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Monday
Jul162012

I Guess It's OK to Care About the Nets Now

Photo via Brooklyn Borough President's Office

Today is a SUPER IMPORTANT DAY in FiPS history! Unfortunately, it's probably not for the reason you were hoping. We're NOT being purchased by Park Slope Snatch Patch. Sorry.

Get this...it's a SUPER IMPORTANT DAY for a TOTALLY SPORTS-RELATED REASON. That's right...SPORTS!

Today we're going to talk about the Brooklyn Nets without (mostly) acting like whiney lil' bitches & swiping at the low-hanging fruit that is the Nets' monstrosity of an arena & history of ineptitude...SUPER IMPORTANT DAY.

For most of the past decade, hoops fans here in NYC haven't had shit to get excited about. Sure for a brief moment last year it looked like the Knicks were worth our attention. That dream died quickly along with Jeremy Lin's knees & Amare Stoudemire's temper. As for the Nets, well...they haven't been exciting since the Jason Kidd heyday of the early oughts, making them an easy target for anyone with a pulse & an opinion.

That said, with the start of a new era in Brooklyn this season, there's obviously a lot of pressure for the Nets to finally deliver. Brooklyn Nets fans obviously don't want a perennial loser sucking up their giant new stadium.

Going into the off-season, it wasn't looking very good for the Nets. They had next to no signed players. Over the last few weeks though, that's changed dramatically, as Nets General Manager Billy King has done everything in his power to ensure the team's relevance. As a result, for once folks have actually begun talking about the Nets in a way that doesn't automatically include the word "suck."

King started by assembling what's now one of the top starting backcourts in the league. On Wednesday, the team officially agreed to a five-year contract with all-star point guard Deron Williams and traded away five players to the Atlanta Hawks for six-time all-star Joe Johnson. It's no Lebron-Wade or Durant-Westbrook backcourt, but it's damn solid & they're now the face of the franchise.

While all this was going on, the team finally gave up on working out a deal for superstar center Dwight Howard, who'd demanded a trade to one team & one team only -- the Nets. I guess he wanted to chill with Hova or some shit. Instead, Billy King opted to resign center Brook Lopez, who's spent all of his four years in the league as a Net, to a four-year contract. Is he Dwight Howard? Not by a long shot, but when he isn't injured, he’s a proven scorer who can sort of rebound and doesn't cost the Nets the ridiculous amount of cash that Howard would have.

To further shore up the front court, on Wednesday they also agreed to a four-year deal with eleven-year veteran shooting forward Gerald Wallace, who came to the Nets last year via a trade with Portland. If he stays healthy, he'll contribute a dozen points & a handful of boards every game.  With Wallace signed, all that their starting lineup lacks is a power forward, and as much as I despise his stupid fucking face, the easy answer comes in the form of Kris Humphries. The Nets have reportedly offered him $24 million over three years, a number that‘s $2 million better than what the Charlotte Bobcats offered, so that's looking good for the Nets. Sure Humphries deserves to be locked in a room with Lamar Odom and a pack of hungry, rabies-ridden dogs, but he did finish fifth in the league in rebounding last year, can play sufficient defense & when he's trying, can score.

Then there's the bench. Just yesterday, the team announced they'd found Deron Williams' backup in C.J. Watson, a 28-year old who's spent the last two years with the Bulls. While he's a horrible shooter, he's an improved passer who started 25 games last season. For now, the rest of the backcourt off the bench will be comprised of guards MarShon Brooks (all-rookie second team last year) & Tyshawn Taylor (first round-pick who's been damn impressive in Summer League play).

The rest of the team will be rounded out by some combination of forwards Ilkan Karaman (Turkey), Tornike Shengelia (Georgia), Mirza Telescopic (Bosnia) and veteran Reggie Evans. There's even talk of bringing in Israeli power forward Bryant Dunston. Ok...this area's more than a little dicey. The rest of the team seems good though!

On Friday, the Nets held their first official press conference, introducing Williams and Johnson before heading out to a pep rally where Marty Markowitz threw down the gauntlet, referring to the Knicks as the "Manhattan Knicks" and declaring that any Brooklynite rooting for the Kincks will be "guilty of treason." OH SNAP, KNICKS! IT'S ON! NOW BROOKLYNITES HAVE TO ROOT FOR THE NETS! IT'S THE LAW! ALSO, YOUR POINT GUARD JUST GOT A DUI! ALSO, LINSANITY IS PRETTY MUCH OVER! ALSO, THE NETS ARE TOTALLY GONNA SHIV KNICKS FANS IN THE FACE! BROOKLYN ZOO, MUTHAFUCKA!

Anyway, with at least four starters signed for at least the next four years & the good possibility that the fifth will sign for three years, for once things are looking up for the Nets. I mean, it's not like they're going to dethrone the evil Miami Heat or anything next year, but if the team they have now stays healthy, they'll actually be worth plunking down your money for, & will likely still be around come playoff time.

So go ahead...root for your Nets, Brooklyn! Personally, I won't be doing anything of the sort. I'm a Larry Bird-raised Celtics fan 'til I die. Luckily, this is still entirely legal under Markowitz law.

Read way more from Shawn at eatdrinksnack.com.

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