Avery Johnson on Nets: ‘We’re not a championship team’

It has been five years since the Nets made the playoffs, but they are in a position to vastly improve heading into the 2012-2013 season. In addition to playing in an exciting new environment in Brooklyn, the Nets managed to bring back their important pieces from last year in Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries. They also acquired Joe Johnson in a blockbuster deal with the Hawks.

While almost everyone would be shocked if the Nets can’t improve upon their .333 winning percentage from last season, head coach Avery Johnson did his best to curb expectations earlier this week.

“Deron was a big key to the whole puzzle,” Johnson said according to the Dallas Morning News. “To be able to acquire some other talent through free agency or trades or re-signing some of our own guys, it’s pretty exciting for us. We’re not there yet. We’re not a championship team. We got a lot of work to do. But at the same time, we have a much better talent pool than we’ve had the last two years.

“We’re much more versatile than we’ve ever been. Right now, we look good on paper. Now we got to take it from looking good on paper and apply the work to go (forward).”

Joe Johnson doesn’t instantly take you from bottom-dweller to championship contender. Adding Dwight Howard in addition to the former Hawks star would have helped, but the Nets were unable to pull that off. Personally, I like what Avery’s doing here. We blast coaches for setting expectations too high and calling their teams championship ready, so we can’t fault him for this. Between a new city and a new venue that Mikhail Prokhorov says he will make a surprise appearance at, the Nets don’t need their head coach building any additional anticipation for the upcoming season.

Chest bump to Ball Don’t Lie

NBA reportedly didn’t like Nets’ black jerseys because African-Americans don’t look good on TV in black

The New York Times has a feature on Jay-Z’s involvement as a minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets, but there’s one particular nugget from the story that is more noteworthy than the others.

While depicting some areas where the rapper/businessman has impacted the franchise, reporter David M. Halbfinger slips in this controversial detail:

[Jay-Z] helped design the team logos and choose the team’s stark black-and-white color scheme, and personally appealed to National Basketball Association officials to drop their objections to it (the N.B.A., according to a person with knowledge of the discussion, thought that African-American athletes did not look good on TV in black, an assertion that a league spokesman adamantly denied).

It’s no wonder why the NBA would deny such a charge. I also don’t think a reputable publication like the New York Times would allow such a controversial anecdote to be printed unless it were well sourced.

The NBA is extraordinarily business-conscious, so they obviously care about how their product looks on TV. I wouldn’t ever expect them to confirm the story, but it’s interesting that it’s out there.

I actually think the Nets’ new logos and color scheme look excellent and am glad it was approved.

H/T I am a GM

Joe Johnson: Nets are best team in New York

The Brooklyn Nets have been in existence for all of a whopping two and a half months, but that’s all it took for them to declare dominance in the state.

“Definitely Nets,” new acquisition Joe Johnson said when asked which basketball team was the best in New York, according to the New York Daily News. “Brooklyn Nets.”

Johnson was set up by the question and was speaking at a pep rally, so his answer was predictable. At least he didn’t get as boastful as the Miami Heat during their “Three Kings” intro party (not one, not two, not three …). And at least Johnson didn’t get as carried away as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who really brought out the comparative crap talking.

“For nearly 40 years the Manhattan Knicks have shown they can’t bring a championship to New York, so it’s going to take the Brooklyn Nets to get the job done,” Markowitz said. “So move over Manhattan — enough air balls. You had your chance.”

That’s about as strong of a burn as the one from the New Jersey governor who went off on the Nets for leaving the state.

The Knicks made a few moves including signing Jason Kidd and acquiring Marcus Camby, so they should be a playoff team again. The Nets are a better team on paper and should finish with a better record, but I’d be surprised if either team advanced past the second round of the playoffs. Still, it will be fun to watch the teams trade zingers over the years, with the New York tabloids providing a play-by-play and hyping up every angle.

Deron Williams chooses Brooklyn Nets

The Mavericks reportedly were worried that Deron Williams was leaning toward re-signing with the Nets, and they apparently had a good reason.

Williams tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that he has chosen the Nets, calling it a “very tough decision.” He linked to an image of the new Brooklyn Nets logo in his tweet:

Williams is likely to sign for five years and $100 million and will remain the franchise player for the Nets. Brooklyn has also agreed to sign Gerald Wallace to a 4-year $40 million deal, and they’ve agreed to acquire Joe Johnson in a trade. The next step is to work out a deal with Orlando for Dwight Howard. Without him, they’re just a good team in the East, but not a real title contender. With Howard, they can compete with the Heat.

We should also recognize the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy for saying that Williams was leaning toward re-signing with the Nets on May 1. I guess this is the reason why Williams was so critical of the report saying he wasn’t going to stay with the Nets.

Nets could still trade for Dwight Howard even after acquiring Joe Johnson

“What the heck are the Nets thinking?” was the reaction from most people when they heard the Nets agreed to acquire Joe Johnson on Monday. Johnson signed a 6-year $119 million contract extension with the Hawks in 2010 and still has four years and about $89 million left on his deal. The 31-year-old still put up strong numbers for the Hawks last season, but his minutes have been down the past two years and he’s not a franchise player despite making max money.

So if the Nets were planning to offer max money to try and retain free agent Deron Williams, if they owe Gerald Wallace $10 million per season, and if they now owe Joe Johnson max money, how would they be able to afford to sign Dwight Howard to a maximum contract when he becomes a free agent next summer? They can’t, and that’s why many people felt the Nets were foolish to agree to the trade.

But fear not, Nets fans: the team can still make a trade for Dwight Howard.

Sheridan Hoops outlined a scenario in which the Nets could trade several players to the Magic for Dwight Howard. Chris Sheridan says the Nets could offer the Magic a package of Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks and multiple future first-round draft picks for Howard in what would be a sign-and-trade deal.

Howard reportedly has made it clear to Orlando that he wants out, and he’s also made it clear that the only team he’ll sign an extension with is the Nets. That takes away a lot of leverage for the Magic; why would a team give up a lot for Dwight if they’re only going to have him for one season? That would be a pretty foolish gamble for a team other than the Nets to take.

If Orlando eventually decides to trade Dwight Howard — which is likely — the best package they might be offered could come from Brooklyn. If Billy King can pull all this off for the Nets, then you’d have to put him in the same category of front office miracle worker as Pat Riley.

Photo credit: Jim O’Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Brooklyn Nets gear has hit store shelves (Photos)

On Wednesday we shared with you what’s assumed to be the new logo of the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets. Now, as Uni Watch’s Paul Lukas shares on Twitter, merchandise integrating variations of that logo are already hitting shelves. The photo above and photos below are from a shop in Manhattan. So much for the Nets waiting for their big unveiling next week.

And if you were expecting some threads that will absolutely blow your mind, you probably should look elsewhere (the Magic, perhaps?). Nothing fancy about any of this stuff.

We see the same understated style of lettering and design from the leaked logo (however, nothing with the word “Nets,” interestingly enough). The secondary logos with the “B” feature prominently and are fairly plain. But in no way is that a knock. We enjoy the simple yet sleek new look. (We do wonder if Al Davis would take legal issue with that shield emblem if he were still alive.)

Also noticeable is the abundance of black being used. This is what happens when the guy who made “The Black Album” played a part in the redesign.

Here are more photos of the new Nets swag:

[Read more...]

Is this the new Brooklyn Nets logo? (Photo)

A trip to the New Jersey Nets’ website will have you greeted by a rather cryptic message. It’s a shield outlined in white that sits in the center of a black background and is accompanied by the hashtag “#hellobrooklyn.” Apparently this is a tease of the Nets’ new logo and color scheme. We’ll find out soon enough. The team’s name change becomes official next week and the Nets are planning an official unveiling of their new look for Monday.

But on Wednesday a soon-to-be-fired (probably) IT technician at Barclays Center seems to have beaten the Nets to the punch, tweeting out the photo you see above (the employee’s account has since been deleted). You’re looking at plausibly the new logo of your Brooklyn Nets. It’s in line with what the franchise has been teasing. Well, aside from the blue construction tape.

The Nets, of course, are still remaining mum. Here’s CEO Brett Yormark:

The alleged new look adopts elements of Nets’ current logo, such as featuring the word “Nets” atop a basketball, both enclosed by a shield. But the franchise is evidently departing from the red, white and blue color scheme it’s had since its days as the Americans in the ABA.

Back in September it was reported that part-owner and rap superduperstar Jay-Z would have a hand in the redesign. And while I would have enjoyed a modern update of the New York Nets’ jerseys from the time of Dr. J, I like the job Mr. Z has done. Simple yet stylish. Nothing cartoonish like the current look. Chris Christie probably hates it.

H/T Deadspin