Fan On The Couch: Episode 1

Hey guys, I just wanted to welcome Tony Maglio who will be writing a weekly column over here called “Fan On The Couch.” Tony Maglio is a comedian and writer from New Jersey and a former Nets season ticket holder.  He is a freelance writer for “Saturday Night Live’s” Weekend Update, a staff writer on “Latenet”, writes for the screen and stage and is a contributor to various podcasts, websites and other publications.  As a stand up comedian, Tony has performed all over the northeast and written for other comics. This will be up every Monday at about 1.  Since we tend to throw up a ton of posts here, we don’t want Tony’s great work to get lost in the shuffle, so you can find all of his posts by looking under the header and clicking the Fan On The Couch link.

2009-2010 Nets Salaries: A Super-Scientific Breakdown (in alphabetical order)

Rafer Alston, $5,250,000 (expiring)

A little high for his value, but remember this guy is a ten-year vet.  He’s been ok this year while Harris and Dooling dealt with injuries, but I do have a problem when an NBA team starts a guy who didn’t start for the “And 1” team.  Alston sometimes runs the floor like he’s confused why hype-man Escalade isn’t behind him doing crowd work.

A one-year rental, and like a rental – you might as well beat the hell out of it.

Tony Battie, $6,606,600 (expiring)

I didn’t even realize that this guy still plays basketball, let alone gets paid pretty well to do so.  Another veteran so that explains some of his salary – although at the time of this writing he hadn’t yet played this year and I wouldn’t recognize him if I saw him walking down the street, wearing a Tony Battie jersey.

Josh Boone, $2,056,968

This salary seems about right to me for his production and lack of NBA tenure.  Might be a little low for a too-oft NBA starter – or I should say someone posing as an NBA starter.  Boone’s 2008-2009 FT% of .376 made Shaq look like J.J. Redick from the line.  Seriously .376 wouldn’t even have won a batting title in 1999; maybe the Nets should start Larry Walker at the 4.

Chris Douglas-Roberts (I never know what the alphabetically correct move is with people who have two names or hyphenated names, so we’re using the “D” in CDR), $736,420

This guy has the highest three first-name potential since Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Zachary Ty Bryan combined on “Home Improvement”.  But Douglass-Roberts must have the worst agent in pro sports.  This contract is laughable.  I remember being at a Nets game last year with my brother and his friend Mitch taking up a collection for CDR in the stands when we discovered his salary. The NBA dress code alone must have him living paycheck to paycheck.  We tried to figure out how his contract negotiations went and we settled on the idea that it must have been exactly like when Kramer prematurely accepted the lifetime supply of café lattes settlement on “Seinfeld”.  I half expect to see Jackie Chiles call a press conference and declare CDR’s contract is “lewd, lascivious, salacious, outrageous!”

I like Douglass-Roberts, I love the contract – can’t wait to see what kind of part time job he’s going to be forced to pick up in the off season.

Keyon Dooling, $3,564,000

I like Keyon Dooling, and it doesn’t matter to me that his head is no discernible geometric shape.  Love the long guards, good contract.

Devin Harris, $8,400,000

Our second highest paid player is a steal.  We have him at a similar salary for the next few years so I like this contract.  When this guy is healthy he is one of the top get-to-the-line guys in the NBA.  The YouTube clip where he gets beat by some dorky Brit in a sweater and skinny jeans seemed to have some people wondering about Harris’s confidence.  Have you seen his girlfriend?  He’ll be fine.

Trenton Hassell, $4,350,000 (expiring)

This is fine by me for a streaky role-player.  A slightly better version of…

Jarvis Hayes, $2,062,800 (expiring)

Trenton Hassell’s best friend at half the price.  I’ve always assumed they’re roommates and Jarvis Hayes has to feed Hassell’s cats when he goes on vacation.  These guys are the exact same person to me – even their listed weight only differs by one pound.  I imagine they’re a package deal and the younger Hayes would use Hassell’s I.D. to get into bars in college.  Earlier in life, on birthdays, family members would have to bring a smaller toy to the non-birthday boy to curb jealousy.  I can see the Hassell and Hayes sitcom now.  It would be exactly like “Bosom Buddies” except with less cross-dressing (presumably) and roughly the same amount of Peter Scolari.

The contract is fine, it just probably becomes awkward when the dinner bill comes and Hayes wants to divide it up by who ordered what and Hassell just wants to split it down the center.  To sum up, just direct-deposit both salaries in a joint bank account and hope that a girl doesn’t come between them.

Yi Jialian (Similar problem as CDR alphabetically.  I don’t understand which is actually his first and which is his last name.  I know the back of his jersey says “Yi”.  I’ve heard that Asians consider their first name their last name and vice versa, but I think it’s more like how children put their first names on their jerseys because at eight years old you don’t comprehend how many “Ryan’s” there really are in this world.), $3,194,000

Not a bad contract but I personally wouldn’t pay this guy 3 million yen.  Doesn’t Yi remind you of the spoiled brat coach’s son who’s a foot taller than everyone else but still insists on shooting threes?  You can’t win match-ups with a PF that avoids the paint like it’s led-based.

Courtney Lee, $1,264,440

Sweet contract for us.  Serviceable guard, defensive specialist.  How awful must Lee, Alston, and Battie have felt when they were traded from the Eastern Conference Champions to the Nets?  Not only are you going from a very good basketball team and city to one of the worst teams/fan-bases in the league – but also moving from Orlando, Florida to East Rutherford, New Jersey isn’t exactly Manifest Destiny either.

Brook Lopez, $2,255,880

What a steal even for a second year player.  Nets fans know this guy is going to be a great player, and the rest of the league is starting to find out.

I read an article in a waiting room last night from a 2007 ESPN the Magazine (which shows you the quality of the offices I frequent) spotlighting the Lopez twins where they spoke of their new PlayStation 3 as their girlfriend.  I don’t know if this makes me like Brook more or less, but it makes me grateful that Robin is on the other side of the country.

Eduardo Najera, $3,000,000

Every time I’m at a Nets game, without fail, someone sitting around me asks his buddy why Najera isn’t in the game.  This often comes right after I glance at the bench and wonder why Najera is on an NBA roster.

When I was young I was on a championship soccer team with my best friend Schultz called “White Lightning”.  We had a great team but we also had the single worst player in the league.  The rest of the team was so good that it hardly mattered; we just stuck this kid in the least important defensive spot and made sure he was never in a position to impact the game.  At the awards ceremony the coaches handed out trophies and said something complimentary to each player.  When it came to him, the head coach said, “What can I say, this guy was a pest to the opposing team”.  That was the nicest thing they could come up with to say about a nine-year-old child – he was an annoyance for the other team.  That’s exactly what Najera is.  At best he’s slightly disruptive, at worst he’s the single worst player in the entire league.

Bobby Simmons, $11,242,667 (expiring)

Yes this is an expiring contract, but it can’t expire soon enough.  This guy gets paid 11.2 million dollars to shoot pretty well from one spot on the floor.  They should just leave one of those State Farm-Shoot-For-A-Million-Dollars circle mats in the corner and make him earn his salary that way.  I hope he’s at least picking up some of CDR’s rent.

Sean Williams, $1,629,120

The third lowest paid guy on the team, so I don’t have a problem with the salary, but they should consider prorating it for the number of minutes he misses in foul trouble.  Seriously this guy came out of the womb with three fouls.

My buddy Crack loves Sean, but I can’t make a judgment still.  He can dunk and block shots like few guys in the league, but it’s not a good sign when the coach of a winless team would rather stick with quite possibly the worst eight-man rotation in NBA history than let Sean Williams see the floor.

Terrence Williams, $2,040,060

Too early to call but the contract is reasonable and T. Will has upside.  I’m pretty sure I saw him dunk from the top of the key against the Mavericks.  One potential problem stems from something I read in a Nets/Sixers game program this year.  It was a simple fluff piece meant to introduce the fans to our newest rookie, but it read like the most defensive interview I’ve ever seen.  With no real prompting, Terrence Williams tried way too hard to convince the fans that he can, in fact, shoot.  He came off as confident as the one chubby bridesmaid dress-shopping with her skinny friends.  Luckily for him, he’s surrounded by the equivalent of a bunch of fat chicks anyway and probably won’t see a big shot all season.