The Nets welcome their role as favorites as the new season approaches, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn was expected to win the title last season after acquiring James Harden to go with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but injuries made it rare that all three were on the court at the same time. With a deeper bench to to back up the Big Three, the Nets are honest about what they hope to accomplish.
“Our goal is to be the last team standing,” general manager Sean Marks said. “There’s probably, six, eight, 10 teams that have that same similar goal, and a realistic one. For us it’s about owning that and not shying away from it and doing everything we possibly can … to try and accomplish that. We’ve also got to take into account that it’s a long season. Anything can happen, as we’ve seen over the course of last year.”
Marks has been hoping to negotiate extensions with all three stars to give the team a championship window that will last for several years. He reached a four-year deal with Durant last month and would like to have similar arrangements soon with Harden and Irving.
“We’re looking forward to sitting down with them over the course of the next week, two weeks, and furthering those discussions,” Marks said. “Those guys know exactly how we feel, and they’ve been vocal about wanting to be part of this and build this together. We’ve got an opportunity to hopefully build something special here for the foreseeable future. … They want to collaborate, they want to come here together, they want to build this together.”
There’s more from Brooklyn:
- The Nets were thrilled to bring back LaMarcus Aldridge, who received medical clearance this summer after being forced into retirement last season with a heart condition, per Greg Logan of Newsday. Aldridge provides some familiarity for a team that returns just eight players from last year’s postseason squad. “I thought he added a lot to our room,” coach Steve Nash said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see much of him on the floor, but he was an experienced, skilled, versatile big that knows how to play and was adding a lot to our collective IQ. So we’re excited to have him back.”
- Brooklyn got a grade of B-plus for its offseason moves from Zach Harper of The Athletic. The addition of Aldridge, along with Patty Mills and Paul Millsap, gives the Nets a collection of low-cost veterans who can complement their stars, Harper states.
- The battle for an open two-way slot will be one of the intriguing things to watch in training camp, writes Tom Dowd of NBA.com. Rookie free agent David Duke Jr. and recently signed Devontae Cacok will be among the candidates, but the Nets could decide to leave the position open and wait for cuts from other teams, like they did when they signed Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot in 2019.