On Billboards

The Nets have unveiled their latest midtown Manhattan billboard, this time promoting their newest acquisition in Deron Williams, and their move to Brooklyn in 2012. This looks great, but similar to what I said after the organization was pumping their “Blueprint for Greatness” billboard across the street from Madison Square Garden — just be careful.

I get it, the Nets desperately need to poach from Knicks country if they’re ever going to build up a fanbase in Brooklyn, but it’s going to take more than fancy, oversized billboards to make that happen. The Blueprint for Greatness was a lot of fun. It made James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks mad, which is pretty awesome. But it also made the Nets organization look stupid, when the whole premise of the billboard was to fire a warning shot to the league and the Knicks during free agency. As you might remember, the Nets didn’t walk away with LeBron James and Chris Bosh, or even Amare Stoudemire. They got Travis Outlaw and Jordan Farmar.

In this case, the billboard doesn’t even cast doubt on the idea that Deron Williams will be in Brooklyn in 2012. I want to believe that too, but it’s impossible for me to be as convinced as they are in the Nets marketing department. There have already been a number of members of the sports media who see no scenario where DWill stays. Personally, I think their opinions on the subject are as valid as mine, but if he does bolt, the Nets have egg on their faces again. If God forbid he signs with the Knicks? Forget it. Deron Williams won’t be coming to Brooklyn. He’ll be destroying it.

I appreciate that Brett Yormark and company like to swing for the fences and I’m sure a big risk-taker like Mikhail Prokhorov loves this kind of bombast, but the Nets are still the Nets — a punchline until further notice that can’t even get their games on TV in April. I was told once a long time ago to be careful what I say in print, because it’s permanent. I would just like to pass that advice on to the Nets billboard brain trust.