Tag:New Jersey Nets
Posted on: December 9, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 2:52 am

Magic considering tampering charge vs. Nets

Even as the NBA launched into damage-control mode Friday over commissioner David Stern's rejection of a trade sending Chris Paul to the Lakers, another firestorm started. The Orlando Magic were considering tampering charges against the New Jersey Nets, front office sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.

The charges would stem from an alleged meeting between Dwight Howard and Nets representatives in Miami in recent days as New Jersey prepared a blockbuster trade offer to land the All-Star center. ESPN.com reported that the meeting was attended by Howard, some of his business associates, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Nets general manager Billy King.

Howard told ESPN.com, "There was no meeting." Prokhorov's spokeswoman, Ellen Pinchuk, did not respond to a request for comment, but King issued a statement Friday echoing Howard's denial.

"Contrary to published reports," King said, "the New Jersey Nets did not meet with Dwight Howard." 

UPDATE: The Magic on Friday night gave Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, permission to speak with three teams -- the Lakers, Nets and Mavericks -- about a potential trade, a person familiar with the decision told CBSSports.com. But at the time of the reported meeting between Howard and Prokhorov, no permission had been given, the person said.

"I've seen the report, but I have no idea whether he met with them or not," Magic CEO Alex Martins said. "And so we'll certainly look into that. But at this stage, it's just a report."

Orlando's goal remains to retain Howard, but the organization has made the decision that it will not suffer the same fate as when Shaquille O'Neal left as a free agent in 1996 and the team received nothing in return. Also, Magic GM Otis Smith will not have Howard's destination in a trade dictated to him by Howard or his agent, a person with knowledge of the organization's strategy told CBSSports.com.

It was a second straight day of buffoonery for the NBA as it tried, and failed miserably, to shake off the effects of a five-month lockout and launch abbreviated training camps and free agency Friday. The season starts in 16 days, and two of the league's biggest stars evidently are frozen in their cities while other teams struggled to field enough bodies to hold training-camp practices. 

"Bizarre," said one general manager who was navigating the madness.

The league does not investigate possible instances of tampering unless it receives a specific charge from one of its teams. The aspects of the rules that would apply to Howard's alleged meeting with Nets officials is that teams are not permitted to speak with players under contract with another team without that team's permission. The Magic evidently had no knowledge of whether Howard was meeting with Nets officials, though Orlando GM Otis Smith would certainly be well aware of the Nets' desire to acquire their superstar.

Since joining half the league in clearing 2010 cap space and failing to land one of the top free agents last summer, the Nets pursued and failed to land Carmelo Anthony, who ultimately was traded to the Knicks. New Jersey responded by sending Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and two first-round picks to Utah for star point guard Deron Williams, whom they are now feverishly working to build around and keep him from leaving as a free agent after the 66-game 2011-12 season. In addition to preparing a trade offer for Howard that would include center Brook Lopez and two first-round picks, the Nets also were courting Nene and were telling some teams Friday they were closing in on the free-agent big man.

Several people on the periphery of the discussions said Friday night that, by all appearances, the Nets were closer to landing Nene than trading for Howard.

Howard has been careful not to publicly request or demand a trade. But his close associates have insisted for more than a year that Howard was looking to land in a marquee market, with Los Angeles and New York at the top of his list for obvious reasons. The Nets, who are moving to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season, would fit Howard's desires, sources have told CBSSports.com.

As if that weren't enough news for one team for one day, the Magic also announced Friday they were waiving guard Gilbert Arenas and using the collective bargaining agreement's new amnesty provision to wipe the $19.3 million he is due this season off their cap and tax. Teams that are under the cap will have a chance to bid on assuming a certain percentage of Arenas' contract, with the winning team's bid offsetting Orlando's financial obligation to the former All-Star.
Posted on: March 18, 2010 1:15 pm
Edited on: March 19, 2010 8:11 am

Jackson could be on radar for Clips, Nets

Mark Jackson’s decision to sign with an agent this week has not gone unnoticed in coaching circles, where it is believed that the former All-Star point guard and current broadcaster finally will get his chance to roam the sidelines as an NBA head coach. 

Jackson did not employ an agent when he was in the running for head coaching jobs in New York and Minnesota last summer and Phoenix in 2008, preferring to deal one-on-one with team executives. Jackson, 44, got passed over for all three jobs but is expected to be in demand once the NBA’s coaching carousel starts spinning at the end of April. 

“Despite the economy and the potential work stoppage, there’s going to be more movement than we’ve seen in the past,” said one person involved in the coaching business. 

The two most sensible landing spots for the ABC/ESPN commentator are the Clippers and Nets, according to sources familiar with both situations. Jackson lives in Los Angeles and is a native New Yorker. Despite turmoil in both organizations, the situations will be extremely attractive for top coaching candidates this summer. 

One person familiar with how coaching candidates view the Clippers job described the team as being in the “best shape in the league” payroll-wise and talent-wise. There are signs that frugal owner Donald M. Sterling, who demoted and then fired former coach and GM Mike Dunleavy in recent weeks, could be ready to open his notoriously tight checkbook for a high-profile name like Jackson. The Nets, according to sources, would be viewed as more of a longer-term growth opportunity for Jackson, who has no previous coaching experience. But the cap space to sign a max free agent, the possibility of landing presumed No. 1 pick John Wall, and the team’s eventual move to a new arena in Brooklyn – one borough over from Jackson’s native Queens – might overshadow the fact that the Nets (7-61) are on their way to one of the worst seasons in NBA history. 

Another situation that bears watching is Indiana, where Jackson enjoyed some of his best years as a player. Former Pacers GM Donnie Walsh, who also is represented by Jackson’s new agent, Steve Kauffman, thinks highly of Jackson and still holds sway over Pacers owner Herb Simon when it comes to transformational decisions such as a coaching hire. If the Pacers decide to dismiss Jim O’Brien after the season for a new voice, and Jackson’s communication skills and popularity within the organization will be among his biggest strengths. 

Jackson’s decision to sign with Kauffman Sports Management made official his well-known private desire to leave the broadcast booth for a chance to coach. Sources familiar with Jackson’s thinking say he is cognizant of the role his lack of experience would play and is determined to recruit the most experienced assistants possible to help him make the transition. Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans and Golden State are among the other teams that could be contemplating coaching changes this summer.
Posted on: February 11, 2010 11:15 am

Thorn: No Pitino contact

Rod Thorn was packing his bags Thursday morning in an attempt to make it to Dallas for All-Star weekend. First, he had a situation to deal with -- shooting down the notion that Louisville coach Rick Pitino had contacted the Nets to express interest in being their next coach.

"I'm good friends with Rick and have been for long time," Thorn said. "He's never reached out to me and I've never reached out to him about this. He's never indicated to me that he’s unhappy where he is or has intentions of coming back to the NBA. I've certainly never heard about it and never had any conversation with him about it. If he had approached one of our owners or somebody on his behalf had approached one of our owners, I'm sure they say something to me about it."

This is the second time in a few months that Pitino's name has surfaced regarding an NBA job, which most people around the league see for what it is -- a desperate attempt on Pitino's part to keep an escape route open from Louisville, where he's been dogged by scandal and overshadowed by rival Kentucky and coach John Calipari. Pitino's operatives floated his name for the Sacramento job last summer, but there was never any interest from the Kings, who hired Paul Westphal.

Pitino himself denied the New York Daily News' report Thursday of his interest in the Nets' job. But the goal was accomplished; the more Pitino's name is associated with an NBA comeback, the more likely it is that some desperate, clueless owner will hire him.

The Nets, who are 4-48 and on pace to equal the worst record in NBA history, have bigger fish to fry. The purchase of the team by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is expected to come up for a vote at the next Board of Governor's meeting, and the team is trying to make progress on its move to Brooklyn.
Posted on: April 16, 2009 12:31 am

What happens to Lawrence Frank?

Aside from the obvious, such as Kenny Natt in Sacramento, the coach who should be looking over his shoulder the most as the regular season comes to a close is the Nets' Lawrence Frank.

The Nets' front office tandem of Rod Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe don't like Frank any less after a 34-48 season that ended Wednesday night with a nondescript 102-73 loss to the Knicks without Devin Harris and Vince Carter. Neither Thorn nor Vandeweghe expected much more out of this roster; dare I say, the Nets achieved almost precisely what should've been expected. But the Nets are one of many teams planning a dramatic change of direction in the next two summers. Is Frank the guy they want on the sideline when a big free agent comes to town in '10? (Whether that town is East Rutherford, N.J. or Brooklyn, N.Y. remains to be seen.)

It doesn't make any financial sense for the Nets to hire a new coach now. Frank has one more year on his contract, and New Jersey isn't going anywhere significant next season, either. (This is a long-term plan, the way it should be done.) The most sensible approach would be to start next season with Frank, see how things go, and if it doesn't go well, fire him and move assistant Brian Hill over one seat.

Which leads me to wonder whether Frank wants to be in that position. He's liked and respected within the organization, but perhaps isn't the guy beyond next season. A graceful exit via the old reassignment route wouldn't be a bad option -- for either party.

Thorn was evasive a couple of weeks ago when I broached the topic of Frank's future. This week, owner Bruce Ratner came down solidly behind Frank. But of course he would do that; he's the guy who'd have to pay him and another coach next season if he fired him.

If I had to guess, I'd say Frank gracefully slides into another role in the organization and Vandeweghe tries to put his stamp on the franchise with an unorthodox hire. Just a guess.




Posted on: April 6, 2009 6:19 pm

Nets losing money, traction in Brooklyn

TrueHoop pointed us to this report in the Sports Business Journal on the Nets' operating company reporting ominous financial results for the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31. Not surprisingly, Nets Sports & Entertainment -- the division of Forest City Ratner Enterprises that owns 23 percent of the team -- reported a $27.8 million loss for the fiscal year. That figure has ballooned from $9.5 million in 2006.

The takeaway -- that's TV lingo -- is that Forest City warned in its 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that some sponsors for the Brooklyn arena could flee due to extensive delays associated with the project and the downturn in the economy. Barclays has reiterated its comitment to the arena's title sponsorship, but other sponsorship deals could go up in smoke.

Brett Yormark, the Nets' intrepid CEO, told SBJ: “We feel very confident about all of our sponsorships. We have a higher level of sponsorship commitments for the Barclays Center, before groundbreaking, than any other arena in recent history.”

SBJ touted the results as the first financial report of a Big Four pro sports team since the economy turned. It reinforced not only the challenges still facing the Nets with their intended move to Brooklyn, but also the problems they face in New Jersey until they get there -- if they get there. Attendance at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J., continues to slide -- down 3.3 percent from the previous year reported to 15,160 per game. And if the Nets are struggling to keep sponsorship dollars for the Brooklyn arena, how are they going to keep the dollars coming into a lame-duck, antiquated building in the Meadowlands?




Category: NBA
Posted on: April 2, 2009 1:44 am

Thorn: I'll evaluate Frank after the season

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A victory over the spiraling Detroit Pistons didn't do much for Nets coach Lawrence Frank's job security. The man who will decide whether Frank stays or goes will need more evidence than that.

"I think the coach has done a good job," Nets president Rod Thorn said Wednesday night before the Nets beat the Pistons 111-98 to end a five-game losing streak. "We always sit down at the end of the year and talk about our whole operation and how we can improve ourselves and get better. From my perspective, I think the coach has done a good job and I think he’s a real good coach. You've got to be realistic about where your talent is and about where your experience level is. I've always tried to do that."

But with a mini-storm swirling a day after Thorn stopped short of saying Frank would be back next season to coach the final year of his contract, Thorn again left the topic alone in a conversation I had with him moments before tipoff.

"The coach comes every day, works hard, knows what he’s doing," Thorn said. "I think he gives us a good chance to win."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement like those Thorn eagerly volunteered late in the 2006-07 season, when Frank was in a similar situation -- entering the final year of his contract. The Nets' brass huddled after that season, and in the summer rewarded Frank with a three-year contract extension. That bill has come due, and the Nets have done little lately to indicate they want Frank around beyond the next seven games. Their lack of fight in a 107-78 home stomping at the hands of the Bucks Monday night bore all the signs of a team that's given up on the coach.

Until you remember who's in charge. Thorn has been incredibly loyal to Frank and doesn't make knee-jerk decisions. And the Nets' stated plan to clear cap space for the 2010 free-agent class begs a host of questions as to why Frank would be let go after the season. Such as: Who, exactly, are the Nets going to hire to coach a middling roster next season based on the faint hope they can land a franchise-changing free agent in '10? How do we know the franchise-changing free agent would approve of that coach? Why not just let Frank start the season, and if things don't go well, show him the door and elevate assistant Brian Hill -- an experienced head coach -- to interim status? And then start over in '10?

Thorn holds a lot close to the vest, but he is not one to play games with someone's career and livelihood -- especially a coach he's backed time and again over the years. When you ask Thorn about Frank's status and he gives you the answer about evaluating things after the season, it means something. Frank is in trouble.

I asked Thorn if it wasn't just the losses lately, but the way the Nets have lost -- the lack of fight.

"If it were something that lasted over a period of time, yes," Thorn said. "For a couple of games ... It’s like couple of weeks ago, when the Knicks played us and Sacramento back-to-back and they just didn’t have it for whatever reason. Physically, they were just way behind and didn’t play well. Then they came out the next day and played very well. We just had two games where we were just slow to virtually every ball. We couldn't get to balls when we had an advantage. I think it’s more just part of the season than anything else."



Posted on: February 13, 2009 11:44 am
Edited on: February 13, 2009 9:22 pm

Paxson, Kerr reports stir All-Star city (UPDATE)

PHOENIX -- Ready to get the All-Star coverage going. Nope, not much going on. Just reports that Bulls G.M. John Paxson will resign after the trade deadline and that Suns president Steve Kerr may replace Terry Porter as coach.

If the reports are accurate, too little, too late on both counts.

Anyway, Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is shooting down the Paxson report in the New York Post, calling it "not credible." The Post also had the item on Kerr.   

Just wondering: If your G.M. is resigning, wouldn't you want him to resign before the trade deadline, so he doesn't make any more bad trades?

We'll be following up on these and other issues throughout the day. There's also the trade rumor of the day -- the Nets and Mavericks discussing a deal that would reunite Jason Kidd with Vince Carter. Interesting. Will let you know about that one.

UPDATE: I can confirm with my own eyes that Paxson is still on the job, having seen him walking around a downtown hotel where NBA business is being conducted. He politely declined to discuss his job status. More on that as it unfolds.

As for the Mavs-Nets situation, "nothing going on right now" on that front, a person with knowledge of the talks said.

Posted on: February 8, 2009 12:37 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2009 12:09 am

Amare talks heating up (UPDATE)

CLEVELAND -- The Phoenix Suns have engaged in trade talks with at least five or six teams, including the Pistons, Bulls, Nets, and Warriors, in their efforts to find the best offer for Amare Stoudemire, multiple league sources told CBSSports.com.

In the past 48 hours, the Suns' posture on Stoudemire has advanced from accepting calls to placing them, an indication that they've accelerated efforts to pull off sweeping changes before the Feb. 19 trade deadline.

The Pistons view Stoudemire as a good fit, according to a person with knowledge of the dialogue between the teams, and have the kind of assets Phoenix would be interested in -- large expiring contracts (Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace), young players with reasonable contracts (Jason Maxiell, Amir Johnson), and draft picks (three extra second-rounders and an extra first-rounder acquired in other trades).

Chicago also is a desirable destination, and the Bulls could offer Larry Hughes' $13.7 million deal expiring after next season. Plus, Chicago has the largest expiring trade exception ($5.2 million) in the league. The Nets have three first-rounders in upcoming drafts, but don't seem convinced that Stoudemire is the right fit, which would be a key component of any deal. Since Stoudemire has an early termination clause after the 2009-10 season, any team that acquires him would have to view him as its max free-agent signing in the summer of 2010.

UPDATE: Golden State also has had discussions with the Suns about Stoudemire, a person familiar with the talks said Sunday night -- although the Bay Area doesn't seem to be a likely destination.

"You'd have to have a deal in place to re-sign him," one rival executive said. "You'd have to have great interest and think he’s the guy for you."

Other teams believed to be in the mix for Stoudemire are Miami, Dallas, and possibly the Raptors, who are looking for other avenues to unload Jermaine O'Neal's $22 million contract for next season after talks with Miami about an O'Neal-for-Shawn Marion swap fizzled.

UPDATE: Several curious teams have called Toronto about Chris Bosh, two people with knowledge of the discussions said Friday night. But it's not clear whether the Bosh talks have involved Stoudemire, and to this point, Toronto's response has been that Bosh is not available.

As CBSSports.com first reported Friday, Phoenix also is seeking offers for Shaquille O'Neal, whose resurgence has not stemmed the Suns' inconsistency under first-year coach Terry Porter.



The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com