Brooklyn Nets: Brooklyn Nets

Nets plan on keeping Thaddeus Young

February, 20, 2015
Feb 20
11:23
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Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King intends to try to keep recently acquired power forward Thaddeus Young beyond this season.

Young can opt out of the final year of his contract -- worth nearly $10 million -- and become a free agent over the summer.

“I know he can opt out but we’re going to do our best to try to keep him here,” King said before Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.

Young was in uniform and available to make his Brooklyn debut.

“It’s been hectic,” said Young, who was traded from Minnesota to the Nets in exchange for future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett just prior to Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. “It’s been crazy from start to finish. People texting me, trying to get things closed out in Minnesota and trying to get all packed up. It’s just been crazy but I’m here, ready to go and ready to play.”

Young, 26, brings youth and athleticism to a team in desperate need of it. At 6-8, he also can allow the Nets to match up easier when opposing squads go small.

The seven-year pro owns career averages of 13.8 points and 5.5 rebounds on 49.5 percent shooting. His dunk count has gone down over the past three seasons, however, from 82 to 57 to 14.

“I definitely feel like I’m starting to get back to myself,” Young said. “It’s just been a rough and difficult time the past couple of years and players have those types of years where they start off bad and then pick it up towards the middle or the end of the season so hopefully 2015 came in and I can start playing.”

Young acknowledged that the Nets have been after his services for some time.

“You hear the rumors and you hear the talk and I’m always prepared for anything. I know the business and understand the business. I’ve been playing going on eight years so I understand,” Young said.

Young is thrilled to go from a rebuilding situation to a team trying to claim one of the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

“I think we have a lot of good players and we can make a run and potentially get into the playoffs,” he said. “We just have to go out there and play and I hope me coming here to this team I can help this team get back there.”

Young explained what it was like to be in limbo while he waited to see if KG would waive his no-trade clause.

“My future was laying in his hands. It’s only right to bring the legend back home,” Young said. “They told me we have a trade, but he has a no-trade clause. I did watch KG growing up and I definitely looked up to him. I understand what he’s done for that franchise and the things he’s done for this league. He’s a legend.”

Said King: “We probably felt this deal was going to happen as of [Thursday] morning in talking to KG. We were content if this was the only deal we were going to make. Overall, I think we’re still competitive and we have a chance at the playoffs. I do believe with this group and adding Thaddeus we got better.”

King will miss Garnett’s work ethic and veteran presence.

“It was tough because I got to know Kevin and I like Kevin a lot. When you start practice at 11, he’s there at 8 and your young guys look at him and say if he’s there, I have to be there, but at this point it was a deal I think we had to make.”

ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Arash Markazi contributed to this report.

Big Ticket's gone, costly mistakes remain

February, 20, 2015
Feb 20
3:36
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The Brooklyn Nets are quickly falling out of the conversation, their once-growing relevancy in the sports world fading fast.

The star-hungry Nets have the NBA’s highest payroll, yet sport the league’s lowest local TV ratings despite their multiple Emmy-award-winning broadcast team.

And now that Kevin Garnett has been traded to Minnesota, they lack any player who moves the needle on a national level despite fielding three max-salaried players on their roster.

Make no mistake: Getting Thaddeus Young for KG was a nice haul. KG is obviously on the decline, and Young is 12 years his junior. The Nets desperately needed an infusion of youth and athleticism, and, despite Young’s dunk totals dropping fairly considerably (82, 57, 14) over the past three years, they got at least some of that in this deal.

But this isn’t about the Nets bolstering their halfway decent chances of qualifying for the playoffs. They did that. They even managed to save some money, too. No, this is about the grand scheme of things, and in the grand scheme of things, the Nets are still an $88 million mess.

Win-now deals by GM Billy King for Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and KG cost the Nets significant assets -- including Derrick Favors, the future first-round picks that became Enes Kanter, Damian Lillard, Gorgui Dieng, Shane Larkin and James Young, a 2015 first-round pick swap with Atlanta, their 2016 unprotected first-round pick, a 2017 first-round pick swap with Boston and their 2018 unprotected first-round pick.

Add it all up, and you get eight playoff wins and one playoff series win. And with Garnett gone, all that’s left from those moves are Williams, Johnson and Thad Young, who will make his Nets debut tonight against the Lakers.

Thursday’s trade deadline could have provided the Nets the opportunity to blow it up and rebuild. It’s just that they put themselves in a position where they couldn’t do that -- a guaranteed lottery pick would be headed Atlanta’s way if they were to tank -- and the closest they got to breaking up their Big Three was the Brook Lopez-Reggie Jackson deal that fell through at the last minute. But somehow, Lopez (whose genuine loyalty to the franchise that has wanted to trade him seemingly on a daily basis for years cannot last -- or can it?) is still here, and Jackson is in Detroit.

Think about this: The Nets were on the verge of handing the keys to their franchise over to the disgruntled Jackson and probably maxing him out. That move would’ve meant permanent backup duty for Williams, who has fallen mightily from his once joked about power position of assistant to the assistant GM.

If Williams (2016-17), Johnson (2015-16) and Lopez (2015-16) stay until their contracts expire, the Nets would still owe the trio $85 million.

Their books get much lighter in the summer of 2016, and you wonder if things will be different by then. Will they have a new owner? Will they become a profitable franchise?

The Nets lost $144 million in basketball-related business last season. They’ve cut their combined payroll and luxury taxes from nearly $200 million in 2013-14 to under $110 million in 2014-15.

The Nets are currently being paid about $25 million this season in local TV rights fees -- about the equivalent of the small-market Minnesota Timberwolves, according to sources.

Their deal with YES Network contains a reset in 2017-18, sources said. The Los Angeles Clippers, who recently sold for a staggering $2 billion, are hoping to get triple what the Nets are getting when they negotiate their new local TV contract in the near future.

The Nets, who ESPN.com reported in January are up for sale, would like to match both of those numbers -- if not exceed them. But that’s going to be tough given their current situation.

They have a lot of good things working for them: a beautiful $1 billion arena, the development of a $45 million practice facility on the waterfront in Brooklyn and the New York market, which could eventually be an asset one day. It’s just that they’re missing a golden opportunity to gain momentum when their city rivals in Manhattan, the New York Knicks, are just as much of a mess themselves.

The Nets got themselves into this mess. And it won’t be easy getting out of it.

In a business in which winning and interest usually go hand-in-hand, the Nets have a long way to go to restore relevancy and get themselves back in the conversation once again.

4 thoughts on Nets' deadline decisions

February, 19, 2015
Feb 19
4:28
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And after all of that, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams are all still members of the Brooklyn Nets.

Kevin Garnett, however, is not.

Garnett agreed to waive his no-trade clause and will head back to Minnesota, where his Hall of Fame career began.

In return, the Nets acquired a player GM Billy King once drafted in Philadelphia, Thaddeus Young.

Here are a few thoughts from a crazy day:

1. It’s crazy to think that in June 2013, the Nets traded three unprotected first-round picks (2014, 2016, 2018) and the right to swap firsts in 2017 to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Garnett and Paul Pierce. As of Feb. 19, 2015, they have Young. Not a good look.

Still, Garnett, 38, appeared to be on the significant decline, and talks of a buyout had come into play, even though KG, by all indications, was intent to stick around. The Nets will miss his mentorship of their younger players -- specifically Mason Plumlee -- but they needed to get younger and more athletic, and the 26-year-old Young qualifies. He averaged 14.3 points and 5.1 rebounds on 45.1 percent shooting in 33.4 minutes per game for the Timberwolves.

The one Young stat that really stands out are his dunks over the past three seasons: 82, 57, 14. The hope is that was a product of being on a bad, rebuilding team, not a decline in his game.

Young is making $9.4 million this season. He can opt out of the final $10 million due to him in 2015-16 over the summer and become a free agent, if he wishes. The trade saved the Nets $10 million in salary and luxury taxes from the beginning of the year.


2. It appeared as though Lopez was headed to Oklahoma City in a package that included 24-year-old point guard Reggie Jackson. The Nets and Thunder had re-engaged in trade talks Wednesday night, and they picked up again Thursday. One possible scenario had the deal expanding to also include Young and Garnett. But the Thunder ultimately decided to go in another direction, sending Jackson to Detroit and acquiring Enes Kanter from Utah. Which is ironic, given that the Jazz picked Kanter with one of the first-round picks they acquired from the Nets in exchange for D-Will in February 2011.

It seems like oft-injured Lopez has been involved in more trade rumors than any player in league history, yet he remains with Brooklyn, as the franchise’s longest-tenured player (seven seasons and counting). Although, how much does loyalty even mean these days? Lopez is making $15.7 million this season and has a player option for $16.7 million next season. It’s unknown if he’ll opt out.


3. The Nets made it known in December that Williams, Lopez and Johnson could all be had via trade. They certainly tried.

Look at all these trade talks that never came to fruition: Williams and Sacramento; Lopez and OKC, Miami and Denver; Johnson and Charlotte and Detroit. There were also talks about Jarrett Jack and Detroit and Washington. Brooklyn’s maxed-out big three has played 102 games together because of injury, with a 58-44 record to show for it. But they are just 23-31 against .500 or better teams (at time of game played), per the Elias Sports Bureau.

Lopez has been through seven different coaches and three different foot surgeries. Williams, once given the keys to the franchise nearly four years ago, appears to be in a permanent reserve role. Johnson has been the most consistent of the trio, though he’s recently been plagued by injury and fatigue. Williams is owed $21 million next season and, if he doesn’t opt out, $22.3 million in 2016-17. Johnson is owed $24.9 million next season -- the final year of his deal. By not bringing Jackson in, at least the Nets continued to preserve the boatload of cap space they have for the summer of 2016.


4. The race for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference got a lot more interesting. Detroit bolstered its chances by adding by adding Jackson, while Miami improved immensely by bringing Goran Dragic into the fold. Just two games separate seventh-place Charlotte (22-30), the eighth-place Heat (22-30), ninth-place Brooklyn (21-31), 10th-place Boston (20-31), 11th-place Detroit (21-33) and 12th-place Indiana (21-33). Making the playoffs is important for the Nets since the Atlanta Hawks have the right to swap firsts with Brooklyn in 2015 as a result of the Johnson deal.
NBA All-Star weekend partyJohnny Nunez/Getty ImagesFunkmaster Flex spins at The Finale hosted by Nicki Minaj at Pacha.
NEW YORK –- The NBA's midwinter classic has come and gone, and all we are left with is the bitter cold.

But despite the frigid temperatures, New York City was sizzling during All-Star Weekend.

From a Kanye West outdoor show in the Flatiron District to a surprise concert by music royalty at the Jordan Brand 30th Anniversary Party, ESPNNewYork.com brings you behind the ropes at some of the most memorable All-Star events.

THURSDAY

There were parties as early as Wednesday in the city, including Bud Light MixxTail's pregame apartment party. DJs spun hip-hop in a loft above Broadway near 18th Street with the big game still days away.

[+] EnlargeKanye West
Dave Kotinsky/Getty ImagesKanye West performs at the Roc City Classic in the Flatiron District.
But Thursday night is when things really started popping in the city.

Kevin Durant and Roc Nation Sports took over the Flatiron District, holding an outdoor concert right off Broadway and 23rd with the incredible backdrop of high-rise buildings behind the stage.

Longtime hip-hop radio personality Angie Martinez of Power 105.1 kept thousands of fans engaged as they waited in the bone-chilling temperatures. Finally, Kanye West -- fresh off his Grammys stunt when he briefly walked onto the stage as Beck was accepting his award -- stepped up with a few of his friends, including rapper Big Sean.

Beck fans had their revenge, though. Kanye performed with one of the surrounding buildings sporting a “BECK!” display in its windows.

Seen in the crowd of thousands (10,000 tickets were distributed) at the first annual Roc City Classic was rapper Drake, who caused a commotion during and after the concert just by walking around Broadway with his friends.

After the concert, several guests with VIP passes were unable to get into Jay Z's nearby 40/40 Club, where the after-party was held. The club hit its fire-code max capacity –- a common occurrence this past weekend.

Also on Thursday night, American Express and TNT threw an All-Star party at Hammerstein Ballroom featuring Fall Out Boy. Shaquille O'Neal was even seen getting behind the DJ booth.

FRIDAY

On Friday, All-Star weekend got going with the celebrity game at MSG. But even if you didn’t have a ticket for that, or for the Rising Stars Challenge at Barclays Center, there was at least one event where fans could watch the game with a soundtrack spun by a famous DJ.

[+] EnlargeDerek Jeter
Alo Ceballos/GC ImagesDerek Jeter was out and about for All-Star Weekend.
JBL by Harman hosted a private viewing party for the celebrity game at Harman’s store in Midtown. Portland All-Star guard Damian Lillard was there, with hip-hop producer Jermaine Dupri in the DJ booth.

Further downtown, the Jordan Brand hosted its annual All-Star party, which many consider the event of the weekend. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Air Jordan, the party was “bigger and better than ever,” according to ESPN’s J.A. Adande.

His Airness, Derek Jeter and Jay Z were among those spotted at the party in the financial district.

The lucky fans who attended got to see Ariana Grande perform -- and then watched as Prince took the stage.

“Prince went for two and a half hours,” Adande wrote.

Take it from someone who has seen the Purple One perform multiple times –- it’s a gift. Prince enjoys his craft and really cares about delivering a memorable performance.

According to the AP’s music writer, Prince brought some celebs onto the stage to jam with him, including Chris Rock, Questlove, Queen Latifah and actress Rosario Dawson. Rapper Nas could be seen singing along to Prince’s “When Doves Cry” in the crowd.

Yeah, that had to be the party of the weekend.

But there were others. That same night near Korea Town, TNT analyst and New York's own Kenny Smith threw his All-Star party at Pranna.

Former Jet Antonio Cromartie and other former NBA stars like Ralph Sampson and Antoine Walker mingled in a crowd that enjoyed tunes spun by what basically was an All-Star lineup of hip-hop DJs. D-Nice, Funkmaster Flex and DJ Red Alert spun old-school jams to the delight of the packed club. With Ed Lover at his side in the booth, the legendary Red Alert kept the hits coming while Smith gave shout-outs from his VIP section above. At one point, Smith gave a shout-out to another legendary hip-hop DJ, Kid Capri, who was in the crowd.

SATURDAY

Barclays Center was packed for All-Star Saturday night, where the Slam Dunk competition made a comeback thanks to Zach LaVine.

[+] EnlargeSpike Lee
Brad Barket/Getty ImagesSpike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee hit the red carpet on game night.
Within walking distance of Barclays, Spike Lee threw his “Spreadin’ Love is Da Brooklyn Way” All-Star Weekend Sneaker Jam.

In the city, Jeter was busy playing host at The Players’ Tribune party at Canoe Studios. Russell Wilson, Rob Gronkowski, CC Sabathia and Matt Harvey were among those who got to see Common perform and do an epic freestyle shout-out to all the celebrities in the room.

The National Basketball Players Association party returned to All-Star Weekend on Saturday night, with Fabolous performing in front of a crowd that included the likes of Puff Daddy, Snoop Dogg and DJ Khaled, among others. Capitale, where the party was held, was so packed that security in front stopped allowing people in around 1:30 a.m.

SUNDAY

The Garden was as packed as we can remember for the All-Star Game. You couldn’t walk the concourse without noticing a New York luminary -- from former Knick Charles Smith to former Yankee Dave Winfield.

The NBA had musical and Broadway acts perform before and during the All-Star Game. A giant stage took over one baseline behind a basket, and it had a Super Bowl halftime performance production feel to it. Christina Aguilera opened with some help from Nas. And Ariana Grande was the halftime act, with a surprise cameo from Nicki Minaj, who delivered the bang for their hit song “Bang Bang” with Jessie J.

Russell Westbrook then completed one of the best games in All-Star history with 41 points to win the MVP trophy.

Despite temperatures that made New York feel like Hoth, the city partied like it was making up for 17 years of lost time since the All-Star Game was last here in 1998.

NBA unveils 'History of NYC Hoops' map

February, 9, 2015
Feb 9
1:22
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NYC History of NBA mapCourtesy of NBA.com"A History of New York City Basketball" is an interactive map that charts Big Apple hoops history.
With All-Star Weekend nearly upon us in New York, the NBA has made an interactive “History of New York City Basketball” map that features just about every notable basketball figure who has called the Big Apple home.

The map is available via the NBA's All-Star NYC app and NBA.com (for the full interactive map, click here; for a jpeg image file, click here.

The map is a virtual who's who of New York basketball, featuring information on more than 500 NYC legends, highlights of more than 150 icons, and more than 140 photos.

From Rucker Park to the 108th Street courts in Rockaway Beach, the map spotlights more than 100 city landmarks and schools located throughout the New York boroughs.

The NBA will also hand out 5,000 copies of the map to schools and community-based organizations around the city.

Amid the noise, Lopez's play doing talking

February, 3, 2015
Feb 3
7:59
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –- For much of this season, Brook Lopez's name has been mentioned often either in trade rumors or stories pertaining to what Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins might have said about the center.

But despite all the talk around him, Lopez is starting to hit his stride and make more noise with his play on the court. In the past three games, Lopez is averaging 25.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 55.9 percent shooting –- all while coming off the bench.

[+] EnlargeBrook Lopez
Rob Carr/Getty ImagesBrook Lopez is averaging 25.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 55.9 percent shooting over the past three games.
The biggest Net is putting up big numbers, and perhaps it is no coincidence that Brooklyn is playing some of its best basketball in the past three games, even if it went 1-2 during that stretch against quality teams such as the Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Lopez has no control over what will happen with him leading up to the Feb. 19 trading deadline. Considering how the 7-footer is playing, Lopez's value could only go up between now and then.

But Lopez has blocked out the trade rumors, and he and Hollins may have found common ground after having to adjust to one another earlier this season.

"Brook is playing his game now," point guard Deron Williams said before the Nets flew to Toronto to face the Raptors on Wednesday. "Early on, I think him and Lionel were having some differences of the style they wanted him to play.

"I think Coach kind of accepted that Brook is who he is. It is definitely benefiting Brook as a player right now and I think us as a team because he is really comfortable out there and being aggressive."

The easy-going Lopez joked with reporters that he and Hollins still don't see eye-to-eye -– a storyline earlier this season after Hollins was at times critical of Lopez and Mason Plumlee and wanted to see improvement from his big men.

"I still don't think we get along very well," Lopez cracked with a laugh. "But we are figuring each other out."

Hollins, who said earlier in the season that he had to adjust to the roster and its tendencies, praised Lopez for his hustle during Monday's 102-100 win over the Clippers. Lopez had 24 points, seven rebounds and one steal in 37 minutes.

"Just playing as a group, playing for your teammates," Hollins said. "Everybody, listen. Brook -- I am stressing out with everybody. But everybody was asking me about Brook every day, asking me about Mase [Plumlee] every day. But I stress out with everybody. It is a part of what we are trying to do as a team."

There were plenty of questions about Lopez since the 7-footer was returning from a season-ending foot injury suffered in December 2013. Lopez struggled to adjust when Hollins brought him off the bench following a back injury in December.

Hollins is an old-school, no-nonsense coach and isn't shy about letting it be known how much a player still needs to improve.

"He's different than any coach I have had, that's for sure," Williams said. "I played for Jerry Sloan, who was old-school. That is what they say with [Hollins] but [they're] different personalities, though -- more blunt."

That approach works with some players and may grate on others. Certainly there was an adjustment period for Hollins and his players.

Lopez, though, also had to deal with trade rumors as the Nets were exploring deals involving Lopez and Williams in an effort to improve and still compete for a playoff spot while hoping to acquire some future assets.

Lopez averaged 14.1 points and 6.5 rebounds in eight games in December but began to play better. In January, he scored in double figures in 12 of his 15 games.

He also has had some of his best games during the Nets' biggest wins this season. He had 16 points and 16 rebounds in a victory over San Antonio, had 29 points in a win at Chicago and scored 26 in a victory at Washington.

Before the Clippers win, Lopez had 35 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and three steals in an overtime loss to Toronto on Friday.

"It is all a process," Hollins said Monday. "Where are we? I don't know. Can we turn it around? I don't know. But I like the way we are playing."

Jack's heroics a welcome respite for Nets

February, 3, 2015
Feb 3
12:38
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video

NEW YORK -- With just 71 seconds remaining Monday night, the Brooklyn Nets trailed the Los Angeles Clippers by eight points.

A fifth consecutive loss seemed imminent.

But then something surprising happened: To borrow a line from the Simpsons, "Everything came up Nets."

The fun began with a 3-pointer by Deron Williams.

Then Joe Johnson inexplicably missed two free throws. Only this time, Brook Lopez tapped Johnson's second miss right back to him. Johnson took a few dribbles, moved well beyond the arc and buried a triple of his own.

Next, Jarrett Jack found Alan Anderson wide-open in the corner. Anderson made the 3 and was fouled by Blake Griffin, his sixth. Anderson made the ensuing free throw as well, completing a 10-0 run that gave the Nets a two-point lead.

It was short-lived, however. Chris Paul drove the lane for a layup. Tie game. Eight seconds left.

Brooklyn ball. Williams triggered in. The first option was a flair screen designed for Johnson to nail another buzzer-beater -- this one in the corner. Johnson was covered. No dice.

The second option was a 1-5 pick-and-roll between Jack and Lopez. Bingo. The Nets got the switch they wanted, which created a mismatch: Jack, at 6-foot-3, against 6-foot-11 DeAndre Jordan.

Jack used a crossover dribble to gain separation, dribbled again, hesitated a bit, then pulled up from 17 feet.

Jordan tried to contest. No matter. Book it. Nets 102, Clippers 100. One second remaining.

Jack ran and skipped down the court, doing his best Joe Jesus impersonation, as those who remained at Barclays Center went bonkers.

"It's called the 'One Thou Wow Shuffle,'" Jack said, adding that it's what Johnson did when he hit those four game-winning buzzer-beaters the previous two seasons. "Joe gave it the name. It's copyrighted and everything."

(Urban Dictionary defines a "Thou Wow" as $1,000.)

The Clippers threw the ball away at the other end, completing a collapse that seemed fitting a night after Pete Carroll gave away the Super Bowl by calling that slant pass at the 1-yard line.

The Nets (19-28) had their first win at home since Dec. 29. They improved to 4-20 against .500 or better teams. Their four-game losing streak was over.

"That was crazy. Like everything went perfectly right. You couldn't even script that," Jack said. "Spike [Lee] couldn't even make a better movie. That was a wild one, but we have to build on it.

The Nets' previous four losses had come by 39, 35, 11 and 5 points. The 39-point thrashing was at the hands of these same Clippers.

"They beat the s--- outta us," Jack said bluntly.

The Nets wouldn't let it happen again. Not this time.

The Clippers probably should have won, but they missed 17 free throws. The Nets missed 10. Jordan went 2-for-12. Mason Plumlee went 3-for-10. Both teams combined to shoot 37.2 percent from the stripe, the worst percentage during a game in NBA history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

At this point, the Nets will take what they can get. Lopez (24 points) and Johnson (22) went off. Both have been playing well at the same time. In their past three games, Lopez is averaging 25.7 points, Johnson 21.7.

Add in Williams (15 points in 29 minutes), and things look a lot better than they once did.

It's only one game. At least it's something to build on.

"I just needed a little separation," Jack said. "Right when it left my hand, I knew it was cash."

Doc reunited with KG just for one night

February, 2, 2015
Feb 2
10:25
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NEW YORK –- As Kevin Garnett was about to start his pregame rituals Monday, he made a slight detour on his way to halfcourt.

Garnett ventured over to the Clippers bench and gave a hug to his former coach with the Celtics, Doc Rivers.

Rivers was reunited with Garnett a day after the Nets’ big man was asked by reporters if he would consider a buyout if one was offered by Brooklyn.

[+] EnlargeKevin Garnett
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesWhile Kevin Garnett says he's committed to the Nets, former coach Doc Rivers stressed KG doesn't like losing.
Garnett wasn’t comfortable with the topic and eventually ended the session with reporters when pressed further about his thoughts on a buyout. If such a scenario ever took place, the Clippers certainly would be a logical landing spot with Doc there and Garnett living in Southern California during the offseason.

But sources said Garnett, who is in the final season of his contract worth $12 million, isn’t looking for a buyout. And he pretty much said as much, citing his family and how he is “all-in here” with the Nets and teaching youngsters such as Mason Plumlee.

Garnett may not be playing for the title contender he envisioned in Brooklyn when he waived his no-trade clause to be traded here from Boston before last season.

Garnett was supposed to play at least a couple of seasons with Paul Pierce in Brooklyn with Jason Kidd as coach. Of course, much has changed since last season and the Nets’ original title designs have been altered.

But once Garnett opted to return in the summer for one more season with the Nets, the loyal veteran committed himself to Brooklyn despite the Nets losing more than he probably can stomach.

“Well, he doesn’t like losing, period,” Rivers said of Garnett before the Clippers faced the Nets. “In anything. We all know that. But he is such a pro. I know he is dealing with it in the right way. He knows where he is at in his career.

“Plumlee I think is the biggest beneficiary of having Kevin around,” Rivers continued. “I can’t imagine the tutelage and experience that Plumlee gets from Kevin every single day. Kevin is a great teacher.”

This was the first time Garnett has played against his old coach without Pierce, who now is in Washington, by his side. Garnett did not play in Los Angeles when the Nets and Clippers met in January.

With Rivers watching, the 38-year-old veteran moved past Nate Thurmond for eighth on the NBA's career rebounds list; he had 11 rebounds and six points against the Clippers.

Rivers admitted it is still strange to see Garnett on the opposing side.

“You know, I think it is weird seeing KG without me, forget Pierce,” Rivers joked when asked how odd it is to see Garnett without Pierce. “No, it is just weird seeing all of us [former Celtics without each other]. We were together for a good bit and had a lot of success together.

“We still talk and all that, but it is different when you play against those guys. It is competitive because I just know them, they always want to beat you. And vice versa. But it is for sure different.”

The return of LFrank: Former Nets head coach and assistant Lawrence Frank was back in Brooklyn for the first time as an assistant on Rivers’ bench.

Rivers was asked before the game about Frank’s departure from the organization after Kidd demoted Frank early last season.

“It was handled very smoothly if I remember correctly, right?” Rivers said when asked about Frank’s short second stint with the Nets. “We talked about it last year. We don’t bring it back up much. I am sure some guys had some wise cracks for him today on the bus [on the way to the arena] or something like that.

“But not much [talk about last year]. Lawrence and I, I have known him for so long now. That is old news for us.”

Nets GM King not in hurry to make a trade

February, 2, 2015
Feb 2
8:20
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NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King would like to see his team play more before deciding whether to make a move prior to the Feb. 19 trade deadline.

"I would say more now, we're not making phone calls, phone calls are coming in, and we're evaluating things, but right now I want to see this group play," King said Monday night during a pregame show segment on the team's official website.

"I still have confidence in this group that they can get the job done, get us in the playoffs. So right now we're going to see how we can finish up going into the All-Star break, and then go in and we have a week after that to the deadline, and if a deal makes sense we'll do it, but we're not going to just make a trade to make a trade."

The Nets (18-28) have lost four straight and 12 of 14. But given that they play in the Eastern Conference and are just 1.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot, there is more than enough time left to make up that ground.

Also, Williams is finally back after missing the previous 11 games due to a rib fracture.

"I've talked to Brook [Lopez] about it, I've talked to Joe [Johnson], I've talked to Deron, the players all know it's part of the business, but we're not looking just to get rid of these guys just because they're saying they're gonna do that," King said. "We're exploring things that make sense as people call, but we're not going to be making a trade to make a trade. That's foolish."

The Nets have engaged teams in trade conversations regarding max-contract players Lopez, Johnson and Williams, sources tell ESPN.com, but nothing has materialized.

Nets among teams eyeing Andray Blatche

February, 2, 2015
Feb 2
1:08
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The Brooklyn Nets are interested in a potential reunion with Andray Blatche, according to league sources.

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Sources told ESPN.com that the Nets are among the teams tracking Blatche, who just became a free agent after his team in China failed to reach the Chinese Basketball Association playoffs.

The Nets have one open roster spot and, according to sources, are on a list of Blatche suitors that also includes the Memphis Grizzlies. It remains to be seen, however, whether the Miami Heat will rekindle their long-standing interest in Blatche, given the recent emergence of big man Hassan Whiteside with the Heat.

Blatche finished the season with averages of 31.1 points and 14.6 rebounds for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers.

Blatche played a key reserve role for the Nets last season, averaging 11.2 points per game, but the team elected not to re-sign him over the summer. Plagued by a history of off-court mishaps, Blatche missed four games in December 2013 due to personal reasons, with Grantland’s Zach Lowe subsequently reporting that Blatche was sent away from the team due to a lack of conditioning and preparedness.

The Nets (18-28) have lost four straight and 12 of their past 14 to drop into ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Garnett skips around buyout talk

February, 1, 2015
Feb 1
2:07
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Will Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Garnett receive a buyout that enables him to sign with a contender and chase a second championship in what could be his final NBA season?

Who knows.

“I haven’t really thought about the intangibles on the side. I don’t know what management is going to do,” Garnett said Sunday.

“When my situation comes up, I’ll obviously give it some attention. Other than that, my attention is trying to get us on a winning streak, get us on a road where everybody’s playing together. If you have another level, go to it. I haven’t even thought about my own personal [situation].

“I’m all-in here," he said. "You understand what that means? Mase [Mason Plumlee], the young guys, Cory [Jefferson], I’ve been trying to help them develop. I haven’t really, obviously, coming in, I knew it was going to be a challenge this year with Paul [Pierce] leaving; every time you give away experience like that it’s going to be difficult. The younger guys, the Europeans, all that. Chemistry, transition. All those variables go into a lot of things.

“So it’s not like I came in here thinking one thing and then it being another," he said. "I understood. I came in here ready to play, having a different mindset. But for the most part I never put myself above the agenda of the team, which is winning, helping young guys progress. That’s me. I give. I haven’t thought too much of my own personal [situation]. When that road comes, I’ll cross it and I’ll deal with it. A lot of things with family, situation and things, it’s not just convenient to get up and move, to change things. It’s not as convenient as it once was when I was younger. I have a lot more responsibilities and things to take into account.”

When asked a follow-up question trying to clarify things, Garnett responded, “See, this is why I don’t talk to y’all.”

D-Will inching closer to return

February, 1, 2015
Feb 1
2:02
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams went through a full practice Sunday and is being listed as questionable for Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

“I feel pretty good,” Williams said. “I guess it’s just how I feel tomorrow when I wake up.”

With snow coming into the area, the Nets have canceled Monday's shootaround.

Williams has missed the past 11 games due to a rib cartilage fracture. The Nets struggled without him, ranking 25th in offensive efficiency (97.3 points per 100 possessions) in the month of January.

The pending return of Williams means that starter Jarrett Jack will actually be able to get some rest. Jack sat for just 47 seconds of Brooklyn’s overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

Because Williams has played just four minutes over the past 13 games due to injury and third-stringer turned backup Darius Morris has been mostly ineffective, Jack has averaged 37.4 minutes over that span.

The Nets (18-28) have lost four straight and are 2-12 in their past 14 games.

Williams, 30, is averaging 13.9 points and 6.3 assists on 39.6 percent shooting this season. He had been coming off the bench before getting injured.

“We’ve slipped into the ninth spot in the East, people are on our heels, so I’ve been wanting to play,” Williams said.

How much does KG have left?

January, 31, 2015
Jan 31
2:49
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NEW YORK -- How much does Kevin Garnett have left in the tank?

It was easy to wonder after the 38-year-old veteran logged just nine minutes Friday night.

When asked why Garnett played so little, Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins responded: “It’s just a coach’s decision.”

Is Garnett healthy?

“Yes,” Hollins replied.

Over his past eight games, Garnett is averaging just 4.1 points and 4.5 rebounds on 45.7 percent shooting in 16.5 minutes.

In January, the Nets were outscored by 13.8 points per 100 possessions with Garnett on the court -- the worst mark of any regular rotation member on the team.

Mason Plumlee has been mostly able to maintain a high level of consistency, while Brook Lopez continues to round back into form with every game he plays.

Plumlee and Lopez are the future of the team -- assuming Lopez isn’t traded by the Feb. 19 deadline, of course.

Garnett hasn’t come off the bench since Jan. 27, 1996 -- the 38th game of his career.

Might it be better to make him a reserve? That’s something Hollins may have to weigh.

Nevertheless, Garnett has plenty of redeeming qualities. He’s a terrific leader inside the locker room, has settled into a supporting role without making so much as a peep and remains a smart-minded defender despite his loss of athleticism.

Garnett, who is in the final year of his contract ($12 million), has a no-trade clause. If this is indeed the end of his career, you’d love to see him be able to chase a second ring before it’s all over.

Still, you wonder how much Garnett can contribute. Maybe he just needs some rest.

Either way, make sure to enjoy KG while you still can.

Soak in his pregame rituals and on-court antics. His intensity. His willpower to win.

Because a player like him may never come along again.

With clouds hovering, Nets' effort inspires

January, 31, 2015
Jan 31
1:47
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NEW YORK -- These days in Brooklyn, it feels like it’s every man for himself.

Owner Mikhail Prokhorov is trying to sell the team.

Meanwhile, GM Billy King (who might make a few trades) and coach Lionel Hollins (who is facing a close evaluation from higher-ups) are trying to salvage a $90 million wreck.

Uncertainty permeates throughout the organization.

Missing the playoffs would mean swapping a lottery pick with the Atlanta Hawks for a first in the late 20s. Ugh.

Hope comes in the form of 2016 cap space. That’s pretty much it.

Also consider: Brooklyn’s three max players -- Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams (injured) -- have been in trade talks centered on Kendrick Perkins, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Darren Collison. Ugh.

But on Friday night, for 53 minutes anyway, all of that was forgotten.

For 53 minutes, the Nets looked like a team that gave a damn, a team that their fanbase could be proud of.

If only they had gotten the desired result.

To be clear: The Nets had their chances to upset the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors.

They just couldn’t get the defensive stops or rebounds needed to get the W.

Lopez even had a wide-open look from the top of the key at the end of regulation. He missed it.

In overtime, the Raptors, who had blown a 17-point lead, pulled away for a 127-122 win.

The Nets (18-28) have now lost four straight and 12 of 14. They are 3-20 against. 500 or better teams.

Still, after dropping two straight in Los Angeles and Utah by a combined 74 points, at least their past two efforts have been admirable. If only that mattered to their starting point guard, who had the game of his life despite playing all but 47 seconds of it.

[+] EnlargeJarrett Jack
Nathaniel Butler/NBAE/Getty Images Jarrett Jack had a career-high 35 points against one of his former teams.
“It sucks,” said Jarrett Jack, who scored a career-high 35 points and matched a career-high with 13 assists, finishing two rebounds shy of a triple-double in a career-high 52 minutes, 13 seconds. “Especially when you battle back like that. But the thing is, there are no moral victories.”

The Nets are a game back of the Charlotte Hornets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

But here’s the good news: 1. There are still 36 games left 2. The teams in front of them have their own issues and 3. If they play like they did Friday night with any sort of consistency, they’ll probably limp into the postseason.

Meanwhile, Lopez is starting to really find his game. He had a season-high 35 points and 12 rebounds in 41 minutes off the bench.

Sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that the Denver Nuggets dangled McGee and J.J. Hickson for Lopez. The Nets refused. He has to be worth more than that, no?

Also, Williams, who has missed 11 straight games due to a rib fracture, should be back soon, maybe Monday night when the Clippers come to town.

That being said, Hollins won’t have to say, “What are you gonna do? It is what it is” when asked why he played Jack that much. The crazy thing is Jack, the worst real plus-minus floor general in the NBA, got the best of Kyle Lowry (4-for-17), who gutted through 44 minutes despite coming up limping on a drive late in the third quarter.

Nevertheless, the Nets certainly need Williams. The advanced metrics bear that out.

Still, Brooklyn just needs to win a game. The Nets went 0-fer at home in the month of January.

They decided to hold a pregame shootaround at their $1 billion arena for the first time all season only to fall behind 10-0 and 16-3.

Along with their inability to stop DeMar DeRozan (26 points), Louis Williams (25) or Amir Johnson (24), the poor start proved to be the difference. DeRozan and many of the Raptors have said they don’t consider this thing a rivalry, but it would be fun for them to go at each other again in the spring. Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd may be gone, but the Nets’ Twitter account sure seemed a bit miffed when the people who run it saw Toronto’s new logo looked eerily similar to their own. “Looks familiar,” the tweet read. “We The North” vs. “We Are Brooklyn.” Let’s do it.

Johnson was frustrated after the game. He was doubled on the final possession of regulation before Lopez’s miss, which came off a perfect play design. Didn’t matter. Things are bad. Maybe they’ll get better.

“It’s not a great feeling,” Johnson said. “We’re just going to keep fighting and hopefully we’ll get out of this slump.”

D-Will does some contact but out vs. Raps

January, 29, 2015
Jan 29
5:05
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –- Deron Williams participated in most of Thursday’s practice and did some limited contact but remains out.

Williams will miss his 11th straight game against Toronto on Friday night at Barclays. But the point guard is making progress with his fractured rib cartilage injury.

“I only did like two plays of contact,” said Williams. “It wasn’t like I did a lot. Those guys are playing heavy minutes right now and some guys are banged up so there’s not much practice we can do.”

Williams, though, couldn’t do much of anything for the first couple of weeks that he was out due to the painful injury. So this is a step in the right direction.

After the Raptors game, the Nets play the Clippers on Monday at home and then at the Raptors again next Wednesday before a home showdown against the Knicks on Friday.

“It’s a pain thing, a tolerance thing,” Williams said. “I guess when it feels I’m not feeling the pain when I’m out there playing, you know, then I guess that it’s healed.”

No place like home: The Nets (18-27) will try to avoid being shut out at home in the month of January without Williams. The Nets are 0-6 at Barclays in January with one final chance to win a January home game against Toronto (31-15) on Friday.

The Nets have lost 11 of their last 13 games but head coach Lionel Hollins still plans on grinding away and not altering his approach.

“Do you change your approach when life doesn’t go the way you want it?” Hollins said when asked if he ever changes his approach in the midst of a slump like this. “There’s some people that change their approach –- they go kill themselves. But we’re trying to compete, and play.

“I’m not trying to equate basketball with death -- life and death,” Hollins clarified. “But still, there’s adversity and you have to fight through it. You could go lay down under a bridge and beg for money -– you could do a lot of things other than keep fighting. Competition is about keep fighting. Playing sports, there’s going to be bad moments and you keep fighting.”

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Joe Johnson
PTS AST STL MIN
15.7 3.6 0.8 35.6
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsM. Plumlee 6.8
AssistsD. Williams 6.3
StealsJ. Jack 1.1
BlocksB. Lopez 1.7