Nets Notes: Struggles, Johnson, Bridges, Koch Family

In their first game under interim head coach Kevin Ollie on Thursday in Toronto, the Nets had yet another listless performance, losing by 28 points to the Raptors, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Ollie replaced Jacque Vaughn, who was fired in part due to the team’s lack of energy and effort, with Brooklyn just 8-24 over its past 32 games.

Ollie made playing with energy and hustle a priority in his first practice on Tuesday, but the Nets repeatedly failed to get back in transition in the blowout loss, Lewis notes, losing the fast-break points battle 46-10.

We didn’t make shots, but their effort, their energy, loose balls, offensive rebounds, beat us in probably every area,” said Ollie. “And giving up 46 fast-break points and not being able to stop them and limit them in half-court situations was a killer for us.”

Here are a few more notes out of Brooklyn:

  • Ollie made a change to the starting lineup on Thursday, moving fifth-year forward Cameron Johnson to the bench, Lewis writes in another story. The starting five consisted of Ben Simmons, Cam Thomas, Mikal Bridges, Dorian Finney-Smith and Nic Claxton. It was only the second time Johnson has come off the bench this season, with the first coming just before the All-Star break in his first game back from an adductor injury. The 27-year-old, who re-signed with the Nets on a lucrative long-term contract last summer, finished with six points on 1-of-7 shooting in 21 minutes.
  • Appearing on the podcast (Roommates Show) of his former Villanova teammates Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart, who now play for the Knicks, Nets wing Mikal Bridges compared the two teams’ situations unprompted, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post (subscriber link), who wonders if Bridges would ever consider asking out of Brooklyn. “I know people might want to think about different situations and teams,” Bridges said. “Obviously, I’ve got my boys over there in New York, so everybody goes with that. ….” Bridges went on to say he wanted to keep playing for the Nets, despite their struggles. Bondy acknowledges that “it’s entirely plausible — and understandable — if the Nets simply refuse to trade their best player across the river,” but argues that if it was a possibility for New York, it’d be an idea worth pursuing.
  • Billionaire Julia Koch is negotiating to buy a minority stake in the Nets, per Lewis and Josh Kosman of The New York Post. Koch’s son David Koch Jr. would also be involved. The stake could be as high as 15%, from majority owners Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai. According to The Post, Julia has an estimated net worth of $60-65 billion, which would make her the second-wealthiest woman in the world and only trailing Clippers owner Steve Ballmer in the NBA.
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