City Sports Report

Bad Long-term Brooklyn Nets Prognosis

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By Lloyd Carroll

While the New York Knicks’ poor record this season, combined with the arrival of president/general manager/savior Phil Jackson have made them a daily backpage story, the Brooklyn Nets’ disappointing season has largely gone under the radar.

In many ways the Brooklyn Nets have bigger problems. Nets general manager Billy King badly mortgaged the team’s future by trading for veteran forward Joe Johnson in 2012 and for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry in June 2013. The net result was that the Atlanta Hawks, who have the best record in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, and the rebuilding Boston Celtics, basically have the Nets top draft picks for four out of the upcoming five years.

Kevin Garnett still can play; unfortunately he can only do so in small batches of minutes at a time in a game. Paul Pierce only played a year for the Nets before leaving as a free agent for the Washington Wizards, and Jason Terry, once one of the most feared three-point shooters in the league, lost his touch once he wore a Nets uniform and was dealt to the Sacramento Kings.

I asked Billy King at the time if he was concerned that he was mortgaging the team’s future by trading a lot of tomorrow for a very small window of opportunity today when he made the deal in June 2013.

King concurred with that assessment but also stated that he felt that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov would not be hampered by such pedestrian concerns as budgets or NBA salary caps. Of course back then the ruble was strong, as were Russian oil prices. Things haven’t been so rosy however in Putin-land since the Red Army attacked Ukraine. In retrospect, his headline-grabbing trade with the Boston Celtics now looks as smart as Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll’s decision to pass on the Patriots’ one-yard line with 20 seconds to go in the Super Bowl.

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