New additions: SF Bojan Bogdanovic
Returning/on roster: SF/PF Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF Mirza Teletovic, SG/SF Joe Johnson, SG/SF Alan Anderson, SG/SF Sergey Karasev
Gone: SF/PF Paul Pierce
The starter: Kirilenko or Teletovic. That is unless, as we noted in our shooting guard analysis, Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack start in the backcourt, in which case Johnson would move to the three spot.
The wild card: Bogdanovic. The Nets are extremely high on the 25-year-old rookie, whom they signed to a three-year, $10 million contract in the offseason. They acquired his rights in a draft night deal in 2011. He’s a 6-8 Croatian sharpshooter with a lot of potential. The way Brooklyn’s roster is constructed, it would appear that Bogdanovic is going to get a shot to contribute immediately. He said earlier this week numerous times that he feels he can do that.
Outlook: It feels like there is a lot of versatility at this position, a lot of guys who can do different things. Kirilenko can defend multiple positions and facilitate the offense as a passer. Teletovic, who could conceivably start at power forward, is a floor spacer, as is Bogdanovic. You know what you’re going to get from Johnson, who was dynamite in the playoffs last season. Anderson is a “D and 3” type player who is tough as nails. And Karasev has a lot of potential. The Nets viewed Pierce as a power forward at this juncture of his career, but he did play some small forward. Last season, Johnson moved to the three after Brook Lopez suffered a season-ending injury and Shaun Livingston was inserted into the starting lineup. Johnson was extremely potent out of the low post, both as a scorer and facilitator. When it comes to this position on the floor, Bogdanovic’s development is really going to be key. Perhaps -- and we emphasis perhaps -- he could even be the starter by season’s end.
So much so that ESPN's Brian Windhorst believes the Nets' second-year pro could make the squad over Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins.
It certainly sounds like a shocker, considering the talent of Cousins. But Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski coached Plumlee at Duke, so Coach K certainly is familiar with Plumlee.
2 things from Team USA: post practice games between Durant/Harden/George are epic; Mason Plumlee likely to make team over DeMarcus Cousins— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 31, 2014
According to the USA Basketball website, Plumlee will suit up on the Blue Team during Friday’s USA Basketball Showcase at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Plumlee has a chance to play his way onto the roster.
“Mason has a chance to go forward,” Krzyzewski said, according to USAB.com.
No matter what happens, Plumlee has gained valuable experience this week practicing with some of the best in the game. And that is a very good thing for the Nets as Plumlee continues to look more and more like a major steal at No. 22 overall in the 2013 draft.
Brooklyn announced its six-game schedule, which includes an opener against Maccabi Tel Aviv at Barclays Center and a two-game trip to China against Sacramento. The Nets will close their preseason with three games (Boston, Philadelphia and Boston) in four days.
However, the Nets won't play against the Knicks for the second straight preseason.
It remains to be seen how much Deron Williams and Brook Lopez will participate during the preseason. With both coming off surgeries, the team is likely to be cautious with its two young stars.
Oct. 7: vs Maccabi Tel Aviv (Barclays Center)
Oct. 12: at Sacramento (Shanghai, China)
Oct. 15: vs Sacramento (Beijing, China)
Oct. 19: vs Boston (Barclays Center)
Oct. 20: vs Philadelphia (Barclays Center)
Oct. 22: at Boston (TD Garden)
The 6-foot-3 guard played for Memphis and Boston last season, averaging 9.3 points in 72 games. Now he gets a chance to play for Kidd, who left the Brooklyn Nets this summer to coach the Bucks.
"The thing that was most intriguing was Kidd," Bayless said Thursday at the Bucks' training facility. "He can help me in a variety of different ways. There aren't a lot of guys like him that come around."
General manager John Hammond announced the deal Thursday. Bayless signed for two years at $3 million per season.
Kidd, one of the NBA's great point guards, spent 19 seasons in the league. He is beginning his second year as an NBA coach. Bayless calls him a "once-in-a-generation" player.
"He's a young coach, but he's been in the league a long time," Bayless said.
Bayless was selected by the Indiana Pacers with the 11th pick in the 2008 draft. He was traded to Portland before his rookie season. Only 25 but entering his seventh NBA season, Bayless joins a team that has three teenagers on its roster.
"Even though I'm younger I've been through a lot in this league and I'll try to teach these guys the right way to do things," Bayless said.
Bayless played one season in college. At Arizona in 2007-08 he became the first freshman in school history to lead the team in both scoring (19.7 points) and assists (4.0).
"I just started shedding tears," Brown's grandmother, Jerrie Mae Eggins, said in a recent telephone interview with ESPNNewYork.com. "He told me, 'Mama, I made it.' And I told him, 'You have to thank the lord. You thank the lord, and you get to wherever you gotta go. Don't ever give up on God.'"
Two picks before his name was called, Brown, who overcame the tragic deaths of his mother and uncle as a teenager, received a call from his agent, Andy Miller. The Nets had dealt for the 44th selection in the second round of the 2014 NBA draft -- and they were going to take him.
"I had to call [Miller] again to make sure what he was telling me was correct," Brown said. "It was a crazy feeling."
Brown, who is from Alexandria, Louisiana, had hoped to be drafted sooner. He says he felt "overlooked." Still, this was the news he had been waiting for.
“It’s great to be able to make it through all the adversity and all of those things that could’ve stopped me," Brown said. "It's a blessing. I feel really fortunate.”"
Brown, an explosive 22-year-old combo guard out of Oklahoma State, impressed the organization during Summer League in Orlando and received a multiyear contract from the Nets. The first year of his deal is fully guaranteed.
Brown's NBA career will begin shortly. But he has already come so far.
'YOU CAN'T ASK FOR MUCH MORE THAN THAT'
In a span of two months, when he was just 15, Brown lost two loved ones.
First, his mother, Antoinette, who had been sick his entire life, died in December 2006 due to complications from a brain aneurysm. Then, in February 2007, his uncle, David Pinkston, was killed while attempting to save two elderly women from a house fire.
Eggins started taking care of Brown when he was just three months old.
Antoinette spent nearly 11 years in a nursing home while she battled illness. She saw Brown and his two sisters on weekends and holidays, Eggins said.
Brown's biological father, Dameon Pinkston, spent time in and out of prison, so David emerged as a father figure for Brown. The two played basketball together. David attended most of Brown's games and taught him how to drive.
"They were really close," Eggins said.
Still, Eggins was there for Brown. She was always there from the very beginning.
"She played a huge role in my life," said Brown. "You can't ask for much more than that."
Brown endured through it all and eventually graduated college. Now, a professional basketball career awaits.
"I am very proud of Markel," said Eggins, who plans to see Brown play when the Nets make their southwest road trip next season. "He's been my baby for a long time."
'THIS KID WAS DETERMINED TO BE A BASKETBALL PLAYER'
Brown was always going to play basketball. It was in his blood.
His father played two years at Southern University in Baton Rouge. David played as well and so did his other uncle, De'Andre Eggins, who was a key contributor for Arkansas-Little Rock in the mid-2000s.
Jerrie Mae Eggins said she had a sense Brown was going to be something special when he was shooting on a mini-hoop at the age of 3.
Charles Smith, Brown's high school coach at Central Louisiana powerhouse Peabody Magnet, first noticed Brown when he was in middle school.
"Markel broke his right wrist in the eighth grade, and he was so dedicated to basketball that he started shooting the ball with his left hand. He became as great a left-handed shooter as he did a right-handed shooter," Smith said. "So that let me know that this kid was determined to be a basketball player."
Brown started all four years at Peabody Magnet -- a rare occurrence, according to Smith. During that span, the team lost just five games. They won two state titles, going 41-0 in Brown's senior year.
Brown, who was named "Mr. Basketball" by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association in 2009-10 (32 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals per game), wanted to attend LSU, but the school wasn't interested. Oklahoma State was.
Butch Pierre, who coached the likes of Tyrus Thomas, Glen Davis, Stromile Swift and Anthony Randolph at LSU for 11 years before moving on to OSU, had a good relationship with Smith and thought highly of Brown.
"Markel has always been a gym rat, a competitor," Pierre said. "He's used to winning, and we felt like he was a good kid that stayed out of trouble and was willing to learn and get better."
Brown's shooting percentages increased across the board (field goals, 3-pointers, free throws) in each of his four years with the Cowboys. As a senior, he flourished playing alongside Marcus Smart in the same backcourt, averaging 17.2 points and shooting 47.3 percent from the field.
"I think he'll play 10 years in the NBA," Smith said. "He doesn't have any bad habits. He doesn't smoke or drink. He's very coachable, he wants to improve, he'll accept any challenge and he loves to win. He'll do whatever it takes."
FUTURE DUNK CHAMP?
Brown first dunked in ninth grade.
"It was crazy. I wasn't even expecting it," he said. "I was just going up there for show and ended up dunking it."
There was plenty more where that came from.
Brown's best dunk at Oklahoma State was one that got him ejected. Late in the second half against Missouri this past season, the 6-foot-3 Brown skied along the baseline, caught an alley-oop pass with one hand and posterized Tigers guard Matt Pressey.
The crowd went ballistic. Brown then stared down Pressey as he began going back on defense and received his second technical foul of the game.
Brown still doesn’t agree with the call. It’s hard to blame him.
"When the ball went in the air, I didn’t think I could get to it," Brown admitted. "It's a good thing I went up and got it."
Brown’s 360 slam on the fastbreak against West Virginia wasn’t too bad either. (Nor was this. Or this.)
At the combine in Chicago, Brown posted a 43.5-inch vertical -- tied with Andrew Wiggins for the highest of any prospect in the draft.
Brown's athleticism will be a welcomed addition to the Nets. He showed as much during the Summer League.
He said he’d welcome the opportunity to participate in the NBA Dunk Contest at All-Star weekend in the future.
Next season’s dunk contest will be held at Barclays Center. Hmm ...
THE NEXT WESTBROOK?
Brown doesn't expect to be handed playing time in the pros.
He knows he'll have to earn it.
"I take pride in my defense and being a lockdown defender," Brown said. "I hang my hat on that end of the court."
"I did it almost every game at Oklahoma State," he said. "It's something I take pride in, and hopefully I can carry it over to the next level."
The Nets, who reportedly had Brown rated No. 22 on their draft board, liked what they saw from him at Summer League in terms of his playmaking ability.
"I didn't really surprise myself," Brown said. "But I guess I surprised others."
In five games in Orlando, Brown averaged 10 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists, while shooting 53 percent from the field.
"I learned a lot about the speed of the game and playing against bigger and faster athletes," he said. "It's the biggest stage, the toughest competition, and I learned a lot from the coaching staff."
Brown has high expectations for himself. He believes he can be a "Russell Westbrook-type player" in the NBA.
He certainly doesn't lack confidence.
"Just being a ballplayer you have to always have that swagger about yourself," Brown said. "When you compete at the next level, you're going to have to compete every night against the best athletes, and I need to have that confidence because I'm going to be playing against the greatest players in the world."
Brown feels he needs to improve his ball-handling and point guard skills. He'll certainly have the time.
He's also looking forward to some sight-seeing in New York City, playing in Brooklyn and immersing himself in the big-city lifestyle.
"I should be able to manage," he said.
And why not?
Brown has already overcome so much. And as long as he has his family by his side, he'll be equipped to get wherever he wants to go.
"We appreciate the great job Tony did for us the last three years in Dallas and wish him the very best," Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said in a text message.
Mosley was an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers the last four seasons and spent the five seasons before that with the Denver Nuggets.
Former head coach Paul Westphal, Tony Brown, Joe Wolf and Jay Humphries are joining John Welch and Jim Sann on the Nets coaching staff.
Westphal is the most experienced coach on staff with over 20 years of experience which includes head coaching stints with Phoenix, Seattle and Sacramento. Westphal is 318-279 (.532) overall as a head coach.
Brown was an assistant coach under Dallas’ Rick Carlisle for the previous three seasons. He’s also been an assistant with the Clippers, Bucks, Celtics, Raptors, Pistons and Blazers.
Wolf spent five seasons as an assistant under Scott Skiles in Milwaukee from 2008-’13. Humphries joins the Nets’ staff after spending 13 years as a coach in the NBA, NBA D-League and overseas.
Welch and Sann are the two holdovers from last season under Jason Kidd. Welch returns after serving as Kidd’s lead assistant last season following the demotion of Lawrence Frank.
Sann will serve as an assistant coach/advance scout.
New additions: PG/SG Jarrett Jack, SG Markel Brown, G/F Sergey Karasev.
Returning/on roster: PG/SG Deron Williams, SG/SF Joe Johnson, SG/SF Alan Anderson.
Gone: SG Marcus Thornton.
The starter: Johnson. Unless Lionel Hollins opts to start a two point guard backcourt of Jack and Williams, Johnson should be his starting two.
The wild card: Brown. There's a good chance Brown doesn't see enough minutes to become a contributor. However, the second-round pick is an explosive athlete and the Nets need more athleticism and above-the-rim play. Williams could start slowly coming off offseason surgery which means Brown could have opportunities in camp early on to impress.
Outlook: Hollins has a few options at shooting guard. He will lean heavily on Johnson for steady scoring. Toward the end of last season and in the playoffs, Johnson showed that he can still carry the load offensively for the Nets. He averaged 15.8 points during the regular season and raised that to 21.2 points per game in the postseason. With Williams coming off surgery, the Nets will want to make sure their former All-Star is healthy before playing him heavy minutes. Until then, Johnson will have to carry the load. If Hollins goes small, he can play Jack and Williams together with Johnson sliding to small forward. Anderson will be one of Hollins’ best defenders and his role could increase with Paul Pierce gone. Like Brown, the Nets would also like to develop Karasev, who could potentially play guard and small forward.
Question: Should Hollins go small and start Williams at shooting guard and slide Johnson to small forward?
I remember thinking how the Nets could always use shooters with Jason Kidd orchestrating the offense. But not long after the pick was made, Korver was traded to Philadelphia for cash considerations.
If you’ve ever wondered what teams do with cash acquired in a draft night deal, Grantland’s Zach Lowe provides some insight. Actually, he details what the Nets got exactly in return for Korver’s draft rights back in 2003.
In a profile on Korver, Lowe writes that the Nets traded Korver for $125,000 to fund their summer league team. And “with the leftover cash, the Nets bought a new copy machine” according to Lowe.
“We gave away a good player for summer league,” then Nets general manager Rod Thorn said in the story. “It was just one of those things we had to do. At least, that’s how I rationalized it.”
Korver, of course, has gone on to have a very productive 11-year career. He has buried 1,508 three-pointers on 42.5 percent shooting from behind the arc. Last season, he shot 47.2 percent from 3.
Hopefully the Nets got good use out of that copy machine.
Bojan Bogdanovic fully understands that.
Still, the rookie forward feels like he can come in and contribute right away for the Brooklyn Nets in 2014-15.
“It’s not gonna be easy,” Bogdanovic told reporters Monday during his introductory news conference at the team’s practice facility. “I have to make some adjustments -- especially because there’s a lot of games, a lot more than in Europe. But I am ready, and I think I can help the team immediately.
The Nets think highly of Bogdanovic, 25, whom they acquired in a draft-day trade three years ago. They finally signed him to a three-year, $10 million contract last week.
The Nets hope Bogdanovic, who will wear jersey No. 44, can help fill the void created when Paul Pierce inked a free-agent deal with the Washington Wizards.
“I am glad and very proud to come over and play for Brooklyn,” he said.
Bogdanovic ate dinner with his coach, Lionel Hollins, on Saturday. Hollins talked to him about what his expectations were. The two didn’t talk much about what his role would be. “I will fight for my minutes, but like I told him, I think I can help immediately,” Bogdanovic said.
Bogdanovic had lunch with Nets GM Billy King on Friday, while also receiving a tour of Barclays Center. “I was so impressed because it’s one of the best gyms in the world, and I was very excited,” Bogdanovic said.
Bogdanovic had been playing with Fenerbahce Ulker in the Turkish League. In 24 Euroleague games last season, he averaged 14.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 30.6 minutes. He is best known for his ability to stretch the floor with his long-range marksmanship.
Bogdanovic obviously admitted that he’s a shooter, but also pointed out that he feels like he’s improved in the physical part of his game, as well as his ability to play in the pick-and-roll.
Bogdanovic considered re-signing with Fenerbahce before ultimately joining the Nets. “I spent three years there, so I was planning to stay, but then Brooklyn called and now I’m finally here,” he said.
Bogdanovic looks forward to playing with the likes of Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and the rest of his Nets teammates. Bogdanovic and Mirza Teletovic are both from Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bogdanovic knows Williams because the point guard played in Turkey during the most recent NBA lockout. Bogdanovic has been following the team for as long as they’ve held his rights.
“I can’t wait to meet them and I can’t wait to start playing for the Nets,” he said.
New additions: PG/SG Jarrett Jack, PG Xavier Thames.
Returning/on roster: PG Deron Williams, PG Jorge Gutierrez, PG Marquis Teague.
Gone: PG Shaun Livingston.
The starter: Williams is the starting point guard unless new coach Lionel Hollins decides to go with a two point guard lineup like Jason Kidd did with Livingston and Williams. If that’s the case, Hollins could start Jack alongside Williams. Health remains the biggest question mark surrounding Williams, who hopes to come back stronger than before after surgery on his ankles.
The wild card: Jack. The guard saw his numbers dip last season to averages of 9.5 points, 4.1 assists and 41% shooting overall for the Cavs. But in 2012-’13, Jack averaged 12.9 points, 5.6 assists and 45% shooting while in Golden State. He also hit big shots in the postseason and was fearless for the Warriors. The Nets are hoping to get that Jack to replace the departed Livingston. Jack’s value also is that he is a scoring point guard who can start in case Williams isn’t healthy.
Outlook: The Nets’ season could very well be determined by their point guard play. The Nets need Williams to regain his health, confidence and All-Star game again. Losing Livingston in free agency was a major blow. And losing Kidd also has an impact on the point guard play as well since he could provide his future Hall-of-Fame vision from the bench. But if Williams and Jack can regain their former play and have a good season, the Nets will benefit greatly. This position is the most important position for the Nets this season.
Question: How big of a loss is losing Kidd and Livingston for the Nets' point guard play this season?
The Nets acquired Bogdanovic’s rights in a draft night trade back in 2011. Three years later, he’s finally in the NBA.
Expectations for most foreign players are usually quite high. This is a preseason reminder that you should probably temper yours. Making the transition from overseas leagues to the NBA takes time.
Below, I looked at the first-year statistics of some of the most successful foreign players in NBA history. I also looked at Bogdanovic’s teammate, Mirza Teletovic, who only recently made the transition himself.
As you can see, even for the best of the best, there was an adjustment period.
Drazen Petrovic (age 25): 12.6 min, 7.6 ppg, 48.5 pct FGs, 45.9 pct 3s
Drazen Petrovic (age 27): 36.9 min, 20.6 ppg, 50.8 pct FGs, 44.4 pct 3s
Peja Stojakovic (age 21): 21.4 min, 8.4 ppg, 37.8 pct FGs, 32 pct 3s
Peja Stojakovic (age 23): 38.7 min, 20.4 ppg, 47 pct FGs, 40 pct 3s
Manu Ginobili (age 25): 20.7 min, 7.6 ppg, 43.8 pct FGs, 34.5 pct 3s
Manu Ginobili (age 27): 29.4 min, 16.0 ppg, 47.1 pct FGs, 37.6 pct 3s
Toni Kukoc (age 25): 24.1 min, 10.9 ppg, 43.1 pct FGs, 27.1 pct 3s
Toni Kukoc (age 26): 31.9 min, 15.7 ppg, 50.4 pct FGs, 31.3 pct 3s
Mirza Teletovic (age 27): 9.4 min, 3.5 ppg, 38.4 pct FGs, 34.3 pct 3s
Mirza Teletovoc (age 28): 19.4 min, 8.6 ppg, 41.8 pct FGs, 41.8 pct 3s
Only time will tell whether Bogdanovic ever reaches the level of a Petrovic, Stojakovic, Ginobili or Kukoc. Maybe he becomes a star. Maybe he becomes a solid role player. Maybe he turns out to be a bust. Either way, if he goes through early-season struggles in 2014-15, there is no reason to freak out or make a rash judgment about how his career will end.
Last season, the Nets spent $197,398,845, when you factor in their payroll ($102,828,064), NBA-record luxury taxes ($90,570,781) and amnesty payment to Outlaw ($4,000,000).
That’s a difference of $63,398,836. (I went over these numbers, and the motivation behind it, in greater detail here).
The Nets are $17,216,708 over the 2014-15 luxury tax line, which is $76,829,000, meaning they must pay progressive taxes on the difference.
These totals, mind you, assume that the contracts of Jorge Gutierrez and Cory Jefferson become fully guaranteed by the end of the season.
Also remember, from ESPN salary cap guru Larry Coon’s blog: The total amount of luxury tax paid depends on a team’s payroll as of its final regular season game.
Point being, there’s a lot of time for things to change. Nevertheless, this is a solid look at where the Nets stand from a financial standpoint -- at least as far as projected payroll and luxury taxes are concerned.
A day after officially bringing over European prospect Bojan Bogdanovic, GM Billy King announced on Wednesday the signings of two of his three second-round picks -- Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown and Baylor forward Cory Jefferson.
The Nets acquired three second-round picks in June’s draft. They took Brown with the 44th pick and Jefferson with the 60th pick. San Diego State point guard Xavier Thames was the Nets’ other second-round pick at 59th overall.
Both Brown and Jefferson signed multi-year contracts.
The Nets are excited about Brown’s athleticism. The 6-3 Brown averaged 17.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists at Oklahoma State last season. Brown is the only player in school history to have 300 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocked shots in his career.
The 6-9 Jefferson averaged 13.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.30 steals and 1.30 blocks during his fifth and final season at Baylor. Baylor won a program-record 107 games with Jefferson.
The Nets’ roster now stands at Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic, Alan Anderson, Jarrett Jack, Andrei Kirilenko, Sergey Karasev, Bogdanovic, Brown, Jefferson, Jorge Gutierrez and Marquis Teague,
Brown and Jefferson provide the Nets with depth and two more young players to develop. Considering that Williams and Lopez are coming off surgeries and will take things slowly initially, Brown and Jefferson should have opportunities to show what they can do in training camp.
The team officially signed the Croatian forward to a three-year deal on Tuesday. The contract is worth $10 million, according to league sources.
The 6-foot-8 forward was drafted 31st overall in 2011 by Miami before having his draft rights dealt to the Nets.
"Having drafted Bojan in 2011, it is rewarding to finally welcome him to the Nets," general manager Billy King said in a team statement. "We obviously have a high regard for his game, and we are glad he will now bring that talent to Brooklyn."
Bogdanovic, 25, spent the last three seasons with Fenerbahçe Ülker in the Turkish Basketball League. He averaged 14.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 30.6 minutes per game during the 2013-14 Euroleague season.
The Nets passed on making an offer to re-sign Paul Pierce earlier this month largely because they felt they wouldn't win a title even if they brought Pierce back. The Nets could have paid Pierce -- who signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Wizards -- more than any other team.