Jordan Farmar is in the fold. He agreed to a three year deal for $12mil. More on this later.

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

Prokhorov\’s Reaction

Prokhorov\’s Statement


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov reacted to the decision by LeBron James to choose Miami by issuing the following statement:*

\”We have a vision of a championship team and need to invest wisely and for the long term,\” Prokhorov said. \”Fortunately, we have more than one plan to reach success, and, as I have found in all areas of my business, that is key to achieving it. To Nets fans past, present and future, the goal of making the playoffs this season remains intact and we reiterate our commitment to winning a championship within five years.\”

At the end of the day, I think LeBron James\’ decision hinged on where he felt most comfortable. Mikhail Prokhorov is the \’new kid on the block\’ in the ranks of ownership and, perhaps, LeBron, or his advisors, felt that Prokhorov didn\’t have enough of an established track record in the NBA to warrant moving over to his ball club. Jay-Z and Avery simply weren\’t enough. Pat Riley and the Arison family had a more established track record in management and ownership and that was no doubt a major factor.

The dynamics of the NBA are different than in the Euroleagues where you can buy, pretty much, anything you want. Like the old Wild West, the rules overseas are akin to American basketball sixty years ago.

Currently, the NBA rules \’level the playing field\’ and every owner with sufficient cap space can offer a player essentially the same thing. If you can\’t persuade a player to leave his \’comfort zone\’ by some other factors that differentiate what you have to offer, you won\’t win.

The Miami Heat\’s history, record of ownership and management were more of an attraction to LeBron. The fact that they already had one of the top free agents, Dwayne Wade, in-house, was another.

Miami was able to offer as much if not more than anyone else by using the weather, favorable tax climate and championship experience to their advantage. Bosh was key in this matter as his priorities of weather and other factors were met in South Beach.

Once Bosh leaned openly in the direction of Miami and leaked it to Wade, that started \’the ball in motion\’ for an unprecedented transfer of all the top free agent talent to a single address down in Miami. No doubt it completely alters the balance of power on the NBA landscape.*

Fortunate for the Miami Heat, they played the Summer of Lebron better than anyone else, clearing enough cap space for nearly two maximum contract players, not including Wade, who they already had in tow. That cinched it.

Once the players decided, it is no accident that both Toronto and Cleveland have been cajoled into signing and trading these two players for some consolation first round draft choices as meager compensation that will also enable the players to ink maximum duration (sixth year) contracts. [Who said maximum duration contracts weren\’t a priority to the players?] In essence, it appears, that the players only give up before taxes what the more or less favorable Florida tax climate puts back in their pockets after taxes. $15 million or so over the life of the contracts.

It is now reported that LeBron James and Chris Bosh signed matching six-year, $110.1 million contracts, sources told ESPN The Magazine\’s Ric Bucher.

Dwyane Wade signed for six years and $107.5 million, according to the sources.

Each player supposedly took $15 million less over the life of the contract to sign with Miami, but they have an opt out after the fourth year to all potentially become free agents again in 2014. [Something that also compensates for taking a little less than the exact maximum.]

The Heat sent two future first-round and two second-round picks to the Cavaliers for James, while packaging two first-round picks to the Raptors for Bosh.

For Mikhail Prokhorov this whole experience may be deflating, but it is a good learning experience. He\’s realizing it\’s not easy to come in as the \’new kid on the block\’ and \’take the NBA by storm.\’

Sometimes you have to \’pay your dues\’ to attain success in an endeavor. With more than a few billionaire owners in the league, it is certainly true of the NBA.

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

Five Team Shutout

The Day After


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The following statement was released by Cleveland Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert:*

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his \”decision\” unlike anything ever \”witnessed\” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.*

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don\’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:

\”I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER \’KING\’ WINS ONE\”

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our \”motivation\” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that\’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown \”chosen one\” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And \”who\” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called \”curse\” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former \”King\” will be taking the \”curse\” with him down south. And until he does \”right\” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….

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

LeBron\’s Decision

LeBron James Moves To Miami


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

LeBron James will join forces with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh down in Miami. Pat Riley and the Arison family have hit the trifecta.*

At the end of the day, having one of the big three (Wade) already in house and the cap space to bring aboard the other two made this all possible. Hollywood\’s \’block booking\’ technique for leveraging deals made itself very evident in this arrangement.

A cluster placement will bring maximum reward for agency and client. That\’s what happened within the NBA rules that made this deal possible.

The Nets and the rest of the NBA can now get on with the rest of the business of this offseason. Having the right amount of cap space and other elements in place has proven itself.

The Nets can now focus on using their resources wisely and remaining flexible enough to pull off a trifecta of their own one of these days.

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 Sign Travis Outlaw

The Nets Make Some Moves


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The Nets made a move and signed free agent SF/PF Travis Outlaw to a five year $35mil contract. If fully recovered from his broken foot and motivated by this new contract, the Nets hope to see this hyper-athletic player realize his full potential.*

I\’ve always liked Travis, but expected more from him. If he delivers, the contract will be well worth it. If not, it still won\’t be so bad.

The Nets are also contemplating bringing in RFA PF/SF Tyrus Thomas or RFA PF Luis Scola. Thomas has intrigued me since his college days, but he has to prove to me that he can do it consistently at this level. He\’s either going to make you happy or break your heart, I\’m not sure which.

As for Luis Scola, he is more of a proven veteran … a known commodity from his days in Europe as well. He is no \’spring chicken\’ at the age of 30, but like a vintage wine gives an honest effort that is productive. Barring injury, he should be productive for some time to come.

I think the Nets should also take a hard look at giving free agent PF Shelden Williams recently of the Celtics a chance to prove himself. They may not risk much and the reward could be great.

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

The Summer of LeBron

Reading Between The Tea Leaves


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

There is more intrigue, maneuvering and endless speculation during this offseason than any in recent memory. So many are \’swinging in the wind.\’ The Summer of LeBron is not over yet and I\’m not sure any of the principals to this compelling drama, the top free agents, want it to end any time soon or have truly made up their minds what they are going to do or where they might go if not stay put.*

Now that ESPN has leaked some of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov\’s thinking, which may or may not pan out, the cat is somewhat out of the bag, so let me indulge in a little speculation.

One possibility is that every one of the top three, James, Wade and Bosh, with the exception of Chris Bosh, stays at home. Why? Because it is such a headache to figure out what is better that it\’s easier to stay at home to book that extra year of some $30mil in guaranteed money before the current CBA runs out to make the sweetheart deal of remaining loyal to your home team more palatable.

In the case of 29 year old Dwayne Wade, I think he truly wants to remain at home in Miami. He likes the weather and the marginally more favorable tax climate that puts more dollars in his pocket. Pat Riley is not known to lose a player he really wants. Hence, I think Dwayne wants to tease other teams, but remain at home and attract other big-name talents like Bosh and/or James to join him. Expect him to remain in Miami no matter unless Riley can\’t attract enough good talent to reload and decides to let him go to Chicago or New York.

In the matter of 26 year old Chris Bosh, I think he doesn\’t like the tax climate up in Canada and pines away for a warmer weather climate like is found in his native Texas. The idea of joining Wade down in Miami is appealing. However, it seems his priority is maximum money for an extra year that only comes by way of a trade that would have to be arranged through the Toronto Raptors. As such, he will consider a colder clime like New Jersey or Chicago if it will afford him the money. The opportunity to play alongside another marquee player that\’d bring lucrative endorsements and a winning reputation he could cash in on is a bonus that he\’d prefer as well, but the longest term contract is his priority.

As for 25 year old LeBron James, he is the key. LeBron would like to embellish his star like Michael Jordan had. He wants to be the \’main man\’ bringing any supporting cast on the team he was drafted by, if possible, to championship-after-championship like Michael had. LeBron & Co. wants to brand himself like Jordan & Co. Cleveland\’s owner has retrofitted the team with new management and a coach to LeBron\’s liking. Byron Scott has coached PG Chris Paul who LeBron apparently wants to play with. If Cleveland acquires Paul, that may be enough to keep him at home. If Chris Bosh or other top talent joins him there, that may cinch it for him to remain in Cleveland. It all hinges on whether Cleveland has the assets to make a deal with the Hornets and Raptors to bring over Chris Paul and Chris Bosh or whether LeBron is willing to play alongside any others. Of course, part of this scenario hinges on whether Paul or Bosh want to play in Cleveland, otherwise LeBron might trade Cleveland for New Jersey or Chicago. The only problem with Chicago is that he would be living in Michael Jordan\’s shadow under a rookie coach. Miami has the coach in waiting, but more serious dilution of star power issues. In New Jersey, though, LeBron could be the savior. Taking a 12-70 team to 70-12 would be quite a feat. No downside. Only upside.

6.7.10 Update @ 1:30ET:Latest reports have Bosh joining Wade in Miami with LeBron considering making it a threesome but leaning towards home. Nets will fall back to plans B or C, whatever they may be, but are considering Lee and Boozer.

Boozer has had a lot of downtime during his career due to injury. I would be inclined to look elsewhere.

Nets have enough resources to make mistakes and eventually get things right. I need a vacation now.

6.7.10 Update @ 1:30ET:
Oops! ESPN is reporting that the Nets, Cavs and Bulls are trying to sign Boozer in the hopes they\’ll land LeBron if they do.

If the Nets sign Boozer, I think ownership will will need a lot of booze to live with the results. The Nets should play what they have, keep their powder dry and see what top talent is available next year.

If the Nets can bring over some emerging talent in trade that is sensibly priced, fine. If there are some bargain free agents or Euro talent available to flesh out the roster, so be it.

I don\’t chase stocks if they get away from me. And I won\’t pay up for overpriced talent that could ruin a payroll and force the sale of a team.

I will open my wallet when superior talent wants to join my team. Avery can still win and even if Miami signs Wade, Bosh, LeBron and the D-League, they still may not be able to prevail against the Lakers, Celtics and Orlando.

Flash: Fred Kerber is reporting that the Nets don\’t expect to get LeBron and that \”Should the Nets get shut out among the elite free agents, they will look to fill out the roster with good, lesser profile players. For the three, think Mike Miller, Kyle Korver, Rasual Butler, Richard Jefferson, Matt Barnes. For the four – assuming they get locked out on Boozer or David Lee – think Udonis Haslem, Tyrus Thomas.\”

The players proposed at Small Forward [the three] I wouldn\’t touch. If Lee is pricing himself out of range and Boozer (Another Tim Thomas) wants another big contract he won\’t justify if history repeats, all I would say is go with fresh young talent. Any of the options at SF proposed herein are bad fits for New Jersey. If Tyrus Thomas wants to prove himself, I might give him a chance on sensible terms, but he may disappoint in a big way. Haslem used to be sound and may still be serviceable, but he\’ll want too much. Look Euro, undiscovered, fallen angel or emerging.

To flesh out your roster, Sasha Pavlovic, Shelden Williams and Jordan Farmar are free agents to consider. DeShawn Stevenson and Raymond Felton are others. Caveat Emptor.

P.S., Keep an eye on 6-10 F/C Connor Atchley on your Summer League roster. Maybe you have something there.

The Nets have a good coach. They had good executives and hopefully will get comparable. New ownership has the resources to eventually win big. I need to take a vacation.

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

Summer League Loss

The Nets Summer League Squad Falls To the 76ers, 84-74


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The Nets Summer League squad played their first game this evening down in the Orlando Summer League. The result was a loss to the 76ers squad by ten points, 84-74.*

The Nets were led by G-F Terrance Williams who scored 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting and dished for 7 assists. He was matched by PG Jrue Holiday for the 76ers who put up similar numbers.

It was 18 year old rookie PF Derrick Favors first professional game, but he showed some nice activity on defense and around the boards scoring 8 points, hauling down 9 rebounds and blocking 2 shots in 24 minutes. On this game alone, though, you\’d have to say that he\’s a work in progress with promise.

The other Nets rookie, SF Damion James scored 11 points and hauled down 5 rebounds. The number two pick in the draft, 76ers rookie SF Evan Turner finished with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.

Perhaps, Toronto is interested in cap space, trade exceptions and picks for doing an S&T with Chris Bosh. If a deal of that nature could be made with the Raptors and Bosh is in tow, then maybe that brings the King.

Unnamed sources suggest that LeBron has narrowed it to the Bulls, Cavs and Nets. If so, that is still a one-in-three chance. Tick … Tock … Tick … Tock.

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

Beggars Opera

In The Court of The King


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

They came and they went … Hat in hand. From near and far. Out of the sky and by land. Caravans with jesters and acrobats, bean counters and hypnotists … All begging for a few moments with the King … Proffering lavish gifts if only he would rule their lands. They even showed up in wheelchairs.*

Will this 25 year old royal build his palace in their town? … Or Chi town?

Will he stay loyal to his subjects? … Or cast them adrift on harsh seas to endure the endless pain of losing again? Will he build far flung empires in far off lands? … Or make Cleveland the center of the known world?

Well, if you believe the King James version of each of the visits, they all have a good chance. It now progresses from a beggars soap opera to the theater of the absurd as a decision is now expected some time before Christmas.

It is all in the hands of the agents and their king. Speculation is of no value.

I think at this juncture, I would make contact with LeBron and find out if he wouldn\’t mind playing alongside David Lee? If not, I would sign Lee and wait for the 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

Who Is The Next GM?

GM Search


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The Nets are actively seeking to line up a successor for President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rod Thorn when he steps down. Candidates currently under consideration include Nets Vice President of Basketball Operations Bobby Marks, Thunder GM Sam Presti, Hornets GM Jeff Bower and Pistons President Joe Dumars. The latter two were interviewed Saturday according to reports. *

The successor to Rod Thorn is a critical hire that\’ll go a long way in determining the team\’s future success. It can\’t be a popularity contest nor should the decision be made without careful deliberation.

Whoever steps into that role has to be able to make the hard decisions that\’ll ensure the team\’s success moving forward. Savvy, skill, acumen, contacts and experience all play an important part in who should be selected.

For my money, of those under consideration, I\’m partial to Bobby Marks, Sam Presti or Joe Dumars. I also like Rick Sund. Jeff Bower is an able executive, but I don\’t like everything he did down in New Orleans. Joe Dumars has been one of my long-time favorites. He is very talented, but I was disappointed in what has happened in Detroit of late since the team peaked under Coach Larry Brown bringing home another Larry O\’Brien Trophy. That doesn\’t mean Joe can\’t succeed under the right conditions.

Young Sam Presti has done a very good job in Oklahoma. His Spurs pedigree and view of what it takes to build a lasting winner is very much up there on my list. I like the way he goes about building a winner and it is in line with my kind of thinking.

As for Bobby Marks, I think he deserves enormous consideration. I wouldn\’t object to his hire. An internal promotion shouldn\’t be out of the question. I\’m inclined to feel that he can work out very well. He just lacks the actual experience in the top job, though he\’s probably been very invaluable and instrumental to Mr. Thorn as his right hand so far.

So, what about current Hawks GM Rick Sund? Well, when the GM position came open upon former Nets GM Ed Stefanski\’s departure for Philadelphia, I also tossed into the ring the name of current Hawks GM Rick Sund. I don\’t know that Atlanta would allow him to interview for the Nets job assuming there is any interest on his part, but he is a seasoned hand and someone that I\’ve also admired and respected for his steadiness during the course of the years.

That, of course, brings us to the best candidate: Me! Of course, who needs the gray hair? I\’d rather go into the mining business in Russia, but this about sums up the candidates under discussion.

P.S., If there are two positions open, President and GM, I think you can put someone like Sam Presti in one, Joe Dumars in the other and keep Bobby Marks on in his position with a hefty raise. Of course, the only position I\’ll consider is Special Advisor to Ownership (behind the scenes).

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

Free Agency is Here!

The Courtship of LeBron James


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

As you read this, we are less than an hour into Free Agency and, of course, there is nothing to report. The summer of LeBron is officially underway and the Nets, as reported, will get first crack at meeting with the \”King\” to get him to consider their cause.*

Adding to this overhyped atmosphere of heightened expectations is the real possibility of landing Mr. James. Mr. Prokhorov and his team know what it takes to win.

In this case, the medium is the message. No team has an owner that can do for LeBron what Mikhail Prokhorov can.

You don\’t have to sell the opportunity. It\’s there for the best free agents if they want it.

Mikhail\’s global vision and drive to be the best has to challenge LeBron to want to take it up. In the end, the choice is LeBron\’s.

Mikhail will build a global dynasty in Brooklyn starting in Newark. Does LeBron want to be part of it and is he up to the challenge?

NEWS UPDATE (1:30 E.T.): The meeting came and went. Prokhorov, Jay-Z and the entire Nets entourage arrived in Akron at 11:00am and met for one and a half hours.

Longtime pal Jay-Z stayed behind with LeBron for a little bit. Coach Avery Johnson expressed the sentiment that the meeting \”went well.\” Prokhorov agreed.

Now, while the Nets may be strong candidates still in the thick of things, my feeling is that because of the order of the meetings (Nets first), it initially meant that LeBron\’s managers believe that the Nets are a strong third option, but that Chicago and Cleveland (meeting last) have the slight edge. It remains to be seen whether LeBron is a homebody who is scared of the bright lights of the big city or whether he believes that home is where the heart is.

I can\’t see LeBron living in the shadow of Michael Jordan. Chicago fans will always compare him to Michael if he falls short.

The Nets have had their shot at King James so far and unless I hear strong noise from LeBron in follow any time soon (like by Monday or sooner), I would probably be content to fall back to plan B and see who is ready to join the team now.

\”A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.\” Gay, Lee or others beckon.

(UPDATE 3:12 E.T.) Rudy Gay has agreed to re-up with Memphis for 5 years at the max. The Nets should now consider Bosh (who I think prefers sun belt states) or Lee.

Any package with Dwayne Wade wouldn\’t work because of his age. I\’d rather sign Lee alone than Bosh and Wade.

(3:30 E.T.) Some are reporting that the meeting went extremely well. \”Tremendous\” was one of the adjectives.

If so, then the Nets should stay homed in and hope for the best. They can pair Bosh (if LBJ wants him) or Lee with the King.

(UPDATE 11:11 E.T.) Latest word is that meetings all went well. There is a lot of cautious optimism in Netsland.

According to some, LeBron James was \”blown away\” by the Nets presentation, but would like to see them prepare to clear enough cap space to bring aboard two max players.

With that in mind the Nets have tentative plans to further deplete their power forward depth by moving reserve PF Kris Humphries to another team, if need be, for cap space and some combination of cash and/or picks as required and necessary.

That\’d still leave the Nets about half a million short of where they need to be, but there\’s always Quinton Ross\’ contract (the guy that came from WAS for Yi) to consider for cap room.

My view from here is that all-Star PF David Lee would probably work out better alongside Brook Lopez and LeBron James than Chris Bosh for many reasons (fit, style and willingness to play without the ball among them) but mainly because the Nets already have Derrick Favors (another athletic Chris Bosh-type). However, if bringing Bosh aboard at the max is what it\’ll take to make LeBron come aboard, it\’ll still work out magnificently and be a win-win proposition all the way around.

(UPDATE 7.3.10 @ 9:15 E.T.)Cleveland and then Chicago met with LeBron today. All of LeBron\’s meetings are now in the books.

The Nets obviously made a very compelling case for themselves. LeBron has a lot to think about.

I suspect that only New Jersey, Miami, Chicago and Cleveland are still in the running. Of those teams, LeBron has to weigh the trade offs of going with one versus any other. There is no timetable for his making a decision, but some indications have been that he\’d like to reach a conclusion by Monday, if he can.

The only thing left for the Nets to do now is wait for some word from LeBron\’s camp. In the meantime the Nets coaching staff readies the team for the Orlando Summer League.

Apparently, the Nets feel confident in their pitch that they are going to wait on the results before making any other moves. It\’s entirely possible that if the Nets are passed over by James and/or Bosh, they may opt to see if offensively and reboundingly gifted, but defensively questionable, David Lee might fit on terms that may make sense for both sides or simply wait for next years crop of Al Horford, Carmelo Anthony and Big Baby.

With 18 year-old rookie PF Derrick Favors showing that he may be able to improve offensively and answer the Nets needs at the Power Forward slot during the upcoming season, a rotation of PG Harris, SG Courtney Lee, SF Terrance Williams, PF Derrick Favors and C Brook Lopez doesn\’t begin to sound so bad after all under Coach Avery Johnson\’s wing.

I like the acquisition of undrafted rookies Duke C Brian Zoubek, a New Jersey native, and Tulsa PG Ben Uzoh, both fundamentally sound players. I also like that former Celtics and USC PG Gabe Pruitt is in camp.

Finally, I seem to recall some tape of SF Damion James I saw long ago. He is unique in his toughness and manner in which he takes up space … sort of like … a mini LeBron-lite. He can turn out well, but the Nets probably could have saved a few dollars and taken him at #27 along with another player to round out the roster.

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