Nets owner files for name change

May 19, 2010 - New York, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - epa02164770 Businessman Mikhail Prokhorov, of Russia, the new principal owner of the New Jersey Nets, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in New York, New York, USA, on 19 May 2010. Prokhorov, who is the principal owner of Onexim Sports and Entertainment Holding USA, Inc., recently completed the purchase of an 80% stake in the capital of the New Jersey Nets basketball club and a 45% share in the new Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, New York.

Mikhail Prokhorov has made clear his intention to change the name of the New Jersey Nets, the New York Daily News reports:

Prokhorov’s camp confirmed this morning that they’ve sent a request to the league to change the team’s name.

What does this mean? Maybe nothing.

Changing a team’s nickname, uniform or city name is a long process requiring that the owner gives the NBA notice 25 months in advance. This is to allow time for the creative process and the time it requires to make and market new uniforms. There doesn’t have to be a plan with the proposal, just a desire. It’s basically like putting the NBA on notice for a potential identity change.

So if Prokhorov wanted to change the team’s name for the 2012-13 season (even the city name to Brooklyn), he would have had to submit his notice by Oct. 1. If he submits a proposal, it would have to be approved by the Board of Governors.

There’s no news on what he’s going to change it to, and it could be a simple change to the ‘Brooklyn Nets,’ but the outspoken owner has joked about the ‘Nets’ moniker in the past, so a new nickname is likely.

On “Pardon the Interruption,” Tony Riali suggested the ‘Brooklyn Deckers‘ which didn’t make any sense to me until I did a Google search.

I kind of like ‘Brooklyn Nets.’ The Nets nickname has a lot of history to it and it sounds cool. I’ve also seen the ‘Brooklyn Bears’ and the ‘Brooklyn Dodgers’ mentioned. Or he could go with the New York Nets.

What do you think would be the best new nickname for the team?

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Melo headed to the Big Apple?

Denver Nuggets Carmelo Anthony reacts on the bench in the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 23, 2010. The Knicks defeated the Nuggets 109-104. UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom

Ken Berger of CBS Sports writes that the main reason Carmelo Anthony hasn’t signed a three-year extension with the Nuggets is because he has a burning desire to play in New York.

Anthony, an ideal fit for the Knicks, already has told confidants this summer that he’s eager to explore playing in New York. His dilemma is whether to turn down a three-year, $65 million extension offer from the Nuggets with only 10 months left in the current collective bargaining agreement. The new deal is expected to be much less lucrative for players. Sources say owners who were rattled by this summer’s free-agent frenzy — orchestrated by CAA, which represented James, Wade and Chris Bosh — are determined to clamp down not only on player salaries in the new agreement, but also player movement.

Anthony’s desire to play in New York is so strong, sources say, that those close to the three-time All-Star have scoffed at the efforts of executives touting themselves as being able to deliver him.

“Carmelo already wants to play in New York,” one person with knowledge of his plans told CBSSports.com. “He doesn’t need anybody to bring him there. He’s a gunslinger. That situation is perfect for him.”

The new CBA is the wild card. Anthony may be leaving a lot of money on the table by turning down that extension, but playing in one of the world’s biggest markets would no doubt enhance his Q Rating and his ability to make money via sponsorships.

Fit-wise, the Knicks need a player like Anthony to build around. He and Amare Stoudemire would make a formidable 1-2 punch, and his ability to make jumpshots would be ideal for Mike D’Antoni’s offensive attack.

As it stands, the Knicks have plenty of cap space to sign Anthony outright if does indeed become a free agent next summer. The other team to watch in the race for his services is the New Jersey Nets, who project to have comparable cap space and a good young nucleus in Brook Lopez, Devin Harris and Derrick Favors. Next summer, the Nets might only be one year away from a move to Brooklyn, so if Favors shows star potential, Anthony could view the franchise as the best fit for his game.

As for the Nuggets — well, it looks like their run might be over. Chauncey Billups is 33, and other than Ty Lawson, there aren’t enough promising young players to convince Melo to stay put.

Who will LeBron play for next season?

Over the past couple of weeks, our poll has asked this very question and 1,094 of our readers have responded. Here are the results:

(Click on the chart for a bigger version.)

It seems our readers believe that the Bulls are the odds on favorites to sign LeBron, with the Cavs close behind. The Knicks finished third by a pretty wide margin, with the Heat, “other” and the Nets getting a decent amount of the vote. The Clippers appear to be the biggest longshot of this group.

World Sports Exchange has set up a long-term market so that gamblers can buy and sell shares in certain teams. Here is a snapshot of the market as of 5/31/10:

A share in the team that signs LeBron is worth $100, while all other shares aren’t worth anything. So someone can buy a share of the Cavs for $33 and if Cleveland signs LeBron, the buyer would make $67 on the transaction. This market essentially says that the Cavs are a 2:1 favorite to sign LeBron, the Bulls are 7:3, the Knicks are 3:1 and the Heat are 8:1.

What’s not clear is what happens if Cleveland executes a sign-and-trade with LeBron. In that scenario, the Cavs would technically “sign” him, but his rights would be traded to his new team. The site should make the market more clear by saying “Who will LeBron play for next season?” instead of “Who will sign LeBron?”

Regardless, this market is something to keep your eye on because it quantifies the pulse of the public’s opinion of the LeBron courtship. Also, be sure to check out my attempt to handicap the major players in the LeBron sweepstakes.

Handicapping the players in the LeBron sweepstakes

Anyone outside of his entourage who claims to know what LeBron is going to do is being disingenuous. He loves the fact that he’s the center of attention even though the playoffs are still in full swing. He often speaks of July 1 in grandiose terms and that’s because, like most superstars, he has a very high opinion of himself.

That said, I found myself rooting for the Celtics in their series with the Cavs because as a writer, Cleveland’s early exit throws LeBron’s future to the wind. He could land any number of places.

Though the LeBron Tracker makes me a little nauseous, I thought I’d take a stab at handicapping where King James might end up. I’ll include the six teams that ESPN deemed worthy of making the top banner and add the Mavs for good measure. For each team, I’ll outline why he’d sign and why he wouldn’t. I’ll also rank (on a scale of 1-10) how he fits from a personnel standpoint.

In terms of fit, I look to the last few premier wings who have broken through and won at least one title as the best player on their team. I’m talking about Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, Dwyane Wade and Michael Jordan. What do they have in common? Kobe, Pierce and Wade all played with top notch big men — Gasol, Garnett and Shaq, respectively — while Jordan had Scottie Pippen. In other words, they all got to play with another All-NBA (Top 15) caliber player when they won their title.

They also enjoyed good coaching. Jordan and Kobe had Phil Jackson, Wade had Pat Riley and Doc Rivers did a great job of coaching the ’08 Celtics. They were also all surrounded by good shooters who could make teams pay for double-teaming their respective superstar.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the major players in line for LeBron’s services and try to handicap their chances of signing the league’s most valuable player.

CAVS (25%)
Why he’ll sign: Loyalty, comfort, familiarity. He’s from the area and he doesn’t want to leave town after an early postseason exit, as it would effectively destroy basketball in the city of Cleveland. Shaq will be gone and there’s an opportunity for an upgrade at head coach.
Why he won’t sign: Too much baggage. The franchise has had seven years to build around him and they’ve made just one Finals appearance. Suspect flexibility with the roster.
Fit: 5/10 The Cavs have a pretty good shooter at power forward (Antawn Jamison) and a good shooter at point guard (Mo Williams), but neither player is even average on defense. There are a lot of solid-to-good players on the roster, but no one approaches the Top 15 sidekick that helped the aforementioned wings win their titles. It’s tough to find that kind of player via trade, but that’s how Gasol, Garnett and Shaq came to play for the Lakers, Celtics and Heat. Cap-wise, if they re-sign LeBron, they won’t have any cap space to speak of until the summer of 2012 when Jamison’s salary is off the books.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bill Simmons’ idiot’s guide to Russian Mark Cuban

I missed this column over the weekend, but it’s a pretty good read for those interested in the Nets’ new owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Here is Simmons’ prediction for Prokhorov’s first offseason:

Still, allow me two making-a-splash predictions for this summer. The first: MRMC pounces on Phil Jackson with an absolutely unfathomable offer. How unfathomable? Five years, $85 million. Yeah. That’s what I mean. Prokhorov is already on record as saying that he wants an NBA coach. Why not overpay to get one of the greatest ever? How could the Lakers possibly come close to matching that commitment? And why would Jackson say no to finishing his career in the New York area for the most lucrative coaching deal ever, BY FAR? I say the Godfather offer gets made, and I say Jackson takes it.

Second, instead of chewing up Jersey’s cap space with overpaid free agents, I bet Prokhorov trades for Andrei Kirilenko — his former CSKA star, as well as an expiring 2011 contract of $17.82 million — in a deal that won’t cost Jersey anything because Utah (struggling to find money for Carlos Boozer) could easily replace Kirilenko with its lottery pick (No. 8 overall) and a second trade. For the Nets, even if they just rented Kirilenko and picked Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors (the draft’s best power forward) at No. 3, that’s an intriguing short-term front line (Favors, Kirilenko and Brook Lopez) and they’d maintain flexibility for a run at Carmelo in 2011 and/or have Kirilenko’s expiring deal to shop this February. And it would go over big back home for Prokhorov. Win, win and win.

That is a lot of money, but would Jackson agree to coach the Nets? I guess it would depend on how quickly they can turn the roster around. I’d say this is a long shot. But still, with Jerry Buss asking Jackson to take a pay cut, it would make a potentially huge raise pretty intriguing.

The Nets missed out on the chance to draft John Wall, but they will have a shot at either Evan Turner or Derrick Favors at #3, or even DeMarcus Cousins if they decide that he’s not crazy enough to pass up. Cousins is more of a center, while I could easily see the developing Favors playing alongside Lopez. If Philly takes Favors #2, Turner would be a nice consolation prize, and he can play shooting guard if the Nets have their eye on Carmelo Anthony next summer.

Regardless, the Nets are going to be an attracting landing spot for free agents over the next few years, especially when the move to Brooklyn finally happens. Players like to play for owners who are willing to spend to win, and there’s a great chance that the Nets will have one of the biggest payrolls within five years.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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