New Jersey Nets: New York Knicks

Nets Brooklyn bound: Will things change?

April, 23, 2012
For 86 years, the Red Sox had “The Curse of the Bambino.”

Since 1945, the Cubs have been -- as the legend goes -- cursed by a Billy Goat.

On July 1, 2010, the Nets put up a billboard that said “The Blueprint for Greatness,” featuring owners Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z.

It’s only been two years -- so it’s far from curse-worthy -- but nothing has gone their way ever since.

In the summer of 2010, the Nets were favored to win the lottery and get the No. 1 pick. They lost and got the No. 3 pick.

That same summer, the Nets tried to sign coveted free-agents LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer. They ended up with Travis Outlaw, Anthony Morrow and Johan Petro.

During the season, the Nets tried and tried again to execute a blockbuster trade for Carmelo Anthony. But Melo wanted no part of New Jersey. So he was dealt to the Knicks, and GM Billy King countered by landing Deron Williams out of nowhere.

The Nets finally had their superstar -- with one huge caveat. Williams could opt out of his contract after the 2011-12 season and become a free agent. King knew this, so, following a 24-58 finish to the 2010-11 campaign, he decided to try and reel in a big man to pair with D-Will.

It didn’t work out. Top target Tyson Chandler went to the Knicks, and Nene elected to re-sign with the Nuggets, leaving New Jersey with a team short on talent once again.

Williams announced his intentions to opt out before the 2011-12 season started, and it only got worse from there.

The Nets failed to jell in training camp. And since then, they’ve been decimated by injuries. Brook Lopez, Damion James, Keith Bogans (waived), Jordan Farmar, Mehmet Okur (since traded) and Shawne Williams (since traded) were all lost to season-ending injuries, leaving D-Will without much help.

Coming into Monday night’s home-finale, the Nets had lost 238 manpower games due to injury, illness or personal reasons, an average of 3.7 players per game, and started 24 different lineups. They went just 9-24 at home this season, and struggled on defense and in first quarters. Several D-Leaguers have been called up. Only Gerald Green has been a pleasant surprise.

They thought they were going to land Dwight Howard, but it became one big “Dwightmare,” and D-12 opted to stay in Orlando because of “loyalty.”

King got Gerald Wallace from Portland -- a great all-around hustle player -- but had to sacrifice the team’s top-3 protected 2012 first-round draft pick to do so. The move was highly criticized, viewed as a risk for a franchise that has taken many and gotten burned just as many times. Now, the Nets (22-43) are tied for the sixth-worst record, meaning they only have a 6.3 percent chance of winning the lottery and getting the No. 1 overall pick.

After 35 years in New Jersey, the Nets are moving to Brooklyn and the $1 billion Barclays Center in 2012-13. Their slogan has been “Jersey Strong. Brooklyn Ready.”

Right now, the only guarantees for the franchise are a new building and that MarShon Brooks, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro and Jordan Williams are under contract.

Otherwise, the only certainty is a lot of uncertainty. Eleven of the 15 players on the Nets’ roster are eligible to be free agents in some capacity. Coach Avery Johnson mentioned several -- D-Will, Wallace, Kris Humphries, Lopez and Green -- by name when asked why New Jersey fans should follow the team to Brooklyn, but who knows if they will.

“After the season, guys are going to sit down with their families and decide what’s best for them realistically,” Brooks said after the Nets wrapped up their 35-year tenure in the Garden State with a 105-87 loss to the Sixers. “It’s a business. Whatever team we go to Brooklyn with, we’re going to have to be ready to play.”

The borough of Brooklyn hasn’t had a professional sports franchise since 1957, so there’s going to be a buzz around the Nets. But for how long?

A new building and new uniforms are all well and good, but the Nets must be competitive. And to be competitive, they have to re-sign Williams. He has said he intends to stay -- assuming the Nets put the right pieces around him. They haven’t yet. And even if they do, everything else has to fall into place.

If recent history is any indication, it won’t happen. In 3 1/2 decades, the New Jersey Nets went 1,186-1,635 (.420). And aside from the Jason Kidd era, they didn’t win anything.

Now, they’ll turn the page. Maybe, to avoid a future curse, they should’ve changed their name, too.

Rapid Reaction: Rising Stars Challenge

February, 24, 2012

RECAP: While Team Shaq's Jeremy Lin of the Knicks received the loudest ovation during pregame player introductions, his squad, which also featured his teammate Landry Fields, didn't have a roaring performance. They got blown out by Team Chuck, which included the Nets' MarShon Brooks, 146-133 in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night as part of the NBA's All-Star Weekend.

Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving was named the game's MVP, after only missing one shot -- yes, one shot -- the entire game. He finished 12-for-13 from the field (8-for-8 from 3), en route to a game-high 34 points.

HIGHLIGHTS: As Fields has become an alley-oop threat with the Knicks, thanks to Lin's playmaking off the pick-and-roll, he showed off those same skills tonight. In the second half alone, Fields (16 points) had three alley-oop dunks and clearly outshined Lin, who didn't even hit double digits in minutes. Someone needs to talk to his head coach, Shaquille O'Neal.

Whatever the case, Lin (two points) had his moments, while limited. He had a nice reverse layup in traffic and threw a picture-perfect pass to the Clippers' Blake Griffin for the alley-oop. While Lin to Fields and Tyson Chandler has been fun to watch, imagine Lin to Griffin, who many players call the best current in-game dunker.

As for Brooks (eight points), he delivered on something he's been excelling at lately: hitting 3-pointers. In his past two NBA games, he's gone 6-for-12 from downtown, and tonight he had two 3's, wearing the brightest orange sneakers you'll ever see in your life.

FUNNIEST MOMENT: The arena showed Lin's parents, Shirley and Gie-Ming, on the jumbotron during a "Kiss Cam" segment, and they didn't even realize it. They were both separately texting on their cell phones, and Lin's older brother, Josh, was sitting behind them. Finally, after the arena DJ said something about it, Lin's parents looked up and smiled. Lin and Fields, who were both sitting on the bench at the time, laughed together.

SHUMPERT MISSING, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: While Lin and the Heat's Norris Cole were late additions to the Rising Stars, and deservedly so, Iman Shumpert was robbed of a roster spot. Shumpert let fans know how he felt about it on Twitter, saying "Seeing the personnel in this rookie challenge... #coldgame bro smfh." J.R. Smith gave him a shout-out right after, tweeting, "Watching the chuck an Shaq challenge an @I_Am_Iman isn't in it! #koldGame!"

WHAT'S NEXT: Lin and Fields' Knicks host the Cavaliers on Wednesday night and Brooks' Nets travel to Dallas on Tuesday to take on the Mavericks.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

Brooks in Rising Stars Challenge tonight

February, 24, 2012
Nets guard MarShon Brooks will play in the Rising Stars Challenge at 9 p.m. in Orlando, Fla.

The event was formerly known as the Rookie Challenge and pitted the best second-year players against top rookies during All-Star weekend. The format is different this year: TNT analysts Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley conducted a draft and built teams with a mixture of first- and second-year players.

Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty ImagesBrooks at Friday's practice.

Brooks will play for Team Chuck. Knicks guards Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields will play for Team Shaq.

Other players with ties to New Jersey and New York:

• Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving of Team Chuck played for St. Patrick's High School in Elizabeth, N.J.

• Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson of Team Shaq spent two years at Saint Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J.

• Jazz forward Derrick Favors of Team Chuck was drafted by the Nets and traded to Utah in the Deron Williams blockbuster.

• Bobcats guard Kemba Walker of Team Shaq is a Bronx native who played for Rice High School in Harlem.


Norris Cole, Heat
Landry Fields, Knicks
Blake Griffin, Clippers
Brandon Knight, Pistons
Jeremy Lin, Knicks
Greg Monroe, Pistons
Markieff Morris, Suns
Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves
Tristan Thompson, Cavaliers
Kemba Walker, Bobcats


Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers
DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
Derrick Williams, Timberwolves
Paul George, Pacers
MarShon Brooks, Nets
John Wall, Wizards
Evan Turner, 76ers
Gordon Hayward, Jazz
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs
Derrick Favors, Jazz

Everybody hates Kris; Morrow loses teeth

February, 21, 2012
NEW YORK -- Clearly there's something about Kris Humphries that gets under people's skin.

The crowd booed Kim Kardashian's ex all night, Carmelo Anthony tripped him and Tyson Chandler followed him halfway into the Nets' huddle.

Chris Trotman/Getty ImagesAnthony Morrow lost four teeth after taking an elbow from Carmelo Anthony.

The Knicks downplayed the incidents after the Nets won 100-92 at the Garden on Monday night.

"[It was] just nerves and [being] tired and we just don't like getting beat," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Nothing major."

It seemed that the Nets took the worst of the physicality. Humphries had scratches on his face after the game. Nets guard Anthony Morrow lost four teeth to a Melo elbow.

"It was physical from start to finish," Amare Stoudemire said. "You have to expect that from those guys. They're going to try and play us very physical. That's the way they play; we have to expect that."

The Nets (10-24) certainly came across the river with an edge. It started with Deron Williams, who recorded 38 points, six assists and a career-high eight 3-pointers. He made a point to stick it to Jeremy Lin, who started his rise to international stardom by outplaying Williams at the Garden on Feb. 4, sparking a seven-game winning streak for the Knicks.

Both Lin and Williams fouled out in the fourth quarter on Monday. Lin finished with 21 points, nine assists and seven boards.

Debby Wong/US PresswireKris Humphries had the Knicks' attention Monday.

But the game increasingly became physical under the basket. On one play in the third quarter, Humphries (14 points, 14 rebounds) was tangled with Chandler in the paint, positioning for a rebound, and appeared to push him to the ground. Anthony took exception and poked out his leg to trip Humphries as he went downcourt, and was called for a technical.

"It happens in the course the game," said Anthony, who went 4-for-11 with 11 points, six assists and six turnovers in his first game back from a right groin strain. "It happens. I made a mistake and tripped him."

Chandler was bumping with Humphries much of the night. Humphries and Chandler collided twice on one play in the fourth before Humphries was called for an offensive foul. The two started jawing and, after the Nets called timeout, Chandler followed Humphries into the New Jersey huddle and grabbed him by the arm, which earned Chandler a technical.

"I didn’t think I fouled him to start the play," Humphries said. "I just think he was a little overhyped and came over and slapped me on the arm or something. I don't know. It is what it is. We were just playing ball."

Asked if Humphries probably wouldn't meet with the 7-1 Chandler for dinner after the game, Humphries said: "I'll probably see him later. He's a nice guy. Some people might put it on out there, but off the court he's a gentle giant."

You can follow Christopher Hunt on Twitter.

Johnson on Lin: 'Give the kid credit'

February, 20, 2012
The Knicks have been the definition of futility for the last decade.

But the franchise has enjoyed a rebirth with the emergence of "Linsanity."

"When you haven't won a playoff series in 10 years, they've been starving for this," Nets coach Avery Johnson said when asked about Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin.

"Linsanity" was born on Feb. 4 against Johnson's Nets. An unknown then, Lin came off the bench, exploited the Nets in the pick-and-roll and went for 25 points and seven assists. He has started every game since, leading the Knicks to a 7-1 mark as a starter.

Don't compare Lin to Steve Nash -- another Mike D'Antoni point guard -- just yet, though.

"I've heard a lot of different stories. I even got a question from my daughter whether Lin was in Nash's category. We don't wanna go there. It’s only been nine games," Johnson said. "Give the kid a chance. It's a great global story and he's inspiring a lot of kids, but let's give the kid a chance to play a whole season, maybe even a playoff series before we put him in the Nash category."

The Nets are the first team to see Lin a second time. So is that an advantage?

"Last game [against Dallas] on ball screens they went big on him quite a bit with [Shawn] Marion, and that didn't slow him down that much," Johnson said. "So again, he's obviously seen switches, you've seen teams play him one-on-one and forcing him to score. So he's seen quite a few defenses. But hopefully it's an advantage for us since we've seen him so we know what we're dealing with."

And playing well in D'Antoni's system?

"Systems sometimes can be overrated. Let's give the kid credit," Johnson said. "Mike's had a pretty good system ever since he was in Phoenix, but your system works a lot better when he's playing the way he's playing. So let's give the kid some credit, but also let's give guys like [GM Donnie] Walsh credit who survived and turned this thing around bringing in Melo and Amare."

• As expected, center Brook Lopez is inactive. He seemed upset about it before the game, but Johnson said there was no chance he could talk his way into the lineup. The 23-year-old will play on Wednesday against Orlando. Shelden Williams will start in his place.

D-Will not caught up in 'Linsanity'

February, 15, 2012
Everyone seems to be caught up in "Linsanity."

Everyone ... except D-Will.

"Why would we get excited about the Knicks?" Nets point guard Deron Williams replied when asked about Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin on Wednesday morning. "We're 8-21. I’m worried about us, not what the Knicks are doing."

So, does all the attention the Knicks are getting bother him?

"They're the Knicks," Williams replied.

And the fact that Lin's rise to prominence began against the Nets?

"Y'all got anything about [our game]?" Williams asked. "Anything that's relevant with us?"

Williams said he didn't see Lin's last-second, game-winning 3-pointer against the Raptors on Tuesday night because he hasn't watched TV since he was playing overseas in Turkey.

Williams vs. Lin Part II will take place on Monday night at MSG.

Shawne Williams (mild sprained left shoulder) will miss Wednesday night's game against Memphis.

He is visiting the doctor, and coach Avery Johnson didn't know how he suffered the injury.

Veteran DeShawn Stevenson, who has missed the last two weeks with a sore right knee, will start, Johnson said.

"We've definitely missed him," Johnson said. "We've missed his energy and his experience. Here's a guy who knows how to play the game."

Johnson said he doesn't know if Stevenson will play "40 minutes," but he should see plenty of time at the 3 with Shawne Williams unavailable.

Stevenson will be assigned to guard Grizzlies scoring wing Rudy Gay.

Johnson said the Nets will be careful to monitor his minutes with a string of six games in eight nights coming up.

• So, D-Will, what's up with all these injuries? One day it’s someone. The next day, it’s someone else.

"I told you guys, that's Avery Johnson and his 'New Orleans Voodoo,'" Williams joked.

• Center Mehmet Okur (lower back) remains out. The team will update his status on Saturday. As was already reported, center Brook Lopez is out at least through Thursday. The team will update his status on Friday.

Nets, Spurs notice 'Linsanity,' too

February, 12, 2012
All the recent "Linsanity" over Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin? Blame it on the Big Apple, ex-Net Richard Jefferson says.

"It's New York, it's New York. It's New York City. You do it in the Garden, in New York City against the Lakers, you're doing it for the Knicks," the Spurs small forward said prior to his team's 103-89 victory over the Nets on Saturday night at Prudential Center.

"He'd be getting a lot of attention if he was doing it any place, but doing it in the Garden, doing it for the Knicks makes it that much more special."

Lin went off again on Saturday night in Minnesota, as the Knicks extended their winning streak to five. He needed 24 shots to score 20 points, but drained the go-ahead free throw late. The legend of Lin continues.

Nets coach Avery Johnson has been impressed with what the undrafted Harvard grad has accomplished -- seemingly out of nowhere.

"I think it's great," Johnson said. "I think it's great for the NBA, any time a guy is an underdog and basically is about to get cut, again, and makes it."

Spurs coach Greg Popovich feels the same way.

"It seems strange, it seems out of the blue where all of the sudden this guy's kicking everybody's butt and no one can stop him," Popovich said. "He's helping a team to win with some of its stars that are out, and it just seems improbable, and that's why the story is so great and everyone is in enjoying it."

Povovich claims he isn't surprised. He's probably the only one. Could you really have seen this one coming? Lin has been living on his brother's couch, after all.

"No. In today's world, are you serious?" Popovich said to a reporter, laughing. "There's gazillions of your type everywhere, just waiting for a story. And when something like that happens, its upbeat, it's a win-win for everybody. Everybody's jumping on it. It's an international story. … It's great."

Jefferson is happy for Lin. The two became friendly after they met during pregame chapel sessions.

"It couldn't happen to a better person," Jefferson said. "He's a firm believer that god puts you where you need to be when you need to be there. Like I said, he's a good kid and I'm happy for him."

Johnson thinks Lin is the perfect role model for everyone -- including his son, Avery Jr., who is currently a sophomore in high school.

"For me it's a good argument because I've been trying to encourage my son to go play basketball at an Ivy League school," Johnson said. "My daughter attends an Ivy League school, but he thought you can't go to the NBA from an Ivy League school."

Yes, Jeremy Lin is the American Dream. Most Americans dream of graduating Harvard. But starring in the NBA, too? C’mon now! That's Linsanity!

On Saturday night, Lin > D-Will

February, 4, 2012
The best point guard in Madison Square Garden on Saturday night wasn't Deron Williams. It was a Harvard graduate by the name of Jeremy Lin.

The Nets held Carmelo Anthony to 3-for-15 shooting and Amare Stoudemire played just 25 minutes due to foul trouble, but Lin abused the Nets all evening long, pouring in a career-high 25 points off the bench as the Knicks emerged with a 99-92 victory.

"We tried to trap him, he beat our traps. We tried to stay back on him, and he threw up some Hail Marys and they went in," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "I guess he'll have a good day at church [Sunday]."

Nicole Sweet/US PresswireLittle-used Jeremy Lin was too much for Deron Williams, one of the NBA's best point guards.
In an ugly game that came down to who wanted it more, the team that was playing its third game in three nights emerged over the team that was playing its fourth game in five nights. Lin outscored Williams 12-7 in the fourth quarter, and the Nets went 3-for-10 in the final 5½ minutes as the Knicks closed the contest on a 17-10 run that proved to be the difference.

"I didn't do a good job containing Jeremy Lin," said Williams, who scored just 11 of his 21 points after the first quarter. "There's so much focus on Carmelo and Amare and the other guys, and our game plan was to help off him. And he just started knocking down shots and got confidence and he was relentless taking it to the basket."

On Friday night, it was a Montenegrin by the name of Nikola Pekovic who abused the Nets inside. On Saturday night, it was Lin, an undrafted backup, who abused them with his crafty ball-handling in the pick-and-roll.

"We did a good job containing the stars on those teams and other guys stepped up and beat us," Williams said. "It seemed like they beat us to a lot of loose balls and rebounds that we should've had, especially with them playing three games in three nights."

The Nets got off to a sizzling start, hitting four of their first five 3-pointers, scoring a season high-tying 30 first-quarter points and taking a 10-point lead into the second period. But they went just 6-for-21 from deep the rest of the way, were outrebounded 48-39 and outscored in the paint, 60-28.

"We started off the game great and we got good things and I think we got away from that," Williams said. "They started switching and we just got out of our offense totally. From there, it was just trying to find good shots and good looks, and then we had some breakdowns on defense that really cost us."

By we, Williams must've meant, "I." His pick-and-roll defense was atrocious. When he was supposed to get over screens, he went under them. When he was supposed to body up on Lin, he let the speedy 23-year-old drive right past him for a layup.

"We tried to give him different looks on our pick-and-roll coverage, and he just had a terrific game," Johnson said of Lin.

The Knicks are still lousy. The Nets are too, but at least they have an excuse.

Not having Brook Lopez and MarShon Brooks makes winning games extremely difficult. Allowing anonymous players like Lin and Pekovic to go off makes winning games flat out impossible.

The Nets (8-17) have now lost to the Knicks (9-15) five straight times. Saturday night's game is one they’d love to have back.

"This was a boxing match, they swung last and kind of knocked us out," Johnson said.

Rapid Reaction: Knicks 99, Nets 92

February, 4, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks are terrible, but the Nets can't figure them out. New Jersey lost its fifth straight game to New York, 99-92 on Saturday night. The Nets (8-17) led by as many as 12 but couldn't contain Jeremy Lin -- who? -- and were outrebounded by the much taller Knicks, 48-39.

TURNING POINT: A 9-2 run late in the fourth quarter fueled the Knicks to victory.

EVERYBODY STILL HATES KRIS: Kris Humphries was booed every time he touched the ball -- again. But the boos provided the motivation for his 20-point, 12-rebound performance. Humphries was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, though.

D-WILL: Deron Williams got off to a strong start, scoring 10 points in the first quarter. But he scored just 11 points the rest of the way, and finished 7-for-19 from the field. Williams filled up the stat sheet in other ways, dishing out 11 assists and adding six rebounds.

SIZZLING START The Nets scored a season-high tying 30 points in the first quarter and led by 10 after one. They went 5-for-10 from 3-point range in the opening stanza.

PLAY OF THE GAME: D-Will's behind-the-back-pass to Hump for a dunk that gave the Nets a 35-28 lead in the second quarter.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: The Nets started out 4-for-5 from 3-point range, but finished 6 for their last 21.

UP NEXT: Nets vs. Bulls, 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Hump on MSG boos: 'I don't care'

February, 4, 2012
The Nets have adopted "I love it" as their team slogan this season.

So it's easy to guess how Nets power forward Kris Humphries responded when asked if he expects to be booed by Knicks fans again at the Garden on Saturday night.

"I love it," Humphries said after scoring 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds in his team's 108-105 loss to the Timberwolves on Friday night at Prudential Center. "I don't care. I like a hostile environment. That's gonna make me really get after it. It's motivating."

Knicks fans booed Humphries every time he touched the ball on Dec. 21, when the two teams met in a preseason contest. It certainly caught him off guard.

"The first time I had [re-signed] like two hours earlier and I'm in uniform that day and then I'm getting booed,” said Humphries, who had gone through a highly scrutinized split from Kim Kardashian after just 72 days of marriage in the offseason. "I'm just trying to get my feet under me."

Humphries said he doesn't consider the Nets-Knicks matchup a rivalry this early in the season.

"We've been far away from being a playoff team since I've been here," Humphries said. "I think later on if we're both in that position where we're fighting for a spot, yeah. But to us, it's just another game."

Point guard Deron Williams wants this game, though.

"We're heading to Brooklyn [next season], and we want to make this a rivalry-type game," Williams said. "I'm sure guys have had this one circled and are looking forward to it, so hopefully it'll be a good atmosphere."

Shooting guard Anthony Morrow expects a playoff-type atmosphere. Neither team is currently in the playoff picture, but they're only separated by a half-game in the standings.

"We know the importance of this game, not just because of the city rivalry, but because it's a playoff-type game, and we've gotta take that type of mentality into New York," Morrow said.

"It's huge. You kinda just know everybody around here is a basketball head. The rivalry is big on Twitter and Facebook. It's fun. It’s fun to play at MSG. We just gotta bring the same energy."

LOPEZ UPDATE: Center Brook Lopez has been out with a broken right foot for exactly six weeks.

So when's he going to be back? Next week? After all, the Nets did say the timetable was approximately six to eight weeks.

"I don't know," Lopez said. "I just took a little pocket schedule to [trainer] Timmy [Walsh], and I told him to point out a game, and he folded it up and put it in his pocket."

So what's Lopez doing right now?

"Running, shooting and box jumps, that's about all that's new," Lopez said. "We're gonna start working on some lateral movement soon."

"It feels great. I had no idea how excited I'd be to jump rope," Lopez joked.

Lopez said he still thinks he needs to do some more lateral movements, some pivoting and some jumping before he returns. Right now, he said his reps have been very limited.

He hopes to make it through them without any soreness before amping anything up.

NETS NOTES: The Nets elected to bus into Manhattan late Friday night rather than sit two hours in Lincoln Tunnel traffic, coach Avery Johnson joked. ... Jordan Farmar had 14 points and a season-high tying seven assists. He has now scored in double figures in three straight games. ... Rookie second-rounder Jordan Williams had his second straight solid outing, finishing with eight points and five rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.

Ewing: Won't be easy for Nets in Brooklyn

January, 16, 2012
Patrick Ewing thinks the Nets will have a tough time gaining a fan base in Brooklyn.

Ewing's logic?

He believes most fans in New York root for the Knicks and will not switch allegiances to Mikhail Prokhorov & Co.

"Most of the fans will still be Knick fans," Ewing said when asked about the viability of Brooklyn as a basketball a pro basketball market. "Brooklyn, it's a great town, a great city. It's New York. But most of the people, just like most of the people who were going to Nets games [when Ewing played in New York] were Knicks fans, so they're going to have their work cut out for them to try to change the culture."

The Nets will move to Brooklyn and a brand new arena beginning in 2012-2013.

EWING LIKES TYSON: Ewing is a fan of new Knicks center Tyson Chandler. But he said it's too early to compare the Knicks' trio of Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire to that of he, Anthony Mason and Charles Oakley.

"We won a lot of games," Ewing said with a smile. "They just started, who knows? Definitely, Carmelo and Stoudemire are two great All Stars and Tyson … is a plus; he brings energy and effort."

As for his own big man, Ewing hopes potential free agent Dwight Howard stays in Orlando.

"My opinion, he's the best center in the league right now," Ewing said. "He's great for our team."

The Hall of Famer acknowledged that all of the drama surrounding Howard has been a burden for Orlando.

"It's tough for everybody," Ewing said. "It's tough for the team; it's tough for his teammates; it's tough for management because naturally they want him to be around, want him to be a part of the organization."

EWING FOR HIRE: Ewing, an assistant with the Magic, still has aspirations of becoming a head coach. He interviewed with the Detroit Pistons in the offseason. Detroit ultimately decided to hire ex-Nets coach Lawrence Frank.

"It was great to finally have my first interview. I thought i did a pretty good job," Ewing said. "Like anything, it's a learning experience and the next one I hope to be better ."

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

W2W4: Nets at Knicks

December, 21, 2011
The Nets will close out the preseason by taking on the Knicks on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

DO THE HUMPTY DANCE?: Kris Humphries is back, but coach Avery Johnson said if he plays, it’ll only be for like three minutes. Even still, three minutes is better than no minutes. The Nets only have four practices remaining -- including a double session on Friday -- to get ready for the regular season.

FOR STARTERS: Johnson said earlier in the week he’s going with the same starting five he went with Saturday: Brook Lopez, Shelden Williams, Damion James, Anthony Morrow and Deron Williams.

NEAT IS BETTER: The Nets had 26 turnovers on Saturday, which led to 26 points for the Knicks. They can’t afford to be that out of sync offensively.

“A little less sloppiness out of everybody,” Williams said when asked what he’d like to see his team on. “The first game was a little tough, we’d only scrimmaged like twice. So hopefully it’ll be a little better [Wednesday]. We just need to get in a rhythm, and find some sort of continuity between each other.”

WISH GRANTED: Last season, Johnson was asked if he dreamed about the opportunity to coach Carmelo Anthony. “I dream about our center getting 10 rebounds,” Johnson replied. Fair enough. Lopez had just 10 double-digit rebound games in 2010-11, but got to an impressive start on the glass, snagging 11 boards (and an additional 10 rebound attempts, Johnson said) and blocking five shots on Saturday. If only it counted. Lopez will also have the opportunity to go against Tyson Chandler again. Perfect.

ROTATION: Johnson said he wants to go with like a nine-to-nine-and-a-half-man rotation in the first half, and then gauge accordingly. Williams said he doesn’t really care how long he plays, “As long as I play on the 26th [in Washington].”

Shawne Williams picks Nets; Outlaw done

December, 15, 2011

Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty ImagesShawne Williams, a small forward, will take his talents across the Hudson River.
Nets coach Avery Johnson confirmed Thursday that sharpshooting Shawne Williams has chosen New Jersey over the Knicks.

The deal is reportedly for two years and $6 million.

Also on Thursday, the Nets waived forward Travis Outlaw via the amnesty clause. Outlaw -- who averaged 9.2 points and shot 38 percent from the field last season -- has four years and $28 million remaining on his contract.

Williams, 25, played in 64 games for the Knicks last season, averaging 7.1 points per game on 40.1 percent shooting from 3-point range.

A four-year pro, Williams holds career averages of 5.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.

Williams was actually traded to the Nets from Dallas, along with Kris Humphries, for Eduardo Najera on Jan. 11, 2009, but the team waived him four days later.

Nets-Knicks preseason games Dec. 17, 21

December, 2, 2011
The Nets made their preseason schedule official on Friday.

They'll take on the Knicks at the Prudential Center on Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. Then, the two teams will play at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

The full regular season schedule will be announced on Tuesday night, the NBA announced.

Stephen A.: Cut the race talk

October, 23, 2011

Stephen A. Smith wants NBA players and commentators to stop bringing up race in the context of NBA lockout negotiations. Agree? Disagree? Sound off below.



Brook Lopez
20.7 0.9 0.5 31.4
ReboundsK. Garnett 6.6
AssistsD. Williams 6.1
StealsD. Williams 1.5
BlocksB. Lopez 1.8