Don't tell Jay-Z, but the Newark Star-Ledger had a piece Tuesday strongly implying that the Nets weighing the possibility of playing some preseason games in Newark, N.J., next season could be a prelude to scrapping the move to Brooklyn and staying in New Jersey permanently.
Dave D'Alessandro quoted a high-ranking Nets official saying that the possibility of staying in New Jersey if the Brooklyn project falls through has been discussed throughout the organization.
"That's what everyone is wondering," the person said. "With Brooklyn still up in the air, the question is whether they're warming to the idea of moving to Newark, even though it's clear that getting to Brooklyn is best for the long-term health of the franchise."
Barry Baum, the Nets' vice president for business and entertainment communications, told CBSSports.com Tuesday that any decision to play preseason games outside the IZOD Center would not affect the team's long-term goal of relocating to Brooklyn.
“They're totally completely different," Baum said. "We’re definitely moving to Brooklyn. What we do in the preseason has no bearing on anything.”
The Nets and NBA are unhappy with the antiquated IZOD Center, and the team is considering several offers to play preseason games in other arenas in the New York metropolitan area if financial agreements can be reached.
"We’re a regional team," Baum said. "So preseason offers you the opportunity to continue to regionalize yourself."
As for the long term, the Nets do not want to share a building with another tenant; the NHL's Devils currently play in Newark's Prudential Center. Although The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Nets owner Bruce Ratner is considering scaling back the Atlantic Yards project, the plan to relocate the Nets to Jay-Z's (and LeBron James') favorite borough are continuing to move forward.