SBD/July 10, 2012/Franchises

Move To Brooklyn Helps Nets Become A "Destination" Team, Upstage State Rival Knicks

Williams, who re-signed with the team last week, said, "Brooklyn is going to be huge"
The Nets are “bound for Brooklyn and a newfound respectability,” and they are “no longer a punch line, but a destination,” according to Howard Beck of the N.Y. TIMES. Other than former Nets G Stephon Marbury -- “who simply wanted to be closer to home -- no NBA star ever demanded a trade to East Rutherford.” But elite players now view the Nets “as legitimate, and Brooklyn as desirable.” Nets G Deron Williams, who recently re-signed with the team, said, “Brooklyn is going to be huge. It definitely factored into my decision, starting a franchise in a place that hasn’t had a franchise since the ’50s, a city that wants basketball there.” When Williams was “asked if this conversation would be happening at all if the Nets were still in Newark, or East Rutherford,” he “shook his head.” Beck notes the big-city lights of N.Y. “will be shared now,” and the Nets “are poised to challenge the Knicks’ supremacy on the court and in the boroughs” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/10). In DC, Deron Snyder writes the Knicks, one of the NBA’s “marquee franchises, have the history, memories, championships and Madison Square Garden,” but they “don’t wear ‘Brooklyn’ on their chests.” That gives the Nets “a prime opportunity to siphon allegiance among the proud residents and natives who have lacked such specificity in a rooting interest since the Dodgers relocated to Los Angeles in 1958.” If the Nets were to acquire Magic C Dwight Howard, team Owner Mikhail Prokhorov and minority partner Jay-Z “couldn’t hope for a better housewarming gift for their state-of-the-art, $1 billion arena.” If they obtain Howard, the Nets “wouldn’t just upstage the Knicks,” they would “upend the league.” And though the Knicks, along with "small-market fans and proponents of parity would disagree, the move would be a blessing for the NBA.” Howard joining the Nets would “create dramatic tension within the nation’s biggest media market,” and it would give NBA Commissioner David Stern “maximum bang as Howard’s dreadful soap opera comes to a close” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 7/10).

STEALING THE SPOTLIGHT: ESPN N.Y.’s Stephen A. Smith wrote under the header, “Knicks Losing Their Grip On New York,” and noted the Knicks “appear to be precisely what we thought they would be all along: a team with two highly paid stars, saddled with high expectations but destined for nonexistence in the pantheon of championship contenders.” Smith: "Anyone who thinks the roster in Manhattan is better than the one already assembled in Brooklyn might need to visit their nearest eye doctor.” The Nets are “making moves -- staking claim to the hearts and minds of a city they deem vulnerable and starving for a contender.” Smith: “The roster is better in Brooklyn. So is the new Barclays Center. Some would even say the uniforms are better” (ESPNNY.com, 7/9).
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