The Nets are looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Miami in the Conference Semifinals, but they’ll have to move forward into the new season without Paul Pierce, who spurned Brookyln to sign a deal with the Wizards earlier this summer. The Nets and Pierce couldn’t reach an agreement on a new contract, and we’ve detailed the reasons why below, amid tonight’s look at the latest out of Brooklyn..
- Nets GM Billy King said money was a factor in the team’s decision not to re-sign Pierce and acknowledged that the team is trying to reign in its spending as he spoke to reporters, including Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “We did [want to bring Pierce back]. That was the plan of attack and I think as we started negotiating, the numbers that they asked for were, you know,” King said. “And I thought at one point that he was definitely leaving. And then you started switching gears because you start hearing that he’s going to end up at a different place. So then you start preparing. And then when he came back to us [to try to negotiate again], we already moved on.”
- Furthermore, Jason Kidd‘s departure from the Nets had no bearing on Pierce’s decision to skip town, according to Robert Windrem of NetsDaily, who hears that the 36-year-old initially sought a two-year deal worth $10MM from Brooklyn (Twitter link). The Nets weren’t about to shell out that much, and they were also concerned about his deteriorated defensive abilities, Windrem says.
- The Nets expect to finish as a top four team in the East, tweets Rod Boone of Newsday, noting that Brooklyn had the same goal last season. An improved Eastern Conference will challenge the Nets’ chances, but Brooklyn will have an opportunity to improve on last year’s sixth-place finish if its players can stay healthy.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.