The Nets are a total disaster – and John Calipari would be crazy to join
The Brooklyn Nets are making major moves, but don’t take that to mean they are changing directions. On Sunday, in the midst of one of the worst seasons in franchise history, head coach Lionel Hollins and “re-assigned” general manager Billy King. Any hopes among Nets fans that these personnel moves signaled a change in team philosophy dissipated when owner Mikhail Prokhorov the following day.
“I’m sure next season, we’ll be, I hope, a championship contender,” Prokhorov said. “Frankly speaking, I deserve a championship now much more than six years ago.”
It’s hard to imagine that a single word of those statements is true considering the Nets are mired in the midst of a 10-28 season and are showing very few signs of potential improvement. They can’t even capitalize on their terrible season giving them better odds in this year’s NBA draft. Thanks to the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett trade, the Boston Celtics own the Nets’ current first-round draft pick, along with their 2018 draft pick and the option to swap picks in 2017. It’s likely Brooklyn won’t have a first-round draft pick of their own .
That lopsided trade alone was probably enough to justify letting King go: it was obvious at the time that the Nets were giving up way too much for two players who were already working on their post-retirement plans. King, who certainly deserves his share of blame for the current disaster in Brooklyn, wasn’t working on his own. He was trying to satisfy for an instant championship.
Under Prokhorov, the Nets gave up on a potential future for a present that was never meant to be. When he bought the team he made it very clear that he envisioned winning a championship within the team’s first five years. At the same time, he wanted star power to draw people into Barclays Center following the team’s relocation from New Jersey to Brooklyn. When the Nets couldn’t acquire true star players, his mandate meant that the team ended up spending superstar money on second-tier big names like Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and the diminished 2013 versions of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
The Nets’ instinct to acquire talent based primarily on name recognition even extended to their coaching staff. Before Hollins, the Nets were selling their fans on Jason Kidd, only just retired as a player, as the team’s head coach. The experiment ended in disaster, as Kidd bolted for the Milwaukee Bucks after only a year in Brooklyn.
With Kidd’s replacement now gone, it looks like the Nets are attempting to make another newsworthy coaching hire. Reportedly, Prokhorov is going after . While this would keep the Nets in the headlines for sure, it doesn’t seem like it makes much sense for Brooklyn to hire a coach who hasn’t proven himself at the NBA level and is asking for something in the neighborhood of $120m over 10 years.
Calipari has publicly denied that he has interest in the job and, assuming he’s telling the truth, could you blame him? Why would leave his cushy gig at Kentucky to work for an organization with a bleak future and an owner who believes that if he pours enough money down the drain, a championship-caliber team will somehow magically appear.
Video of the week
The craziest thing about Steph Curry’s impossible assist here is that it looks like a prepared play. The Warriors couldn’t possibly practice such plays. Could they?
How did LeBron carry the Cavaliers this week?
Funnily enough, the Cavs have remained on top of the Eastern Conference standings despite the fact that LeBron James has been shooting poorly outside the paint of late. Don’t expect that to continue, in fact James used that information for motivation on Sunday, in a 95-85 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers that extended Cleveland’s win streak to seven games.
Quote of the week
“We cannot move on as a team until Kobe leaves … Part of that to me is painful because I’ve been here 20 years with Kobe.”
– LA Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, finally .
This is as close as we’ll get to the Lakers organization admitting that the two-year, $48.5m extension they handed Kobe Bryant was one of the most franchise-crippling contracts in basketball history. Enjoy the world’s most expensive roaming retirement party, Lakers fans.
On Monday, the Warriors beat the Miami Heat 111-103 for their . Oh, and the victory put them at 36-2 for the regular season. At this point, there are no numbers that Golden State could put up that I wouldn’t believe. The Warriors have defeated math.
2. San Antonio Spurs (2)
Meanwhile the Spurs took advantage of the and won their eighth straight game on Monday. If this were any team other than the Spurs, you’d have to assume they would be jealous of the attention the Warriors were getting.
Could Timofey Mozgov be on the for the second straight season? At least one would hate to see him go.
4. Los Angeles Clippers (4)
Hey, we didn’t jinx them! Despite about how it looked like things were coming together for the Clippers, they didn’t collapse. In fact, LA’s good team went on a nine-game win streak.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (5)
Thank the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard for single-handedly preventing the Thunder from moving up any spots this week.
6. Toronto Raptors (10)
The Toronto Raptors are to play the Orlando Magic on Thursday. If the NBA were serious about expanding the game overseas, they should demand an appearance from that went all crazy against the Philadelphia 76ers. (First step: have him play against the Philadelphia 76ers.)
7. Chicago Bulls (7)
The Bulls had their six-game win streak snapped by the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Still, the last few weeks should help make the case that Jimmy Butler would belong in the MVP discussion in a parallel universe where Steph Curry never existed.
8. Dallas Mavericks (11)
Dirk Nowitzki is now officially in the “been around so long that he reaches a new milestone every game” category. Last week, he became the in NBA history to play 1,300 regular season games. The very next game, he surpassed Ray Allen to sit all alone in the 16th spot.
9. Atlanta Hawks (6)
This week’s Completely Not Basketball Related Item regarding the Hawks: they play an incredibly cutthroat variation on . They should televise this in lieu of their actual games.
10. Miami Heat (8)
After taking advantage of a rather cushy schedule early in the season, the Heat will be on the road for most of the rest of this month. Expect them to fall here, or rise if they manage to rise to the occasion.
11. Indiana Pacers (9)
A loss to the Houston Rockets on Sunday puts the Pacers at 0-4 in overtime games.
12. Detroit Pistons (13)
Read of the week: Paul Flannery on how Stan Van Gundy has . (Hint: it involves emotional outbursts on the sidelines.)
13. Memphis Grizzlies (15)
Zach Randoph: this year’s Andre Iguodala, the veteran who finds new life after being taken out of the starting lineup?
14. Orlando Magic (14)
The Magic lost five of their last six games and are in danger of falling out of the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
15. New York Knicks (18)
We may have to add a new segment to this column entitled “What did Kristaps Porzingis do to make our jaw drops this week?”
16. Boston Celtics (12)
Brad Stevens’s genius coaching can help players get the best looks possible, but he can’t turn them into players who will consistently make those shots.
17. Houston Rockets (16)
James Harden’s pass to nowhere, ladies and gentlemen:
18. Washington Wizards (17)
The Wizards are as they wait for the return of Bradley Beal.
19. Utah Jazz (20)
Rudy Gobert is back, which means that the Jazz are suddenly interesting again, both in terms of the standings and in terms of being watchable on television.
20. Portland Trail Blazers (22)
The Trail Blazers had to play without CJ McCollum in a loss to the Clippers thanks to . How very “Brazil.”
21. Charlotte Hornets (19)
22. Sacramento Kings (21)
23. Milwaukee Bucks (22)
24. Denver Nuggets (25)
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (26)
26. Phoenix Suns (30)
27. New Orleans Pelicans (24)
28. Brooklyn Nets (28)
29. Los Angeles Lakers (27)
30. Philadelphia 76ers (29)