Brooklyn Nets: History is Meant to be Learned From

New Jersey Nets, Kenny Anderson

Owner Mikhail Prokhorov came in guns blazing following his purchase of the New Jersey Nets in 2010. With brash promises to fans including his infamous “five-year guarantee,” there was immense pressure from the start to build a contender. 

Rather than rebuild around young all-star center Brook Lopez, Prokhorov decided he wanted to make a splash.

This desperation was first displayed in 2011 at the February trade deadline. Looking to acquire Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, the Nets were eventually outbid by the Knicks. Refusing to be overshadowed by his crosstown rival, Prokhorov turned around and dealt for star point guard Deron Williams, who at the time, was considered a premier point guard in the game. To facilitate the deal, the Nets needed to part with all-star point guard Devin Harris, promising former third overall pick Derrick Favors, as well as two likely lottery, picks in years to come. 

Williams was close friends with Dwight Howard, and the two immediately became enamored with the idea of teaming up. Finding a way to acquire Howard would vault the Nets into instant title contenders. The Nets offered four first-round picks and franchise cornerstone Brook Lopez for Howard, but Orlando declined. Content on waiting until Howard became a free agent to sign him, rather than deplete assets, the Nets pulled out of talks. On one fateful plane ride, Howard changed his mind. 

Former Magic guard JJ Redick detailed how casual this decision was. 

“you know what, I love you guys. I’m coming back. And really, that was it! That was it! There was no, like — there wasn’t a heart-to-heart, it was just he was having a good time on the plane and decided he wanted to come back.”

In the blink of an eye, the Nets needed to turn their attention to alternate ways of building a contender around their superstar point guard. 

The 2012 trade deadline marked the Nets’ first desperate attempt to come back from missing out on Howard. A last-minute deal saw the Nets land high-energy forward Gerald Wallace in exchange for negligent pieces and a top-three protected first-rounder. 

Ben Falk, a former Blazers analytics manager, wrote last year on his site Cleaning the Glass that when Portland realized the Nets not only wanted Gerald Wallace badly but were willing to give up a top-three protected first-rounder for him, “My heart hit the gas pedal.” 

That quote has aged like fine wine, contrary to the trade. That draft pick fell at sixth overall and was used to select superstar point guard Damian Lillard. Maybe you’ve heard of him. 

This theme of casual dumping of draft picks for veterans who did not move the needle continues to haunt the Nets to this day. In a salary dump that saw them expel the roster of Troy Murphy, the Nets threw in a second-round pick to sweeten the pot. That pick became Draymond Green. 

The move to Brooklyn in 2012 came with added expectations as it was Prokhorov’s big promise being delivered. The franchise became more marketable and immediately was thrust into a rivalry with the Knicks, who were coming off a successful season that saw them land in the second seed in the Eastern Conference on the backs of Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. The Nets, hoping to compete right away, re-signed Williams, Wallace, and Lopez to deals that would cap-string the team, and traded for Joe Johnson, another high-priced star who was exiting his prime. The trade was contingent on the re-signing of Williams, as Johnson held a no-trade clause and would only be willing to leave if he knew he was going to be playing for a contender. 

The first season with this new core ended in a bitter disaster. After showing promise en route to a 49-33 finish, earning home-court advantage in the first round, the Nets were shocked in the Barclay’s Center in an intense game seven after blowing a 2-1 series lead and a seemingly insurmountable game-four lead that was decimated by Nate Robinson catching fire in a way he hasn’t at any other point in his career. 

The pressure continued to mount for Porkhorov and general manager Billy King. This reached a tipping point on draft night in 2013, when desperation led to the final blow for a Nets roster that had been building disaster for the better part of two years. 

The Nets moved on from four draft picks and offered two pick-swaps, among other pieces, in exchange for 37-year-old Kevin Garnett, 36-year-old Paul Pierce, and 36-year-old Jason Terry. This left the Nets with a roster with championship aspirations, but marginal room for error. Every former star needed to perform exceptionally, which did not quite pan out. Instead, the next two seasons became a script for the concept of Murphy’s Law. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. 

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge gave a statement following the trade in regards to Brooklyn’s desire to push for a championship. “So, Brooklyn showed a great deal of interest in putting a Dream Team together at any cost,” he said. 

This desperation left the Nets with little leverage, and thus had every asset possible pulled out from their disposal and fast-tracked the Celtics quest to rebuild. 

When blended together, the Nets five stars were consistent in one thing: underachieving. Williams struggled with injuries, Garnett and Pierce struggled with declining performance related to age, and Lopez was unable to find a role in the offense, which had been just about the only thing keeping him afloat in his career. Johnson provided late-game heroics and consistent clutch performances, but past his prime, he was unable to carry the lineup past Lebron James and the Miami Heat. 

This era came to an abrupt ending, with Pierce leaving after one year, and Garnett being openly unhappy with his long standing running mate. Trading away Garnett for Thaddeus Young left the Nets with nothing from the 2013 trade that gutted their assets, after only 1.5 seasons. 

In the summer of 2015, Williams’ was waived using the stretch provision. This marked the end of his tumultuous tenure with the Nets, one that was defined by inconsistencies and a failure to take the grips of a franchise in need of a savior. Half a season later, Johnson was bought out, ridding the Nets of all of their vaunted starting five except for Brook Lopez, who found himself in a similar position as before the team acquired Williams in the first place. But even Lopez ended up falling victim to the blow-up of the roster, as the team traded him for frustrating headcase D’Angelo Russell, who had a world of potential but couldn’t figure it out under the tutelage of Magic Johnson and the Lakers. 

This era in Nets history will always be remembered with embarrassment by fans, as the toxic culture of the team made them difficult to root for and hard to watch. That being said, if it weren’t for these mistakes, the current roster would not have been possible to obtain. Prokhorov backed off and let his front office do their jobs, completing a full rebuild, and now, even after he has sold the team, the contender he thought he had back in 2013 has taken shape. 

The 3 most fun New York Knicks teams of the last decade

New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony

The New York Knicks haven’t had the best go of it the last few seasons.  The seasons always start with high expectations and lofty goals.  But as much as fans want to be optimistic about the Knicks, they simply haven’t performed to ‘New York standards’.

The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since the 2012-13 season.  That was when watching the Knicks was fun.  While they do give the fans some excitement from time-to-time, it’s nothing like earlier this decade.  Here’s the 3 most fun Knicks teams of the last decade.

2012-13

This was the last time that the Knicks made the playoffs.  They had a record of 54-28 behind head coach Mike Woodson.  Their play had them in 1st place in the Atlantic and 2nd overall in the Eastern conference.  The roster consisted of Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert.  However, Stoudemire missed the season due to injury.

Others bringing more fun to the table were J.R. Smith, Rasheed Wallace, Steve Novak, Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni, Kenyon Martin, Chris Copeland, Ronnie Brewer, Quentin Richardson, Kurt Thomas, James White and Marcus Camby.

This team packed the Garden each game with expectations of making a run to the finals. This Knicks team brought fun for the 3rd year in a row.  It was Anthony’s career season with points per game at 28.7.  He led this team with confidence and it showed.  This team was good and they have fun doing it.

They brought high-scoring games, high-flying dunks which the Knicks haven’t seen on a consistent basis since.  Fans also fell in lvoe with Novak’s championship belt celebration and Wallace’s “Ball don’t lie!”  The most fun was when the Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics in the first-round of the the playoffs, 4-2.  That was the Knicks first playoff series win since losing in the conference finals in 1999-00.  The Knicks fell to the Indiana Pacers in the following round

2011-12

This season of the Knicks had a lot of highs and lows. The Knicks had a record of 36-30 with ultimately losing in the 1st round of the playoffs under Mike Woodson.  He took over after Mike D’Antoni was fired after a 18-24 record.  However, making the playoffs, while exciting, wasn’t the peak.  It was Jeremy Lin and ‘Lin-sanity’.  That is a stretch of games that Knicks fans won’t ever forget.

Lin bursted onto the scene and gave Knicks fans the most excitement they’ve had in a long, long time.  It was a feel-good story of basically a ‘no name’ taking the basketball world by storm.  The game winner against Toronto, career-high 38 against Kobe Bryant’s Lakers, first double-double against John Wall’s Wizards, etc.  There was literally nothing stopping Lin.  His confidence grew each game and so did the fans excitement.  That stretch of games during ‘Lin-sanity’ is something that the New York faithful may never see again.

2010-11

Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks with a 42-40 recorded had another 1st round playoff exit.  Melo and Amar’e, Felton had good help around this squad.  The likes of Chauncey Billups, Wilson Chandler, Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, Jared Jeffries, Danilo Gallinari, Ronny Turiaf and Renaldo Balkman.  A lot of old school Knicks gems on this roster.

This season was when Anthony was traded to the Knicks from the Denver Nuggets. Anthony joined the Knicks were a standing ovation from the Garden faithful.  Fans had hope that he’d be the guy, along with Stoudemire, to resurrect the Knicks.  Those two, and Chandler later on, did they best they could and brought excitement to the Garden in the likes of which we haven’t seen in 7 seasons.

The beginning of the last decade was an exciting team for both players and fans.  Hopefully, the New York Knicks can bring us more exciting, fun times in the near future.

The New York Knicks want Carmelo Anthony to be a mentor?

New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony

The New York Knicks have a lot of young players to develop and mentor.  Rumors are starting that Carmelo Anthony may be the perfect role model.

While that all sounds good, Anthony can’t fill that role.  He isn’t the type of player that’s going to take a backseat to anyone.  But new team president Leon Rose has already been linked to possibly bringing Anthony back to the Knicks.

When the Knicks made their last playoff run in 2012, Anthony was surrounded by players similar in age.  It wasn’t until the end of his Knicks tenure when the youth movement began.  And we all know how his departure went.

Unless this is a new Anthony that no one knows about, him being a mentor isn’t the smartest idea.  He has always been a ball hog and a player that puts himself first.  Even in his latest venture with the Portland Trailblazers, Anthony is always looking to be the main guy.

In his time with other teams, Thunder, Rockets and Trailblazers, Anthony always found issues with his teammates, or vice versa.  He didn’t seem to fit in with their schemes.  If someone can’t fit in the Rockets run-and-gun system then something is seriously wrong.

He’s never been one to shy away from taking control of the game or taking unnecessary shots.  In his prime with the Knicks, Anthony didn’t shy away from putting up major shots.  He always wanted the ball at all times despite other having the hot hand.  That hasn’t changed with any team he’s been with and it won’t.

As Anthony gets older, there’s no indication that he’s a different player or can be a mentor.  That’s not his style and won’t event be.  The Knicks, possibly, have higher hopes for an aging Anthony, it’s not for the best.

It’s always been the same selfish Melo despite great memories and Knicks records.  Rose might think that Anthony could mentor the younger generation but if it hasn’t happen already it most likely won’t.  The New York Knicks-Melo ship has sailed.

The New York Knicks should not party like it’s 2012

New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony

The new team president of the New York Knicks, Leon Rose, is trying to bring back old 2012 rumors and make it a reality.  Rose is, allegedly, connected to Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul becoming Knicks.

The Knicks are “gathering intel” on Paul for the possibility of, finally, bringing him to New York.  First off, what does that even mean?  What intel do they need to gather?  Paul has been in the league for awhile and consistently a top tier guard.  They should have everything they need.

Paul gets big money with 2 years left on his current deal.   He’ll earn $41.3 million next season then $44.2 million in 2021-22, player option.  Paul is having a great year averaging 17.5 points on 48.8% shooting, 6.7 assists and 4.9 boards.  He also has the Thunder as the 6th seed in the West.

Rose wants to pair Paul with Anthony, which was a Knicks fans dream in 2012.  Bringing back Anthony on a veteran minimum contract would be fine.  He would be looked to teach the younger players, but that isn’t Anthony.  That isn’t his style and it would be 2015 all over again.

But, to get Paul, the team would most likely have to give up first round picks and young players.  Not ideal, considering the Knicks finally have first round picks, 7 in the next 4 years.  Plus Paul’s contract is a lot of money for an aging star.  Let’s not go down that road again adding older players.

Paul would be able to teach the younger players also and would have a different effect as compared to Anthony.  But, the New York Knicks don’t need to fill the roster with former clients of Rose.  That’s not how to build a winning team, especially a team that’s currently rebuilding.

The New York Knicks need a new ‘Amar’e Stoudemire & Carmelo Anthony’

New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony

The New York Knicks need a lot more than just a new team president and “re-brand.”  Well, the team doesn’t need a “re-brand” at all.  The Knicks are currently valued at 4.6 billion, the most expensive team in the league.  The brand is doing just fine.

This season Knicks continue to be a roller-coaster.  After a 4-game win steak, fans were thinking playoffs.  Then after a miserable performance against the Wizards, the playoffs float away.

A new team president would help over a “re-brand.”  Bringing in a new team president will give the Knicks the opportunity to start fresh and target new free-agents.  Can Leon Rose be that guy once he takes over?  That’s still up for debate but we hope.

When Rose takes over, the Knicks need to hope that he can bring in free-agents or players that can change the course of the franchise.  The Knicks need players like Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.

Those two players were the only two that had the drive and determination to try and resurrect the New York Knicks.  Most likely the Knicks will have to build through the draft.  But, getting some free-agents, or through trades, would also help.

Players say that they want to come to New York because it’s the ‘Mecca’ of basketball, which it is.  However, when players come fans will get excited but those players don’t have that ‘it’ factor.  Stoudemire and Anthony had the ‘it’ factor.  They changed the course of the Knicks for the better and while it was only a short time, they did.

If the Knicks want turn around their franchise they need players like those two.  Yes, a team president will help get those players, but the players are the one’s who perform on the court.  Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were suppose to be the next two and look how that worked out.

The Knicks needs to find their next Stoudemire and Anthony, wherever and however that may be.  Otherwise, it’s going to be another long decade.

New York Knicks start this decade off with a great team win

New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina

The New York Knicks are officially undefeated this decade.  The Knicks spoiled the return of one of the teams greatest players, Carmelo Anthony, with a 117-93 victory over the Portland Trailblazers.

Anthony had his fair share of historic nights in the Garden.  His amazing performance against the Boston Celtics on Christmas day.  Scoring the most points in single game in Knicks history, 62, against the then Charlotte Bobcats, the list goes on.  However, it was someone else’s turn to have the Garden lights all on them.  Mitchell Robinson went 11-11 from the floor, tying the franchise record without a miss.  He went off and shows why he is a major piece for the future.

This victory was a statement win for the Knicks coming into 2020.  They’ve had their struggles to begin the season with their play, front office, coaching etc.  But this win the Knicks give the fans hope that they can turn their season around.

Making the playoffs seems to still be out of reach despite only being 5 games from the 8th seed.  But the team has been playing well under interim coach Mike Miller, who has more wins, 6, then former coach David Fizdale to begin this season, 4.

There’s something to be said about how the players are responding to Miller and his coaching.  The team appears to be playing more like a team and utilizing the pick-and-roll, which is what they should be doing.  It was clear that it worked last night as it was the Mitchell Robinson show.

It seemed like every possession was a pick-and-roll leading to a monstrous alley-oop.  Not only was Robinson slamming it home but Frank Ntilikina had his moment too.  He had a dunk that got the crowded into the game even more and when he shows emotion,  you know things are going well.

It continues to go well for the Knicks and Julius Randle as he is finally starting to play up to his potential.  He recorded back-to-back double-doubles in this 3-game win streak.  Staying away from isolation basketball has bee the key to his recent progression.

The New York Knicks started off 2020 with a bang.  They defeated a team that is contending for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.  Why they make not make the playoffs, showing progression as a team for the future may be better than a playoff berth.

The Brooklyn Nets Seem To Be Pushing For Carmelo Anthony

New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony

As we know, the past few weeks have been kind of busy as far as Brooklyn Nets media goes. We had some mishaps, but the news that seemed to keep reoccurring was concerning a Brooklyn Native.

Carmelo Anthony and the Nets have been almost joint at the hip in reports and constantly linked together since he worked out with the team weeks ago. Media and fans alike thought this was a sign of things to come. But as time passed and nothing happened. The likely signing had become an informal workout and then was downgraded to friends just playing ball. Nets fans were still pushing for the move, but their thirst to see it happen was quenched with the knowledge that with 15 guaranteed contract, Melo was probably a no go.

Enter stage left, Wilson Chandler and the PED incident. The Woj bomb that no Nets fan was really hoping to ever see, Chandler would be suspended for 25 games. The rumblings of Melo came back with a vengeance. This time, as reported by Frank Isola, they came with alleged Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving endorsements. The Nets two new stars were reported to have pushed for Melo in talks with Sean Marks. Before Sean Marks could shoot it down due to a full roster. But now there would be a hole in it for a good portion of the season thanks to Chandler’s situation. What made it all the more interesting is that Carmelo plays the exact same positions as Wilson Chandler so it all matches up. But still, all was quiet on the front and the rumblings quieted.

Rodions Kurucs was in the news and what that story entailed leaves the potential for yet another roster opening for the Nets at the forward positions. It seemed all, but a given that Marks had to sign Melo at this point. Honestly, I keep saying, I don’t know how Marks can avoid Kyrie and Kevin’s wishes at this point. With everything going on, the fans pushing for it, both your stars pushing for it, how do you sell to them Melo isn’t a good add?

And then the Prince throws his hat in the ring. He seems to endorse the thought that Melo still has more than enough in the tank.

So with all the question marks around Kurucs and Chandler and with such glowing reviews from current Nets players, I’m not sure Sean Marks will be able to hold off Melo forever. It possibly could just be a matter of when. Let’s also note that when Melo and Frank Isola spoke, Melo did seem optimistic that he’d be on a team by the time training camp opens up.

New York Knicks: Julius Randle developing his jumpshot with great mentor

New York Knicks, Julius Randle

The New York Knicks are all hands on deck for the 2019-20 season. Their starting five have worked tirelessly to improve their game and skill-sets in an attempt to develop a competitive team with ample chemistry.

Veteran signing Julius Randle has been working hard to become the leader the Knicks need on and off the court. On Friday, skills trainer Tyler Relph spent time with Randle and former Knick Carmelo Anthony as the latter helped the newly signed Knick with his jump shot.

Melo also worked out with the Knicks during informal five-on-five scrimmages at Columbia University in NYC. His desire to help the current Knicks team could point to him being a part of the organization in a different facet down the road. It’s unlikely they sign Melo on his farewell tour given the lack of space they have on the roster, but Brooklyn seems to be like a more justifiable destination.

The New York Knicks veteran signings:

The Knicks also added vets Bobby Portis, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington, and Marcus Morris this offseason to help the youth players on the team develop and add experience to the roster. Randle, the best player from the slew of signings, is set to be the Knicks’ most productive scorer this upcoming season. Working on his jump shot and elevating his game in that way should be extremely beneficial.

However, the difference between Melo’s jumper and Randle’s is significant. The former Knick is extremely smooth and is known for his shooting abilities, while Randle seems more static and robotic when shooting from the field.

While it’s always a positive sign to see your best player growing during the offseason, I believe he should be working on his defense as well. Randle did defend against Melo in an informal way, but if he can lock down one of the league’s most lethal shooters (historically), he can be a force for the Knicks moving forward.

Signing a two-year deal in New York, Randle will be their focal point.

Brooklyn Nets could look to Carmelo Anthony for farewell tour

New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony

Should the Brooklyn Nets consider signing Carmelo Anthony?

The last few years have seen Carmelo Anthony’s playing time decrease. They’ve seen him bounced around the league via trades and also cut unexpectedly. He’s been forced to play the bench as he’s watched players with far inferior resumes get signed or be invited for workouts.

Even players with as much baggage as Dwight Howard have gotten a shot at an NBA life yet again. Reading this you’d think Carmelo’s career was all, but over right?

That’s the thing, it is all BUT over. Stay Melo, he still has life. As the former NBA star readies to scrimmage with his former team in Manhattan, news broke of a hefty Wilson Chandler suspension. With the knowledge that Chandler was violating league policy by way of PEDs, the NBA hit Chandler with 25 games. That’s more than 25% of the season that he’d be MIA for. It does not help Chandler’s case that he went on to lie (or what looks a lot like a lie) about the situation.

Now I don’t know the stipulations within his recently signed contract, but that could be the key to Melo’s shot at being on an NBA team.

If the contract allows for cutting ties without paying all or any money for violations such as this one, Sean Marks and the Nets may decide to look into that. This organization has worked extremely hard to create a certain culture and atmosphere that could be in jeopardy if they let this slide. For appearance sake, the Nets may cut Chandler anyway, leaving the door open for the team to search for another SF/PF. And that would be of course where Melo comes in. It doesn’t hurt that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are pushing to have Carmelo Anthony added to the roster (per Frank Isola).  The Saga continues.

Brooklyn Nets: The Negatives of Signing Carmelo Anthony

New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony

As you can recall, we had a Free Agency Fantasy piece on Carmelo Anthony and why it wouldn’t have been such a bad idea for the Brooklyn Nets to have a look at him (see here). Not too long after, the NBA was briefly rocked with stories that Melo was working out with players on the Brooklyn Nets roster. It was reported that this was an informal workout of sorts that Brooklyn Nets brass would be taking a look at to evaluate whether or not they’d like to acquire Melo’s services. These thoughts seem like assumed reporting as this seems like it wasn’t the case. It seemed a case more of friends working out with friends.

Be that as it may, neither side as publicly denounced the chances of a union out. So that means it remains an option, no matter how unlikely.

Cons of Signing Melo:

Since we did an article of potential benefits for signing Melo, it’s probably best if we listed the cons for this one.

-For starters, even without the addition of Melo, this is the most star-studded roster that Kenny Atkinson will have to coach. It’s one thing when he has a bunch of NBA outcast, role players, rookies, and or G-Leaguers just trying to stay in the league. They’re willing to accept more criticism even if just to put on the guise of being coachable. Kenny hasn’t by any means had an easy job these last few years, but he had to deal with fewer personalities. And with the added pressure and big names on the roster, his job hasn’t gotten any easier. Kenny’s name doesn’t hold the allure or respect of a Greg Pop or Doc Rivers to have players give him the benefit of the doubt. He doesn’t yet have the cache to have players almost never challenge him as of yet. He does have a lot of the core from last year that will probably back him if it ever comes to that though.

-We have 15 guaranteed contracts. We can sign Melo right now, but by season starts we’d have to either cut or trade someone. Cutting someone means we’d be paying someone to not play. We are only just entering the final year doing that with Deron Williams and I’m not sure the Brooklyn Nets Brass are in a rush to get back into that. Especially with how tight we are with the cap as is. Another problem is that the majority of the role players under contract are here for multiple years. So you run the risk of paying them for them not to provide their services for at least two years.

-Melo is a self-proclaimed rhythm shooter. He is used to having the rock in his hands and creating for himself. This causes him to be very streaky as a catch and shoot option. In Kenny’s offense, this is the main use of most players. This may cause him to allow defenders to close out by taking an extra unneeded dribble or having him become a cog in the offense with ball stopping tendencies.

-Melo has never been an All NBA defenders. That’s never been apart of his game that anyone has written home about. Being in the game for over a decade is not about to solve that. His defense has almost undoubtedly declined with his time away from the game. Some of this can be alleviated with him guarding power forwards, which would be easier matchups, but the fact still remains that the Brooklyn Nets were a middle of the pack team defensively last year. Melo is most likely not helping the team make the proper strides on that end.

With all this being said, if Melo were to get signed, Wilson Chandler would probably be the player that would be scapegoated. He’s one of four players not under contract for next year. The other three would be Caris Levert, Taurean Prince, and Joe Harris. Prince and Harris are some of the deadliest catch and shoot players in the league and Harris are one of the Nets original hires to help create what we have today. Levert is one of the Nets draft picks oozing with potential that he just started to really reach. On top of that, many things he’ll be Kyrie’s partner in crime while Durant is out. Not to mention Levert is also like a little brother to KD so I doubt Nets brass would do anything that would even remotely upset one of their newfound stars. Add on top of that, they are all much younger than Chandler. The only real logical option would be to cut Chandler’s cheap contract if we were serious about wanting to add Melo.