Friday, June 28, 2013

In push for title, Nets trade for aging stars Garnett, Pierce; ticket prices said to be rising

Via Twitter
Some two weeks after hiring surprising new coach Jason Kidd, the former New Jersey Nets star and retiring New York Knick, the Brooklyn Nets yesterday announced a blockbuster trade.

Assuming the trade goes through, the Nets will gain aging Boston Celtics stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce (37 and 36 respectively next season) plus aging sixth man Jason Terry, in exchange for three first-round draft picks and five players, including forgotten starter and "Core Four" member Gerald Wallace (remember those ads, "Offseason Fisherman"?), one-dimensional rebounding ace Reggie Evans, tabloid fave Kris Humphries, and two other lesser lights.

The consensus: the Nets are short-term contenders, adding the toughness they lacked when losing to the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, and bringing them closer to majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov's pledge of a championship by 2015. And the Nets may emerge as the city's top team.

If Prokhorov will have to pay an enormous luxury tax--ultimately perhaps $84 million, according to the Times--well, he's rich, and the value of his Nets investment has already skyrocketed, as noted by Nets Daily.

Reaping new revenue

As Stefan Bondy reported in the Daily News, the new team configuration may soon be reflected in season ticket prices:
Via Twitter
A Barclays Center ticket rep seized the chance Thursday afternoon, warning prospective season-ticket holders that prices will hike in a foreshadowing email.
“If that happens, there is a very good chance prices go up as soon as tomorrow morning,” read an email obtained by The News. “I would strongly recommend securing before night’s end.”
Another email from a Barclays Center ticket manager read, “If indeed a high profile trade is consummated, all Full Season Prices will increase.”
ESPN columnist Ian O'Connor wrote:
But Prokhorov and his basketball man, [GM Billy] King, chased all of the above with a relentlessness required of a team trying to make a dent in the world's noisiest marketplace. And of course that was a part of this, too, the Nets' realization that the novelty of Brooklyn and their new digs, the Barclays Center, wasn't going to carry the day in Year 2. They needed to improve the product, and improve it they did.
Topping the Knicks

O'Connor added:
No, it isn't a great shot [to beat the Miami Heat], not with LeBron James at the height of his otherworldly powers, and not with Pat Riley promising to keep his band together for another tour or two. But it is a shot. The new Nets are right there with the improving Indiana Pacers (adding Danny Granger) and the improving Chicago Bulls (adding Derrick Rose), and that's a claim that can't be made by the neighboring New York Knicks.
The Post's Steve Serby wrote:
Unless [Amare] Stoudemire’s body can defy the odds and hold up, unless J.R Smith stays within striking distance of the 40-40 Club and proves Rihanna wrong, unless Tim Hardaway Jr. is at least half the player his old man used to be, you absolutely can make the case the Nets are now a better team on paper than the Knicks.
Still, as Will Leitch wrote in Sports On Earth, the Knicks fan base still rules:
• If you were at Barclays Center for any of the Knicks-Nets games this season you already knew this, but Knicks fans rather obviously outnumbered Nets fans. They were a ton louder too. And the cheer when Tim Hardaway Jr. was selected was the biggest non-Stern-related noise of the night.
Some cautions

Kelly Dwyer in Ball Don't Lie was perplexed, suggesting the Celtics still had too much payroll to rebuild. As for the Nets, he was skeptical:
They’re way over the luxury tax line, which means the team isn’t allowed by the NBA to compete with other franchises for players looking to play for salary cap exceptions, and they can’t engineer sign-and-trade deals to add depth while dealing out one of their massively compensated players. Pierce’s contract may run out after next season, but Garnett stipulated that he’d only waive his no-trade clause if the Nets guaranteed to pick up the team option on his contract for 2014-15. All while Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez alone make more than $201 million combined between now and 2017.
...It’s also hard to call this a “bad” trade for the Nets, because they’ll definitely improve, they weren’t getting out of their salary cap hell anyway and it’s not our money they’re spending. Still, if guard C.J. Watson opts out of his deal, the Nets will be on the books for nearly $97 million in payroll next year (with $80 million in luxury tax bills on top of that), with only nine players on the roster, and that includes two players (Tornike Shengailia, and Tyshawn Taylor) that you’ve never heard of.

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