Here is audio from Rod Thorn’s conference call:
(Remove the audio player – it played automatically and it was getting annoying)
If the above player doesn’t work, click the link here. It is a pretty interesting listen, so if you get the time, check it out. The big thing that I took from this conference call is that Rod Thorn is going to be willing to spend in 2010. Thorn said that if he chooses, the Nets can offer two-max contracts. Having money is just half of the equation though, players are going to have to want to come to Nets (notice I didn’t say New Jersey).
Will that happen (I know this is real early to start talking about this, but this a much talked about topic among Nets fans)? Pessimistic Nets fans (and there are a lot of them) will tell you that it won’t. They will say things like “When have the Nets ever signed a big time free agent?” Or “Why would LeBron or anyone want to come to the Nets if they are still in NJ?”
Maybe I am just an optimist, but I think all that is a load of bull. Yes, I know the Nets haven’t signed a big time free agent in recent memory, but when have they been in position too? For as long as I can remember, the Nets have had a solid core of playmakers (Kidd, Martin, RJ, and Vince Carter have all been a part of the Nets at some point), and haven’t really had a need to go get a big-time free agent. They were always adding veterans who were supposed to be (excuse me for using a now tired theme after this draft) pieces to a puzzles, and it worked for the most part. The Nets were always in the playoff hunt, and while they were never seriously considered championship contenders, they were always competitive.
Despite this competitiveness, Thorn wanted a title team, so he decided to re-tool and start a youth movement. Brook Lopez, CDR, Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, and Terrence Williams are all under 25, and they are going to be big parts of the team this year. Despite the fact that we might be terrible next year as these young guys learn how to play, the future looks bright. Real bright. When looking at this young core (we also get 2 first round picks next year), a big-time free agent might see themselves as the guy who put them over the top. Take into account that most of the big free agents in 2010 are buddy-buddy, once one signs we might be able to snag another. Just imagine Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh joining up with Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. What free agent wouldn’t want to be a part of that team?
As for the whole Brooklyn/NJ thing. Brooklyn is going to happen, whether it be for 2 years from now or 3, it is going to happen. Now if Thorn can guarantee these potential free agents at least 1 year in Brooklyn (by this, I mean that we would need to at least break ground before next offseason), then in my opinion this won’t even be a factor.
One final thing I wanted to touch on that negative fans choose to ignore all of the time is our part owner. Yup, I am talking about Jay-Z. In our era, Jay-Z is an icon, a legend. A lot of these players would love to be able to say that they are playing for Jay-Z and having him watching all of their games. It is already common knowledge that Jay-Z and LeBron are BFF, and I am sure that Hova would be willing to use his “charm” to try to convince players to come over and play for the Nets.
When you combine all of these factors then add in all of the money, I think there is a very good chance that we land a top tier free agent in 2010. If not two.