Jacque Vaughn the favorite ‘against the field’ to coach the Brooklyn Nets next season

Jacque Vaughn, Brooklyn Nets

Among the many storylines surrounding the Brooklyn Nets is their head-coaching future. Jacque Vaughn took over as interim head coach after Brooklyn and Kenny Atkinson parted ways in March.

Vaughn coached two games before the NBA season was suspended and will be traveling to coach the Nets in Walt Disney World later this month. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Vaughn could be roaming the Nets’ sidelines beyond the summer festivities.

On the latest edition of “The Woj Pod,” Wojnarowski said he’d take Vaughn “against the field” to be the Nets head coach next season.

“He’s the head coach. They didn’t make him interim coach. I think the Nets are considering the possibility of a search, but I would still give Jacque Vaughn — I would take Jacque Vaughn against the field right now.”

Prior to his head-coaching promotion Vaughn was an assistant under Atkinson for three and a half seasons, the head coach of the Magic from 2012-15 and an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs from 2010-12.

The Nets have been connected to other coaches around the league such as Tyronn Lue, Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy, among others.

The Nets (30-34) are the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, eight and a half games behind the sixth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers, a half-game ahead of the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic and six games ahead of the ninth-seeded Washington Wizards.

Forward Wilson Chandler and center DeAndre Jordan have opted out of the NBA season, and big man Nic Claxton is out for the season with a shoulder injury. The Nets signed guards Tyler Johnson and Justin Anderson. Jarrett Allen recently discussed the challenges of players living in the NBA bubble and his role in the Nets rotation with the aforementioned players absent.

The NBA regular season is scheduled to resume on July 30.

Brooklyn Nets: Sean Marks talks Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving’s health and input

Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving

Last summer, the Brooklyn Nets signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to four-year, max-level contracts. Durant has missed the entire 2019-20 season as he rehabs from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the 2019 NBA playoffs. Meanwhile, Irving has been limited to 20 games this season due to a handful of injuries.

As the NBA gears up for the resumption of the 2019-20 regular season, Nets general manager Sean Marks feels it’s important to take into account the long game with Durant and Irving regarding them playing this season (quotes by means of Brian Lewis of the New York Post).

“[Irving] is doing well. But like Kevin, you have to look at the risk-reward. When you have a lot of money and your future tied to a couple guys — the whole team, but these two guys are an integral part of it — they haven’t had the appropriate buildup,” Marks said Friday on WFAN. “The last thing you want to do is put these guys out there when they haven’t had the appropriate workload and buildup.”

The Nets parted ways with head coach Kenny Atkinson in March, subsequently promoting Jacque Vaughn to interim head coach. Vaughn coached two games prior to the NBA season being suspended.

Marks feels that Durant and Irving should have some input on the team’s head-coaching future.

“It would not be smart of us if we were not to involve some of these key players in this decision,” Marks said. “Kevin, Kyrie, we’re going to pick their brains on what they’re looking for in a leader, what they need. They’ve been brutally honest so far.”

Marks makes it clear that the two stars want to win a championship with the Nets.

“I’m not going to be asking Kevin to come down to Orlando to evaluate anybody. When you get to the level of those elite players, they have ultimate goals in mind. They want to be held accountable. Kevin and Kyrie have told me they want to win a championship in Brooklyn.”

Brooklyn Nets: Jarrett Allen talks NBA bubble, his role in team’s rotation

Brooklyn Nets, Jarrett Allen

In an interview with Brian Lewis of the New York Post, Brooklyn Nets big man Jarrett Allen expressed uncertainty about whether players will be able to fully abide by the rules of the NBA bubble in Walt Disney World later this month.

“It’s going to be 310 players or something like that. Take NBA players out of it: That’s a lot of people to make sure you have complete control and complete guidelines over. Then you add the NBA aspect, a bunch of grown men in this situation. We have our needs, we have our wants, and you know how we are,” Allen said with a smile. “I agree there’s going to be some level of hardship like Dame [Damian Lillard] said.”

Despite the varying levels of apprehension Allen feels the players are in good hands with the NBA and Walt Disney World.

“For everybody, including myself, it’s a little bit of worry. We’re all going to an unknown,” Allen said. “But at the end of the day, I have no doubt the two powerhouses — Disney and the NBA — are coming up with the best solution for us. Obviously, there’s a little doubt in my mind; we’re all human. But I’m confident.

Allen ultimately determined his best choice was to suit up for Brooklyn this summer.

“I did question myself whether it’s worth risking my health. But at the end of the day, weighing the options, it’s better for me to go.”

The Brooklyn Nets could use some more big men

Head coach Jacque Vaughn’s rotation will be thin inside, as center DeAndre Jordan will be sitting out the resumption of the NBA season in the wake of testing positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, fellow big man Nic Claxton is out for the season with a shoulder injury, and forward Wilson Chandler announced he will also be sitting out.

Allen feels there’s “some” pressure on him to answer the bell.

“There is some pressure. I don’t want to say I’m the last big standing, as bad as that sounds. There’s some pressure for me to be able to stay healthy and help the team succeed,” Allen said.

“I’ve been in this position before… Rookie year I was the main big playing, then last year when Ed [Davis] got hurt I had the load, and this year this happened. I just need to come out and prove I’m able to play at this level again.”

Allen is averaging 10.6 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game this season.

Brooklyn Nets: The COVID-19 Nightmare Continues

It was only a few months ago when a report came out that four Brooklyn Nets players, one of them being Kevin Durant, tested positive for COVID-19. Now, in the last 48 hours, two more Nets have publicly announced that they too have tested positive for the virus.

DeAndre Jordan, at 9:34pm EST on Monday night, tweeted the following about how he found out he had tested positive for COVID-19:

Several hours earlier, it was reported that Spencer Dinwiddie also had tested positive for the virus after feeling COVID-19 symptoms such as chest tightness and a fever. While Jordan has made it clear he will not be playing when the NBA season resumes, Dinwiddie has been hopeful he can recover from the virus in time to rejoin the team hopefully during the playoffs. He had this to say in response to Woj implying Dinwiddie was strongly considering not joining the team in Orlando.

It’s been a rough few months for Nets fans who hoped to see some form of the team they envisioned way back when KD and Kyrie signed in last July. Fans got their hopes up several weeks ago that the two superstars might return when basketball resumes in late July, a rumor that was shut down quickly by both players.

In the last two weeks, it was reported that two more players would not be traveling to Orlando with the team, as the young power forward Nic Claxton had season-ending should-surgery several days ago and journeyman Wilson Chandler has chosen to spend more with his family this summer. Add DeAndre Jordan and possibly Spencer Dinwiddie to the mix, and that’s 6 key contributors the Nets will be missing when play resumes in Orlando. Some fans may be optimistic about the recent signings of Tyler Johnson and Justin Anderson, but at this point, fans will be watching an almost entirely different team than the one we saw for most of the year.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that more than anything, we hope Spencer, DeAndre, and all the professional athletes that have tested positive for COVID-19 get well soon. This virus is terrifying for these athletes and their families to have to endure, and I wish them nothing but the best during their recovery period. For the Nets players who have chosen not to return to the bubble for reasons outside of health, such as Wilson Chandler and Kyrie Irving, I have nothing but respect for those men and their decisions. They have a right to either fight for the cause they believe in or spend time with their family during these scary times.

While the Nets will be missing a large portion of their team in Orlando, they still will have Caris LeVert, who was playing the best basketball of his career prior to the season being suspended. Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris should most likely be traveling with the team as well. They should still be competitive and put up a fight in the first round of the playoffs. But many Nets fans can rest assured that this team at full strength and health next year, will be a real title contender and quite possibly the favorite in the East.

Check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your latest Brooklyn Nets news and listen to the Fireside Nets w/ Spen & Nick podcast!

Brooklyn Nets sign Justin Anderson

Brooklyn Nets, Justin Anderson

Wilson Chandler’s one-way ticket to Walt Disney World has been transferred. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Brooklyn Nets have signed Justin Anderson.

This move comes on the heels of Chandler, who appeared in 35 games this season, telling the Nets that he won’t be present when the 2019-20 NBA regular season resumes in late-July. Chandler was averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Anderson appeared in three games for the Nets this season, playing on a 10-day contract. Across those games he averaged 5.7 minutes per contest. Anderson also played for the team’s G-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets.

Across 16 games, 14 of which he started, Anderson averaged 20.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Anderson spent time with the Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks. He was selected by the Mavericks with the 21st pick in the 2015 NBA Draft out of Virginia. The forward is averaging 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game for his career.

The Nets recently waived guard Theo Pinson. He appeared in 51 games for the Nets over the last two seasons after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2018. Brooklyn subsequently signed guard Tyler Johnson. Johnson previously appeared in 31 games for the Phoenix Suns this season, averaging 5.7 points per game.

The Nets (30-34) are the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, eight and a half games behind the sixth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers, a half-game ahead of the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic and six games ahead of the ninth-seeded Washington Wizards.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving aren’t expected to make the trip to Florida. Durant, recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, recently said on the “Dawg Talk” podcast that he wouldn’t play if he were healthy.

“I feel, me right now, I probably wouldn’t have played because the unknown going into that situation looks crazy right now, seeing so many new cases. It’s just so unpredictable. It’s easy for me to say right now because I’m injured, but I probably wouldn’t have went down there [to Orlando].”

Former Net Vince Carter Officially Retires: One of the Greatest Athletes to ever put on an NBA Uniform

Brooklyn Nets, Vince Carter

In the history of the NBA, how many players can say that their career spanned over 4 decades? The answer is only one: Vince Carter. The 8 time All-Star officially retired earlier today on The Ringer’s “Winging It” podcast. The decision did not come as a surprise, as Carter has been hinting at his retirement all season and the Atlanta Hawks were not invited to participate in Orlando when the NBA resumes in late July. You can see his official retirement statement in the tweet below:

Recapping Vince Carter’s Prolific NBA Career

Vince Carter was selected #5 overall in the 1998 draft by the Golden State Warriors, but was instantly traded to the Raptors for his teammate and the #4 pick in the draft, Antawn Jamison. Carter bust onto the scene with Toronto, averaging 18.3 ppg and 5.7 rpg in his rookie season, and quickly became known for his high flying, earth-shattering finishes at the rim. These finishes would usually result in a highlight-reel dunk but occasionally, Carter would opt for the acrobatic layup instead. Carter instantly became one of the most popular players in the league among young fans and garnered the nickname “Air Canada.” He was responsible for one of the greatest Slam Dunk contest performances of all time and also delivered one of the most disrespectful in-game dunks of all time during the 2000 Olympics, both videos can be seen below:

In Carter’s second year, his ppg ballooned up to 25.7 and alongside his cousin Tracy McGrady, and the two brought the Raptors to their first ever playoff appearance. After McGrady was dealt in the following season, Carter established himself among the top #2 guards in the league, averaging a career best 27.6 ppg in just his 3rd season. Carter even had a cameo as himself in the movie Like Mike (2002), as the player Calvin Cambridge (main character in Like Mike) had to make a play against in order to send his fictional team, the LA Knights, to the playoffs, despite losing his ability to play basketball “like Michael Jordan.” Like Michael Jordan, Carter had played his college ball at North Carolina, and the two (at their peaks) shared an elite athleticism trait rivaled by few in the NBA. In 2003, Carter gave up his all-star spot so Michael Jordan could play in the final all-star game of his career.

After 6 stellar seasons in Toronto, Carter was traded to the New Jersey Nets in the after 20 games into the 2004 season. The Nets, coming off back to back Finals appearances the two years prior, needed to fill a scoring void after losing Kenyon Martin to the Nuggets, and believed Carter was the man to do so. While the Nets never returned to an NBA Finals with Vince Carter, the combination of Carter/Kidd/Jefferson proved to be a dominant force in the East. VC benefited substantially from Kidd’s play-making ability and the two connected on so many beautiful ally-oops, as seen below:

Nets fans fell in love with “Vinsanity” since they had never been witness to such an athletic monster on their team. In other words, Carter was the closest thing to MJ that Nets fans would ever have the privilege of watching. Carter would go on to play 5 seasons with the Nets, averaging 23.6 ppg over that span. The Nets made the playoffs 3 out of the 5 seasons Carter was there, but unfortunately the team fell apart after the 2006-2007 season, as Jason Kidd was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2007-2008 season and Carter was dealt to the Magic in the summer of 2009.

While many believed Carter’s career to be over after his tenure with the Nets, VC continued to defy the odds. Carter was able to be a great complement to Dwight Howard and in two seasons with Orlando, managed to average 16.3 ppg. In the 2009-2010 playoffs, Carter helped the Magic reach the Eastern Conference Finals, before losing 4 games to 2 against the Boston Celtics. It was the only time in Carter’s career he would reach conference finals series.  After his stint in Orlando, Carter would go on to play for 5 more teams, including the Suns, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Kings, and Hawks.

While he never won a championship, he was always viewed as a great teammate and an overall positive contributor to every team he’s ever been a part of. Carter was able to last as long as he did in the NBA due to his ability to adjust his role according to whatever the team he was playing for at that time needed. Even in the last several years, he developed into a great 3 and D player, mixing in the occasional highlight reel dunk/layup. He is no doubt a 1st ballot Hall-of-Famer and will be go down as one of the greatest athletes to ever play the sport of basketball.

Check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your latest Brooklyn Nets news and listen to the Fireside Nets w/ Spen & Nick podcast!

 

Brooklyn Nets: Tyler Johnson In, Theo Pinson Out

Tyler Johnson, Brooklyn Nets

Late last night, the Brooklyn Nets made one of the first big moves of pre-Orlando free agency by signing veteran Tyler Johnson. The 28-year-old guard, who has played for the Heat and the Suns in his 7 year career, will continue his journey as a key player in the rotation for the Nets. Johnson was having a down year for the Suns before play was suspended, averaging only 5.7 points in limited playing time, but Net’s fans hope he’s able to capture some of the same magic he had early in his career with the Heat.

Nets Have Had their Eye on Tyler Johnson for a While

This isn’t the first time the Nets showed interest in Johnson. Back in 2016, the Nets had put out a $50 million offer sheet for Johnson, that was matched by the Miami Heat. Now a guard has been added to the mix, general manager Sean Marks has a decision to make on Chris Chiozza. Chiozza gave the Nets some great minutes down the stretch as a backup option to Spencer Dinwiddie but is currently a free agent. He is not guaranteed a spot on the roster but many Nets fans feel bringing Chiozza back would be in the team’s best interest, especially with Kyrie Irving sidelined until next season.

With Tyler Johnson coming in, the Nets also decided to permanently waive fan-favorite Theo Pinson. What Pinson lacked in on-court production he made up as a motivator on the bench. Whether it was celebrating big baskets by dancing on the sidelines or constantly hyping up teammates after significant plays, Pinson helped create the culture in Brooklyn that helped propel the team to a playoff run last year and made the team attractive enough for two of the biggest superstars in the league to want to play here. Every great team needs a hype man and Pinson for the last few years was that guy.

Unfortunately in attempting to build a championship roster, Marks has had to make certain sacrifices along the way. In cutting Pinson, allowing David Nwaba (another fan favorite) to sign a two year deal with the Rockets, and trading away the Net’s best player from a year ago in D’Angelo Russell, Marks has shown he’s willing to make the tough decision to take this team to the next level.

Check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your latest Brooklyn Nets news and listen to the Fireside Nets w/ Spen & Nick podcast!

 

Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Durant Buys 5% Ownership in MLS Team Philadelphia Union

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Durant is a 2x NBA Champion, 10x NBA All Star, one of the most dangerous scorers of all-time, and now, a part owner of the Philadelphia Union. Durant purchased a 5% ownership stake in the club, with possibility to add another 5% in the future. For those unfamiliar with the Union, they are Philly’s official MLS team.  The Union were added to the MLS in 2010 as an expansion team and plays their home matches at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. The club officially announced their partnership with Kevin Durant on Twitter earlier today in a series of several tweets:

Durant also tweeted his excitement to join the Philadelphia Union ownership team.

 

KD has had an interesting (and somewhat scary) last few months. After rehabbing for the majority of the year from his Achilles Tendon injury suffered in last year’s NBA championship, Durant was one of several Nets diagnosed with COVID-19 shortly after the season was suspended in March. Thankfully, KD and the other players infected were able to recover 100% from the virus.

In the last few weeks, many fans and members of the media began speculating whether Durant would return to the court when the NBA resumes play in late July. Durant set the record straight in an https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js“>interview with Marc Spears earlier this month, stating he has no intentions to play basketball until next season.

With Durant’s basketball return set in stone for next season, it seems he has been mainly focusing on building his off-the-court business, and who could blame him? Durant has already acted in the movie “Thunderstruck,” is heavily involved with Thirty Five Media and their show, “The Boardroom,” and has endorsement deals with Nike, Sprint, Gatorade, Panini, General Electric, and 2K Sports. Now that he has added “owner of a professional sports team” to his list of accomplishments, I am sure he is already focusing on his next big off-the-court endeavor.

Nets’ Kyrie Irving leads inspiring phone call to question NBA’s plan for return

Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving

On Friday evening, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving led a conference-call of 80+ NBA and WNBA players about potentially not playing again this season. These would be due to the coronavirus risks and to protest the racial injustices taking place in the United States

“I don’t support going into Orlando,” said Irving on the call. “I’m not with the systematic racism and the bulls**t. Something smells a little fishy.”

Sources say that other outspoken players included Carmelo Anthony of the Trailblazers and Chris Paul of the Thunder. The WNBA players in the call are reportedly willing to back the NBA players and follow suit in their league. The WNBA just submitted a return to play proposal to the players, entailing a 22-game season with full pay.

“I’m willing to give up everything I have (for social reform),” added Irving in the call.

From what sources have heard, a lot of players respect Irving for this and would potentially follow suit and sit out. One player told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that “he’s trying to give players a platform to be able to have a discussion — on the bubble, racial equality and unity…It’s a good call.”

Throughout the past week, the NBA was finalizing their plans to return to play at Disney World in Orlando. But with the racial injustices and rising coronavirus cases in Florida, players are having second thoughts. If players ultimately decide that they do not want to play the rest of the season, then the season would just be outright canceled. From there, we would likely see a somewhat normal offseason, but we aren’t to that point yet.

Brooklyn Nets: Rest of Season will not include Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

Since the NBA season was suspended in mid-March, one of the hottest trending topics for NBA fans to debate has been the return of Kevin Durant. Many predicted that due to the added break in time during the suspended season, that both Durant and Kyrie would be able to finish their rehab and contribute when the season resumed. Unfortunately, this narrative was shared by the majority of #NetsTwitter, only to be let down when Anthony “Pooch” Puccio of NetsDaily when he tweeted the following:

This news was confirmed hours later by Marc J. Spears, who posted an interview with Kevin Durant that he had conducted on The Undefeated. When asked about if he would be playing for the Nets in Orlando when the season returns, Durant responded by saying “My season is over. I don’t plan on playing at all. We decided last season when it first happened that I was just going to wait until the following season. I had no plans of playing at all this season.” You can read the whole interview below:

As for Durant’s teammate Kyrie Irving, news surfaced yesterday regarding his status as well. Irving is interested in traveling with the Nets to Orlando, he just won’t be in uniform. Woj reported the following on Irving’s status:

So no Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving when the NBA resumes play in August. We will ride with our Spencer Dindwiddie & Caris Levert led team, who happened to finish the season on a hot streak with interim Head coach Jacque Vaughn.

Check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your latest Brooklyn Nets news and listen to the Fireside Nets w/ Spen & Nick podcast!