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Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King defended Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry in a statement to Zach Lowe of ESPN's Grantland, following a report and a leaked audio tape of Ferry using racially charged language to describe Sudanese-born NBA player Luol Deng:
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Want to live in the same dwellings once inhabited by former Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd? Now you can. Kidd's 4-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom Riverside Avenue apartment is up for rent for a paltry $22,000 per month, now that Kidd's moved to Wisconsin to coach the Milwaukee Bucks.
From the New York Post:
His Manhattan apartment at the Aldyn, at 60 Riverside Blvd., is on the market for $22,000 a month. The four-bedroom, four-bathroom home includes a chef’s kitchen, Hudson River views and building amenities that athletes love: 40,000 square feet of “play” space, a pool and a gym with steam and sauna rooms, a pilates room, a kinesis room (yeah, we don’t know what that is either), dance studio, golf simulator, table tennis, billiards, a double-lane bowling alley, squash court — and a full regulation basketball court, natch, along with a Kidville-designed playroom, and a large courtyard with sitting areas with hammocks.
If you want to know what a $22,000 apartment looks like, here's one being rented out for that exact amount in Kidd's former building. We can't confirm 100% that it's his former place, but it fits all of the qualifications, and it's the only one rented out for that price.
For those of you just moving to New York City and looking for a nice starter apartment, you'll need to make nearly $900,000 per year to afford the apartment without needing a guarantor. Hopefully for that amount he's at least installed spill-proof floors.
Promoting the Celebrity Dodge Barrage with Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly on Fox's Good Day New York this morning, Deron Williams tackled a host of topics, including his dodgeball event, his new coach, the recent inflammatory comments made by Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson, and the recent release of a videotape showing Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his wife.
Williams says his ankles are healthy, after undergoing simultaneous surgery on both ankles shortly after the Nets were eliminated from the playoffs last season. "Ankles are doing a lot better, got about 20 days until camp starts and hopefully I’ll be ready for it."
Williams is hosting the fifth annual Celebrity Dodge Barrage this Monday, September 15th, and chose dodgeball because nobody else was doing it. "I had a golf tournament. You know a lot of people have those golf tournaments, so I tried to think of a unique way we could raise some money for some good causes," Williams said. "Former teammate of mine Kyle Korver, we came up with dodgeball, I don’t know how, I don’t know what made us think of dodgeball." The event will raise money for his charity, The Point Of Hope Foundation, and the The League Education and Treatment Center in Brooklyn.
He also responded to backlash regarding recent statements he made in Resident Magazine about the difficulties of living in New York. "It’s just a different lifestyle here. That’s all I was pointing out. I enjoyed my time and the summers away, but I definitely love it in New York. I signed here for five years. ... I take the subway. I enjoy a lot of things about New York. It’s very convenient."
The conversation then turned to more difficult matters, firstly the controversial emails and conversations circling around the Atlanta Hawks organization, including an e-mail from owner Bruce Levenson that indicated white fans were more valuable than black fans, and later a scouting report read by general manager Danny Ferry that included disparaging comments about African-born player Luol Deng.
"It’s just unfortunate," Williams said about the revelations. "Same with the Donald Sterling thing. It brings a bad light to the NBA, which we definitely don’t want. But it’s just something we deal with in today’s society.
I’m sure (racism exists) on every level. I’m half-black, half-white, so I’ve seen it growing up. It’s something that’s definitely relevant, it’s sad that it still is and it’s sad that he made those comments, it’s sad for Luol Deng, who was the center of those comments, and hopefully the league is taking appropriate actions."
The conversation then turned to Ray Rice, who Williams called a friend. Rice was recently released by the Baltimore Ravens, following a tape released to the public that showed Rice knocking his wife unconscious in an elevator. "It’s another unfortunate incident that happened," Williams said. "He’s already lived through it, he’s already went through the precautions of taking the right steps to do it."
Rice has since been suspended indefinitely by the league, after an original suspension of just two games. Williams says he believes Rice should play again. "Yeah, I mean, everybody makes mistakes," Williams said. "I’m friends with him. ... He’s doing counseling, he’s done all that. What’s sad is that he’s already lived through this and he’s already dealt with it appropriately and now it’s being brought back out."
The interview closed on a lighter note, with Williams talking about his first meeting with coach Lionel Hollins. "Just met with him for the first time a couple of days ago when I got in town, we had a great meeting, great talk, he’s excited about this season, and so am I."
It hasn't been the best week for the Nets: the team was ranked dead last in ESPN's Future Power Rankings (although we'd argue that's exactly the point), two of their three international players were eliminated in the first round of the FIBA Round of 16 International Basketball Tournament, and the third (Mason Plumlee) won't see the floor unless the game's well out of hand.
But there's one place where the Nets rank highly: pretty basketball courts! Zach Lowe of Grantland brought a little levity, ranking all 30 basketball arenas by the visual appeal of their court.
The Nets come in about as well as you could expect, ranking fourth overall in the league. From Lowe:
It might seem sacrilegious to give such a young court this lofty perch, but wait until you see what comes next. The black-and-white look stands out in a league of bright colors, and like black-and-white film, it lends the Nets a sheen of effortless cool. The central logo, just a basketball with words around it, is another testament that less can be more in design.
The ideal court is idiosyncratic without resorting to garishness. The Nets’ dark herringbone floor is a perfect example. It’s unique in the NBA, and it looks great without being distracting. Even the corporate logo, usually an annoyance, is rendered in a soft blue that the herringbone almost eats up.
The Nets use the same theater lighting system as their crosstown rivals, and though the effect is noticeable in person, it’s even more dramatic on television. I’m not sure any court looks better on TV.
I can't disagree. Brooklyn's herringbone court is awesome: as Lowe put it, it's unique without being distracting, and the black-and-white feel keeps it simple and strong.
One other important note: the dimensions indicate that the basket stanchion is 4'6" from the edge of the court, more than the minimum necessary. Basket stanchion placement became a hot-button issue after Paul George broke his leg in a freak accident during a Team USA scrimmage in Las Vegas, colliding with a stanchion that was placed just three feet from the edge of the court.
The three courts ahead of the Nets? The new Charlotte Hornets arena comes in third, and two classics take the top two spots: the parquet floor in Boston at #2, and the Lakers look in Staples Center.
Less than two months until we see players performing on that court again.
A discrimination lawsuit brought against the Houston Rockets by a 28-year-old former catering employee of Barclays Center has been rejected by the court, but the suit is still open against the arena's catering company Levy Restaurant Holdings, according to John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.
The worker, Rasean Tate, alleges that he complained to Levy management about unnamed Rockets players insulting him with homophobic language, and Levy responded by barring him from locker room responsibilities and taking away other paid opportunities, lowering Tate's earning potential.
According to the report, federal judge Jack Weinstein ruled that the Rockets can't be sued for Levy's reaction to the complaint, but that a suit can proceed against the catering company.“We respect the judge’s decision but it doesn’t take away the culpability of what Houston Rockets players and staff did in the locker room that day,” Tate’s lawyer Marjorie Mesidor said in the Daily News report. “The comments were discriminatory and they happened.”
This is one of two discrimination lawsuits levied against Levy in the past year. In July, five plaintiffs alleged that members of Levy management referred to them with racially charged language and mocked employee disabilities, seeking $5 million in damages.
Do the Nets have the worst future in the league?
It's that time of year again, when the NBA is close enough to starting that you can taste it but far enough away that we're still wondering what'll happen in years beyond. Enter ESPN.com's "Future Power Rankings," where ESPN's Amin Elhassan, Chad Ford, Tom Haberstroh, and Kevin Pelton try to parse which teams will fare after the 2014-2015 season. The four panelists gave their rankings from 1-100 on five points: "players," "management," "market," "draft," and "money."
Let's get this out of the way now: the Nets rank dead last, with an average score of 27.04. Most of that came from their "market," which was rated a 79, but brought down by their "draft" (7) and "money" (9) ratings.
From Elhassan, who wrote the Nets report:
This is Russian for "welcome to the basement!" -- which is where the Ghosts of Bad Decisions Past have banished the Nets to for the foreseeable future. When they gave pick-swap rights to Atlanta for the right to overpay Joe Johnson, we said in unison, "No!"
When they gave up all those unprotected first-rounders for the last gasps of Kevin Garnett,Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, we all cried, "Don't do it!" When their luxury tax dwarfed the total payroll of every other NBA team, we collectively face-palmed.
But it didn't matter, as the Nets steamrolled their way to a team destined to be a second-round knockout, doubling down on an aging roster with limited upside. Add onto that Lawrence Frank debacle a month into last season, and the failed coup (and eventual departure) by Jason Kidd this summer, and it's easy to place the Nets among the most dysfunctional franchises in the NBA. As a result, here they are, with no cap respite until 2016, a depleted pick inventory and no blue-chip talent outside of the oft-injured Brook Lopez.
Ouch. Elhassan pulls no punches and he doesn't have to, although the cries of confusion over the Johnson deal reek of revisionist history. The Nets gave up next to nothing for Johnson, who's been inarguably the team's best player over the last two seasons, and the pick-swapping might turn a mid-first round pick into a later mid-first round pick this year. No one's trading Joe Cool back for that, even with his ridiculous contract.
That aside, it's hard to disagree with the larger points. The Nets did give up three unprotected first-round picks for one year of Paul Pierce, an aged Kevin Garnett, and a piece they later flipped for Marcus Thornton, which they later flipped for Jarrett Jack. It seemed like a good idea at the time, before the Nets fell to 10-21 in the first two months of last season.
But this is how the Nets were put together from the start. They were never supposed to have a future in this iteration of the roster. The Nets aren't built like a young team looking to grow, or a collection of superstars trying to win a championship. They're just on the cusp of competing, one or two stars short of a top contender. That's what a year of trying to trade for Carmelo Anthony was for, and then the year hoping for Dwight Howard. The Nets threw all their eggs in one basket, and a couple eggs cracked, leaving the entire basket a yolky mess. Their current roster is above average (we think), their draft picks are persona non grata, and their future is indecipherable.
That's been the point this whole time! This team was built to try to win now. They didn't, and now they're sweeping up after the mess they've made, saving LeBron-like money by letting Pierce go and re-tooling with some youth infusions. The only players slated to stick beyond the 2015-16 season (not counting this season's second-round picks) are Bojan Bogdanovic, Deron Williams, Mason Plumlee, and maybe Sergey Karasev. Beyond that they've got nothing but cap space, cap space that could increase by eight figures once the NBA's new TV deal kicks in. That's a lot of money that the Nets could throw around in the future, more than a 9 out of 100 grade might indicate.
So the irony of this ranking is that, yes, these Nets currently have the worst future in the league. That's because that was the plan all along.
ESPN (Insider) -- Future Power Rankings
For those of you that missed Croatia's 69-64 loss at the hands of France Sunday afternoon, here's your chance to see what Bojan Bogdanovic produced in the loss. Bogdanovic led all scorers by a wide margin with 27 points, hitting 11 of 19 shots and keying a late fourth-quarter comeback that nearly brought Croatia back from a 16-point deficit.
With the loss, Croatia was eliminated from FIBA's round of 16. The next time we'll see Bogdanovic? He'll be in a Nets uniform.
If you wanted to watch Bojan Bogdanovic in tournament play before the season, I hope you tuned in this afternoon, because it was your last chance — and a great one. Despite Bogdanovic’s game-high 27 points and a heroic effort down the stretch to erase a 16-point lead, the Croatian team couldn’t stop France, falling 69-64 and losing in the first round of the FIBA Round of 16.
France took advantage after a hot start from Bogdanovic, outscoring the Croatian team 39-15 on a two-quarter run between the second and third quarter, extending their lead to 46-30 midway through the third.
Bogdanovic responded with big shot after big shot down the stretch, scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter and hitting a three-pointer off of a turnover to cut the lead to 66-64. But after Croatia stopped France on the other end, Bogdanovic missed a long isolation three-pointer over French forward Nicolas Batum’s fingertips with 22 seconds left that would’ve given his team a one-point lead.
Bogdanovic matched up all game against Batum, a lanky, talented NBA forward for the Portland Trail Blazers, and Bogdanovic promptly outscored France in the first quarter, dropping nine points in a variety of ways as Croatia sped out to a 15-7 lead. But Batum limited Bogdanovic on the offensive end as the game progressed, using his length and quickness to take Bogdanovic out of possessions and force turnovers.
Croatia took a step back in the middle quarters, as Bogdanovic was held to two points in each and wasn’t involved on a number of their chances. The offense stagnated with Bogdanovic out of the game, and they struggled to re-integrate him into the offense when he returned. His lone shot in the second quarter was a pretty turnaround jumper that gave him 11 points, half of Croatia’s output through the first half.
His elimination leaves Mason Plumlee as the only Nets player still participating in the FIBA tournament.
Bogdanovic’s final stat line: 27 points, 11-19 FG (3-7 from 3), six rebounds, two steals, one assist, four fouls, zero turnovers. Next stop: the United States, where he'll be at Brooklyn's training camp that opens in late September.
A few extra notes:
- There’s a lot of possessions to watch and one game could mean anything, but Bogdanovic seems to gamble quite a bit on defense, with sometimes disastrous results. Late in the fourth quarter he lost Mickael Gelabale on a big corner three, and a few possessions later he actually slid past Nicolas Batum 30 feet from the basket. He doesn’t have the athleticism to gamble on NBA-level athletes, and Lionel Hollins will have to adjust him accordingly. It’s possible that Croatia’s defensive system, which seems to require that they switch at nearly every possible moment, has something to do with this — it’s easier to lose where you are when where you have to be changes three times in 15 seconds.
- Bogdanovic’s shooting touch is evident, but he only shows one go-to move in the post: a turnaround jumper where he spins either over his right shoulder or towards the baseline. That’s not a look he can rely on over and over again against NBA defenses.
Your reminder: new Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic & team Croatia take on Team France at noon Saturday on NBA TV in the first round of the FIBA Tournament Round of 16.
Outside of pool play, it's the first great chance to see Bogdanovic play since the Nets officially signed him to a three-year contract this offseason.
One game in, one Nets player gone: Team USA sent Jorge Gutierrez & Mexico home in the first round of the FIBA World Cup Playoffs with an easy blowout victory, 86-63.
USA raced out to a 23-13 lead after one quarter and never looked back, dominating the game both with offensive rebounds inside and Stephen Curry burying three-pointers throughout.
Plumlee, an integral part of the Nets roster, didn’t see the court until the game was well out of hand in the fourth quarter, while Gutierrez, who only has a non-guaranteed contract, was arguably Mexico’s second-best player. That should give you an idea of the state of both teams: USA is arguably the favorite to win it all, while Mexico is still developing its international talent.
Plumlee did little in his few minutes, choosing to play it safe instead of risking injury in a blowout. He threw down one emphatic putback dunk with four minutes left, but the basket was waved off due to an offensive foul call.
Plumlee finished with only one stat -- an offensive rebound -- in garbage time.
Gutierrez struggled against Team USA’s length, getting a few passes batted around and giving up a couple of rough turnovers. As Brian Mahoney said, Team USA’s a tough matchup for any point guard:
It's really tough for a point guard to look good against the U.S. and Gutierrez hasn't.
— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) September 6, 2014
That doesn’t mean Gutierrez didn’t get some nice plays in. He was able to stick with USA’s smaller guards defensively, though it was a nightmare when he was switched onto James Harden. He also attacked the lane on a few occasions, including one pretty layup over Team USA’s DeMarcus Cousins in the third quarter.
Gutierrez finished with 7 points on 3-7 shooting in his lone tournament playoff game, adding two assists, one steal, and one rebound.