Posted on: December 14, 2011 12:02 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 11:59 am
So now we know why the Magic never filed those tampering charges against the Nets.
For one thing, the latest developments in the Chris Paul saga point to New Jersey (i.e. Brooklyn) moving into prime position to land All-Star center Dwight Howard in a trade -- if Orlando decides to go that route.
Or so the Nets hope.
The Lakers re-entered the Paul trade talks Tuesday night, and would need a third team to funnel the young prospects to New Orleans along with Pau Gasol in return for the gifted point guard. Clippers brass were unfazed by these developments, sources told CBSSports.com, having expected that the Lakers would re-enter the talks at some point -- either for real or for leverage purposes.
UPDATE: The re-emergence of the Lakers, who had a three-team trade for Paul also involving Houston fall through when league executives deemed it too expensive and not yielding enough young talent for New Orleans, combined with other factors Tuesday to signal that the Nets' pursuit of Howard was about to reach a new level of urgency. One of those factors was free-agent big man Nene, one of the Nets' top free-agent targets, agreeing to a five-year, $67 million deal to stay in Denver.
If the Lakers sent Gasol to New Orleans for Paul, they presumably could not find enough talent elsewhere to include in a separate deal for Howard as well -- although the Los Angeles Times reported that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was engaged in conversations about both Paul and Howard. The Mavericks, the third team on Howard's list of preferred trade destinations, continued to dutifully clear 2012 cap space Tuesday, an effort sources say is geared toward a possible run at Howard if he gets to free agency or Texan Deron Williams if he is not persuaded to stay with the Nets when the team moves to Brooklyn in 2012.
League sources confirmed that talks between the Nets and Magic gained momentum in recent days and that New Jersey was working on a complicated set of scenarios to land Howard that could involve one or two other teams. The Nets are "pushing hard," a source said, but the biggest hurdle was uncertainty over whether the Magic are ready to give up on trying to persuade Howard to stay in Orlando.
A person familiar with the discussions described them as "very complicated," and two other people confirmed that one scenario would loop in the Trail Blazers as a third team to provide swingman Gerald Wallace as a second primary piece along with Nets center Brook Lopez in a package for Howard. As part of the deal, New Jersey also would have to take back Hedo Turkoglu and the $34 million left on his contract.
UPDATE: A league source told CBSSports.com that the Magic are "not in a rush to do anything," and that the team's first priority is to keep Howard. The scenario as currently constructed with Wallace joining Lopez in Orlando as the primary pieces is not enough to persuade the organization to move forward with the deal quickly, the person said.
"If people think things are imminent, then they're being led down the wrong path," the person said.
The organization is determined, however, to avoid another Shaq scenario -- when Shaquille O'Neal left Orlando as a free agent in 1996 and the team got nothing in return. If the only option is to trade Howard, sources said the team will be take its time to find the right deal. GM Otis Smith will not, and has not, limited himself to exploring deals with the three teams Howard has signaled he's willing to sign a long-term deal with -- the Nets, Lakers and Mavericks, sources said.
Though it isn't certain yet whether the Magic are ready to go through with a deal parting with Howard, Orlando seems to be seeking some elements of the kind of package New Jersey worked for months to assemble for Denver last season in its pursuit of Carmelo Anthony: a combination of established players, prospects and draft picks. Given Howard's stature and the stakes for both teams, this package will have to be substantially more valuable -- and thus, more difficult to assemble.
Which brings us back to those tampering charges that never materialized.
The Magic last week were weighing the possibility of filing a tampering charge against the Nets over a reported meeting in Miami involving Howard and Nets officials. The alleged meeting occurred before Smith gave Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, permission to speak with the Nets, Lakers and Mavericks about a possible trade. A league source told CBSSports.com Tuesday that the potential tampering charges are "on the back burner" while the team weighs its options. Knowing that the Nets may turn out to be the best trade partner, the Magic were reluctant to burn that bridge before the negotiations even got off the ground, sources said.
A lot is in flux in the Magic front office, with team president Alex Martins taking over as CEO for the departed Bob Vander Weide, and now the brass are trying to evaluate what is the best option for dealing with the Howard situation, sources said.
"There's going to be a little bit of a bidding process if anybody wants him," an executive within the league said Tuesday.
The Nets' pursuit of Howard is tied to their acquisition of Williams from the Jazz last season, and now is inexorably linked to the Paul talks, which are perhaps the most complicated trade negotiation in NBA history. League executives Joel Litvin and Stu Jackson, acting on behalf of the 29 owners who have custody of the franchise, are running the talks for the Hornets. After being declared dead Monday, negotiations between the Clippers and league office reignited later that evening and continued Tuesday -- with the Clippers waiting for the price for Paul to come down since they were the only team bidding for him.
The Clippers' successful waiver claim of veteran point guard Chauncey Billups undoubtedly helped that effort, as Clippers GM Neil Olshey was then free to include point guard Eric Bledsoe in the deal. But Olshey was still unwilling to part with both sharpshooter Eric Gordon and the Timberwolves' unprotected 2012 first-round pick, and that was primarily the reason no conclusion was reached Tuesday, sources said.
The best the Nets can offer for Howard is Lopez, a less accomplished but more durableversion of the Lakers' Andrew Bynum, plus multiple first-round picks and a signed-and-traded Kris Humphries. But the Nets have been exploring ways to bring in a third or even fourth team that could convey more assets to Orlando, and New Jersey GM Billy King has signaled to associates that such a maneuver won't be a problem. King has proved to be one of the most adept executives in the league at assembling complicated, multi-team deals.
Posted on: December 5, 2011 8:01 pm
Tyson Chandler's hunch that he'll be wearing a new uniform soon could prove to be true. And it may have nothing to do with Chandler and everything to do with Deron Williams.
With serious interest registered from the Nets, Golden State, Houston and Sacramento, four teams with cap space and flexibility, the man who served as the glue for the Mavericks' 2011 NBA title could be slipping away -- but for reasons that go well beyond the uncertain free-agent market for Chandler himself.
The Mavs are in no rush to pony up a max offer to retain Chandler, largely because they want to maintain flexibility for next summer's free-agent class -- which just happens to include Dallas' own Williams, multiple sources told CBSSports.com. While much of the speculation in this five-day run-up to the start of free agency Friday has centered around 2012 free agents Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, Williams' situation is in many ways more intriguing.
"Everything is sort of stuck because of Chris and Dwight," one agent said Monday.
Add Deron to that list.
The Nets traded Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and two first-round picks to Utah for Williams in February and are in the process of trying to assemble enough talent around him to keep him with the team when it moves to Brooklyn next season. Like Paul and Howard, Williams has an early-termination option that would make him an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Williams already has indicated he will not sign an extension this season, just as Paul and Howard will not. Howard remains intent on finding his way to Los Angeles to join the Lakers, while Paul has his sights set on New York -- though he remains open to a trade that would team him up with Howard in Orlando.
Williams spoke with members of the New York-New Jersey media Monday and proclaimed in a radio interview on New York's WFAN that there's a 90 percent chance he stays with the Nets. New Jersey has expressed interest in free agents Chandler, Nene and Caron Butler, but the big prize that would make D-Will's decision to stay on the East Coast a no-brainer would be a trade for Howard -- a tantalizing scenario that could play out one way or another by the end of the week.
New rules that dampen the home team's advantage in offering its own prospective free agent a significantly larger extension -- and essentially take away the extend-and-trade and sign-and-trade safety nets -- are expected to force the Hornets and Magic to make quick decisions on how to handle Paul's and Howard's impending free agency. The Nets, having given up so many assets for Williams, are in a position to be more patient and do everything possible to entice their star to stay put.
But if the Nets are unsuccessful in their efforts to land Howard -- Brook Lopez, first-round picks and absorbing Hedo Turkoglu's contract doesn't figure to be enough -- then Williams will have an interesting decision to make come July 1. And the buzz among front-office executives Monday was that Dallas owner Mark Cuban would be in a position to sell Williams on taking less money to play in his hometown.
Once Williams becomes a free agent, he could get a five-year, $100 million deal to stay with the Nets. Signing with Dallas would net Williams only a four-year, $74 million deal. How much playing in his hometown is worth to Williams would depend, in part, on what pieces the Nets surround him with between now and then.
Of the teams expected to contend for a championship this season, only Dallas would have the cap space to sign a max player next summer and still have room to do more. If the Mavs used the amnesty provision on Brendan Haywood next summer, they'd be more than $21 million under the cap -- with Dirk Nowitzki still around, draining jumpers.
Jason Terry and Jason Kidd come off the books after the season, and the Mavs will want their Hall of Fame point guard to pass the torch to a star in his prime and keep Nowitzki in the hunt for more titles during the final two years of his contract. In addition to Williams, Paul and Howard, the 2012 free-agent class is loaded with attractive restricted free agents, such as Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon, O.J. Mayo and George Hill -- not to mention Derrick Rose, who nobody envisions leaving Chicago.
So the lackluster nature of this free-agent class compared to next summer's, combined with confusion about the new rules and an unwillingness to be the team that sets the market, have slowed the activity with four days to go before camps and free agency officially open. Also, don't underestimate how the shortened season provides an incentive for teams to pass on significant moves now when July 1 is only a few months away.
The biggest impediment to the wheeling and dealing in 2011 has everything to do with 2012 and beyond.
Posted on: January 22, 2011 7:51 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2011 9:34 pm
NEWARK, N.J. – Few players in the NBA have a better perspective on Carmelo Anthony’s erstwhile flirtation with becoming a New Jersey Net than Jason Kidd.
Kidd, the player who revived the Nets franchise with back-to-back Finals appearances, was making his first appearance as an opposing player in his former team’s temporary home at the Prudential Center Saturday night. Kidd, who was traded to Dallas at the February 2008 trade deadline under somewhat similar circumstances facing Anthony, said he hasn’t spoken with Melo about the situation. But Kidd didn’t have to; he painted a pretty thorough picture to reporters of the dilemma that Anthony was wrestling with before the proposed trade to New Jersey blew up this past week.
As to Issue No. 1, the Nets’ future home in Brooklyn, Kidd provided the grim perspective that only a player could have.
“Unless it’s built, you can’t believe it,” Kidd said. “That’s the nature of the beast. You look at (Madison Square) Garden, they’re redoing the Garden. So until it’s built, guys can’t believe it. The weather and they’re saying it takes two years … well, I heard the same thing when I was here. So I don’t know how long I’ve been gone, but you can see how long it takes things to get built. If it’s not built, they’re gonna be playing here.”
Kidd’s point is well taken, and it was a perspective that no doubt bothered Anthony as he dealt with four months of attempts by the Nuggets, the Nets and his representatives at Creative Artists Agency to steer him to New Jersey on the hopes of a future in his native Brooklyn. The announcement that the Nets were moving to a new arena in Brooklyn was first made in 2006, yet ground wasn’t broken on the Barclays Center until last spring. Concrete was poured in June, and the steel started going up in November. As of Jan. 10, construction had reached the suite/concourse level (see photo). It is scheduled to open in time for the 2012-13 season.
But players are realists, and believe in things they can see (like an arena) or touch (like a giant stack of money or All-Star teammates.)
“I was very fortunate,” Kidd said. “When I was here, I had great teammates and a president (Rod Thorn) who knew what he was doing. So that makes your job a whole lot easier.”
Kidd was asked if there’s a New Jersey stigma among potential trade targets and free agents around the league. If the question were a basketball, Kidd would have dribbled it out of bounds.
“Um, I, you know, it’s a, it’s a great state,” Kidd said. “One, Jersey’s great. It’s close to the city, great restaurants, great people, great fans. Unfortunately, you have the Turnpike from the airport and that’s pretty much all people get to see. Well, if you’re a golfer, you’ve got great golf courses here.”
Kidd, whose Mavs are expected to at least inquire about what it would take to get Anthony on a rental deal now that the Nets are out of the picture, offered an interesting piece of advice he’d give Anthony if he were advising him. With so much talent concentrated in the Eastern Conference, why wouldn’t Anthony want to stay in the West?
“If I was his advisor, I wouldn’t want him to go East,” Kidd said. “But if he wants to go back home to New York or if as close as he can get is Jersey, then you wish him the best. But you look at the Eastern Conference, there’s some talent over on this side. Then you look at Jersey, New York or whoever gets him, because somebody’s going to get him in the summer time.”
That’s where Kidd wound up going back to the original point, which is how similar his situation was when he got traded by the Nets three years ago. For Kidd, the resolution went all the way down to the trade deadline, and he believes Anthony’s will, too.
“Whenever the trade deadline comes about and goes, that’s the only way it can be solved,” Kidd said. “At the end of the day, he’s going to be there or he’s not.”
Posted on: December 11, 2010 4:17 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2010 4:21 pm
NEW YORK – Carmelo Anthony tested his sore knee during practice Saturday on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and then gave Nuggets fans a tantalizing bit of information.
“My mind is not made up,” Anthony said after completing his first full-speed drills after missing two games leading up to Sunday’s noon ET tipoff against the Knicks, one of his suitors via a trade or free agency – whichever comes first. “My mind is just to focus on this game [Sunday]; that’s really all I’m focused on right now. My mind is not made up. Where that’s coming from, I don’t know. But my mind is not made up.”
Three times Anthony said it, perhaps to drive home the point that he hasn’t mentally checked out on Denver. Not yet, anyway. After the interview scrum at the Reebok Sports Club broke up, he told CBSSports.com that this was the precise message he delivered to Denver management about a week ago. With 2 1-2 months to go before the Feb. 24 trade deadline, Anthony said he told Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri and executive Josh Kroenke that he hasn’t ruled out signing a three-year, $65 million extension offer that has been on the table since the spring.
“I met with them last week and I told them I’d think about it,” Melo said. “Which is more than I’ve said. We’ll see. We’ve been having a lot of great conversations.”
Indecision and inertia have defined the Melo saga since his representatives at Creative Artists Agency informed Nuggets officials in September that he was seeking a trade or would strongly consider opting out of his $18.5 million contract for the 2011-12 season and become a free agent. The Nuggets, in front-office turmoil at the time, decided not to move forward with a four-team trade that would’ve sent Anthony to the Nets – who are moving to Anthony’s birthplace, Brooklyn, in a year-and-a-half.
Though Anthony has maintained frequent dialogue with Ujiri and Kroenke in the weeks and months since then, direct public comments from him on his intentions have been rare.
How this latest clue should be interpreted depends largely on the perspective or agendas of the teams and executives involved. By telling Ujiri and Kroenke that he’d “think about it,” was he trying to express a softening of his desire to orchestrate a trade to the Nets or Knicks, his two preferred destinations? Or is the fact that he's still thinking about staying in Denver for $65 million -- presumably far more than he'd get as a free agent under a new collective bargaining agreement -- only bolster the belief that he's as good as gone?
CBSSports.com reported Wednesday that Nuggets management has all but decided to trade Anthony for the best possible package of young assets if he does not signal his intentions to sign the extension before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Privately, Nuggets officials still hold out hope they can keep the three-time All-Star, and believe the team’s strong start and the way they’ve explained their plan to him represent a show of good faith on their part to move forward with him as the centerpiece of a contender.
But sources also told CBSSports.com in recent days that the Nuggets will not fall into the so-called Cleveland trap. The Cavs sacrificed plenty to surround LeBron James with players they believed could help him win a championship, only to watch James head to Miami as a free agent anyway. According to people familiar with his strategy, Ujiri is determined not to sacrifice the future by acquiring such players – aging, expensive pieces like Antawn Jamison, for example – in what might end up being a futile effort to keep Anthony.
At the same time, the Nuggets believe they need clarity from Anthony before the trade deadline so they know how and when to proceed with their plan. Anthony, however, told CBSSports.com Saturday that he doesn’t believe he needs to sign the extension before Feb. 24.
“I don’t think so,” he said.
One way or another, Anthony said Saturday he believes the situation will be resolved by Feb. 24, though he was cryptic in his explanation of how it will go down.
“I think it’ll be decided one way or the other,” Anthony said. “… We’ll have an agreement one way or another.”
The basketball eyes of New York are on the Knicks, who have turned their season around with 11 wins in 12 games heading into Sunday’s matinee with Melo. Anthony, a native New Yorker, agreed that it’s good for the game when the Knicks are good and even took some credit for a pep talk he had with Amar’e Stoudemire when the Knicks – struggling badly at the time – played in Denver last month.
“Obviously what I said to him in Denver has really crept in on him, has really sunk in," Anthony said. "He’s doing everything I told him to do."
“To get them boys on track, to do what he’s got to do,” Anthony said. “At that time, they had lost a lot of games in a row and were on a little losing streak. So I just told him to get everybody together and lead that team.”
The wild card in the equation is whether Anthony would agree to an extension with New Jersey as part of a trade to the Nets. Sources say the best trade proposal Denver has received remains the offer from New Jersey centered around No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors and two first-round picks. Anthony provided no clues on that front Saturday, and he counted himself among those who are curious as to whether the Nets can rise to prominence in the same city with the Knicks when they move to Brooklyn in time for the 2012-13 season.
“We shall see,” Anthony said. “Man, I think that’s what a lot of people are waiting for, for that team to move to Brooklyn and see how it’s going to turn out -- if it’s going to be a Lakers-Clippers type of situation or what. I think a lot of people are anticipating that move.”
And Anthony himself? What does he think?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m one of the guys that are waiting to see how that’s going to turn out.”
Spoken like a much-sought-after superstar who remains undecided on a lot of issues that will determine his future.
Posted on: February 11, 2010 11:15 am
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: November 24, 2009 10:11 am
Edited on: November 24, 2009 10:35 am
The Nets' proposed Brooklyn arena, facing a series of deadlines that could have imperiled the project and the team's sale to a Russian billionaire, has cleared a significant legal hurdle. The New York State Court of Appeals rejected a key challenge Tuesday, clearing the way for the state to seize land and issue tax-free bonds for constructions costs.
Here are the breaking stories from the New York Times and Bloomberg News.
More details to follow.
UPDATE: The court rejected a challenge seeking to prevent the state from using eminent domain to seize land for the $4.9 billion, 22-acre project, which also includes commercial and residential real estate development. Other lawsuits by opponents of the project are pending, but this hurdle was key because it clears the way for the state to meet a Dec. 31 IRS deadline to begin selling about $700 million in construction bonds with tax-free status. Without the bond issue, the project would face further delays that would jeopardize plans by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prohorov to buy a majority stake in the team and its new arena.
UPDATE: Nets owner Bruce Ratner issued a statement applauding his latest legal victory, saying, "Our commitment to the entire project is as strong today as when we started six years ago." But a key opponent said the fight to stop the development is "far from over."
"While this is a terrible day for taxpaying homeowners in New York, this is not the end of our fight to keep the government from stealing our homes and businesses," said Daniel Goldstein, spokesman for a group called Develop, Don't Destroy Brooklyn.
UPDATE: Among the other lawsuits pending is one filed last week in state Supreme Court by neighborhood groups and elected officials seeking to overturn the Empire State Development Corp.'s approval of a construction plan for the project. If those opponents obtain a temporary restraining order, it's not clear how that would affect the bond issue and other deadlines facing Ratner and the Nets.
The Nets (0-13) embark on a four-game road trip beginning in Denver Tuesday night, trying to avoid the worst start in NBA history. The 1988 Miami Heat and 1999 Clippers both started 0-17. The Nets have been devastated by injuries to key players Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, and Yi Jianlian, among others, and have been aggressively clearing salary-cap space in the hopes of luring two marquee free agents next summer. A key component of that strategy has been Ratner's plan to abandon the antiquated IZOD Center in the Meadowlands and move to a new arena within the New York City limits.
Posted on: April 6, 2009 6:19 pm
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?
Posted on: January 14, 2009 3:17 pm
A day after reporting that the Nets' discussions about playing preseason games in Newark, N.J., could be a prelude to a permanent move there, the Newark Star-Ledger dutifully followed up Wednesday with this: Never mind.
Star-Ledger basketball scribe Dave D'Alessandro got Nets CEO Brett Yormark on the phone and broke this piece of news: Yes, the Nets were considering moving their preseason games from East Rutherford to the Prudential Center next season, but those talks have ceased.
Yormark stated that the team continues to discuss preseason options that would expand the fan base, including Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. But he was adamant that such plans would have no bearing on the team's goal of relocating to a new arena in Brooklyn by the 2011-12 or 2012-13 season.
"It has nothing to do with us going to Brooklyn," Yormark said.
There were other developments Wednesday in the Nets' quest to inhabit Jay-Z's home borough, none of them good. Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz issued a statement saying that the $4 billion Atlantic Yards project -- which includes an estimated $1 billion Nets arena -- is no longer financially feasible. Markowitz, a supporter of the project, is calling for plans to be scaled back due to financing and economic concerns.
Barry Baum, the Nets' vice president for business and entertainment communications, provided the following statement from Forest City Ratner Companies, the commercial real estate firm run by Nets owner Bruce Ratner: "We are continuing to speak with many arena experts and working hard to find ways to build a world-class venue in an incredibly difficult economic environment."
Yormark told the Star-Ledger that construction was supposed to begin this year on the Brooklyn arena, but that no groundbreaking date has been set. Stay tuned.