Nets Rumors

Nets Hire Pablo Prigioni, Tiago Splitter

A pair of former NBA players have joined the Nets’ organization, the team announced today in a press release. Pablo Prigioni has been hired as an assistant coach on Kenny Atkinson‘s staff, while Tiago Splitter had been named a pro scout with additional duties related to on-court player development.

Prigioni, whose hiring was first reported by Brian Lewis of The New York Post, also received interest from the Knicks, with whom he spent two and a half seasons as a player. However, he ultimately chose to join the city’s other NBA team.

The longtime point guard transitioned to coaching after retiring as a player — he was named the head coach of Spanish team Baskonia last summer, but stepped down after just eight games, reportedly due to family issues. In Brooklyn, Prigioni will have an opportunity to work with promising young guards like D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Isaiah Whitehead, and Caris LeVert.

As for Splitter, he announced his retirement as a player due to health issues earlier this year, and had expressed an interest in coaching in the past. While the former Spurs center won’t technically be a member of Atkinson’s staff in Brooklyn, it sounds like he’ll get the opportunity to work with some Nets players in addition to his scouting duties.

Joe Tsai Plans To Take Nets Global

  • Joe Tsai agreed to buy a 49% stake in the Nets and while he has yet to publicly comment since the purchase, the expectation is he will try to take the organization global, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “Mikhail [Prokhorov] and Joe are both committed owners and they’ll be hands-on to a certain extent,” general manager Sean Marks said. “The fact that Joe saw something that he liked in Brooklyn, saw something that he liked with the Nets organization, I think there’ll be a great partnership between the two.”

Trend Of Players Developing In Second Year With Nets

Nets Notes: Harris, Lin, Marks, Cap Room

The Nets are committed to re-signing free agent Joe Harris this summer, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. The fourth-year swingman is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 10.8 points per game while shooting .419 from 3-point range. He emerged as a rotation player in Brooklyn last season after two years of trying to earn a role in Cleveland, and said “I don’t really envision myself being anywhere else” during a media session last week.

Scotto talked to eight NBA executives who estimate Harris will get offers between $4MM and $7MM per season. That shouldn’t be an issue for the Nets, who will have up to $20MM in available cap space. Harris just wrapped up a two-year veterans’ minimum deal he signed with Brooklyn in 2016.

“I think Joe made it pretty clear in some of the statements he made that he’d love to be back here,” GM Sean Marks said. “That’s how the organization feels about him, too. As [coach] Kenny [Atkinson] alluded to before, we’ve got some decisions to make on several, but definitely, Joe is a guy we see in a Nets uniform.”

There’s more news out of Brooklyn:

  • Jeremy Lin‘s season was wiped out by a ruptured patella tendon on opening night, but the front office believes he will be an impact player next season, Scotto relays in the same story. Injuries limited Lin to 36 games during 2016/17 in his first season with Brooklyn, so he feels like he has something to prove heading into the final year of his contract. “I would say I wouldn’t bet against Jeremy,” Marks cautioned. “The way he’s attacked his rehab over the course of the last six to eight months is really impressive. He’s come back with a little bit of a new lease on life, which is great.”
  • The Nets plan to remain patient in the rebuilding process, Scotto adds. The team raised its victory total from 20 to 28 this season and is aiming for modest improvements over the summer. Brooklyn’s cap room will be reduced by about $8.5MM if it makes a qualifying offer to Nik Stauskas and picks up non-guaranteed salaries for Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead. Lin’s contract expires next summer and Allen Crabbe can opt out, giving the Nets much more flexibility in the 2019 free agent market.
  • Atkinson is happy with the progress that Crabbe, D’Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen all made during their first year with the franchise, but he wants them to improve on defense, especially with forcing turnovers, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Re-Signing Harris Is A Top Priority

Re-signing Joe Harris is one of Nets GM Sean Marks’ offseason priorities, he told Alex Labidou of the team’s website and other reporters during a press conference. Harris averaged 10.8 PPG and shot 41.9% from long range in 25.3 MPG this season. “I think Joe made it pretty clear from statements he made that he’d love to be back here. That’s how the organization feels about him, too,” Marks said. Harris made just over $1.5MM and will likely receive a significant salary bump.

  • Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s stake in the team in 2015 may have been purchased at an artificially low price, according to Josh Kosman of the New York Post. Prokhorov did not make it easy for Forest City Enterprises to find an outside buyer when it tried to sell its 20 percent share of the franchise, withholding financial information from prospective buyers, sources told Kosman. Prokhorov would up buying that stake at a $875MM valuation and that valuation increased 270% in three years when he sold 49% of the team last week.

Nets Notes: Lin, Russell, Vaughn, Okafor

Jeremy Lin went down with a season-ending injury on opening night, adding another chapter to what has been an injury-riddled first two seasons in Brooklyn. However, the veteran point guard is on track to return to full health for next season and he expects to start for the Nets, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.

Lin appeared in just 36 games last season and just 25 minutes this season before a ruptured patella tendon shut him down. Despite his limited playing time for the Nets, the 29-year-old —  focused on improving his health — envisions himself on the court as a starter.

“I came here having the same role. I don’t expect it to change,” Lin said. “if it does, it’;l be something we communicate over. But I’m not even thinking that far in advance. I’m thinking about my health, about moving properly. And I have full confidence if I’m doing that, everything will be [OK]. Everything will make up for lost time, and we’ll see what I’d envisioned my time in Brooklyn being.”

With Lin healthy, the Nets face a crowded backcourt with D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert on the roster.
Check out more Nets news below:
  • D’Angelo Russell played well for stretches in his first season with the Nets and the organization is excited for what he can produce if he can be consistent, Lewis writes in a separate story. Still 22 years old, Russell has All-Star potential for a team that hasn’t had an All-Star since Joe Johnson in 2013/14.
  • Nets assistant coach Jacque Vaughn has received interest from collegiate programs at Connecticut and Memphis about becoming a head coach, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Vaughn has been credited for working diligently with Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson this season.
  • As we relayed this week, impending free agent Jahlil Okafor has a mixed perception around the NBA as a talented but generally flawed player.

Nets Notes: Okafor, Harris, Backcourt, Ownership

With the Nets‘ season complete, one subplot to watch this offseason will be what happens to Jahlil Okafor as he enters free agency. After Okafor was traded from the Sixers to the Nets, there was an expectation that he’d see more playing time in Brooklyn, but that was not the case. After the early-December trade, Okafor only appeared in 26 games.

Michael Scotto of The Athletic (subscription required) spoke to several Eastern Conference personnel to gauge possible interest in Okafor as a free agent. While the former third overall pick does have upside, particularly on offense, his limited rebounding and defensive skills will impact his ability to secure guaranteed playing time. One Eastern Conference executive described Okafor’s style as “antiquated” while another said that Okafor’s best bet may be a one-year deal where he can rebuild his value as a starter.

“He’™s a pretty impressive force in one singular area,” an Eastern Conference scout told The Athletic. “œHe doesn’t defend, and he doesn’™t rebound. Coach K did not do him any favors by hiding him for that year. He’™s become a better person after having made a few tough mistakes in his rookie season. He’™s changed his body and developed a bit of range to his game, but those things were easier than committing himself to the other effort improvements.”

Check out more Nets notes below:

  • With Jeremy Lin slated to return in the fall, the Nets will enter the 2018/19 season with a crowded backcourt, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. In addition to Lin, DAngelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert will all be in the mix for Brooklyn next season.
  • Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris will be a free agent as well and it’s been reported he could be in line for a substantial raise. However, Harris said he wants to remain in Brooklyn and that the front office is aware, tweets Brian Lewis of the New York Post.“I’ve been in talks here – especially recently – a lot with my agent, and I’ve reiterated that I’d like to be here,” Harris said. “And I told that to Kenny (Atkinson) and Sean (Marks)…I think everybody is kind of on the same line (of thinking) right here.”
  • As we relayed earlier today, Mikhail Prokhorov has sold a 49% stake in the Nets to Joseph Tsai.

Joe Tsai Completes Purchase Of 49% Stake In Nets

Mikhail Prokhorov has officially sold a 49% stake in the Nets to new minority owner Joseph Tsai, according to Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg (Twitter link). Soshnick writes that the Nets received an overall valuation of $2.35 billion in the transaction, a new NBA record.

“As a lifelong sports fan, I am very proud to join the Nets ownership and the NBA family,” Tsai said in a statement, per the Nets’ official announcement. “I lived in New York in the early days of my career and the City holds a special place in my heart. I share the vision and culture that Mikhail Prokhorov, CEO Brett Yormark, general manager Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson have put in place, and I look forward to being part of this great franchise.”

Tsai’s agreement to buy a significant share in the Nets was reported way back in October of 2017, but took some time to finalize. In addition to giving the Alibaba executive vice chairman and co-founder a significant stake in the Nets, the deal will also give him the opportunity to buy the franchise outright from Prokhorov in three years.

As has been previous reported, Prokhorov will continue to oversee Brooklyn’s basketball and business operations for the next few years, but Tsai will have the option to assume controlling interest in the franchise in 2021.

The NBA’s Board of Governors unanimously approved Tsai’s purchase of 49% of the Nets.

Details On Traded Picks, Upcoming Draft Tiebreakers

With the 2017/18 NBA regular season in the books, the postseason matchups are set in both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.

More importantly for fans of most non-playoff teams, the end of the regular season means that the 2018 NBA draft picture is clearer than ever. The 2018 draft order is close to being set and – with a small handful of exceptions – most of this year’s traded draft picks with protections on them have now officially changed hands or officially stayed put.

However, there are still some major question marks surrounding the draft order, since several clubs finished the regular season with identical records, and draft tiebreakers don’t work like playoff tiebreakers do. In order to break these ties, the NBA will conduct random drawings this Friday, as Jonathan Givony of ESPN notes (via Twitter).

[RELATED: 2017/18 NBA Reverse Standings]

For lottery teams, such as the 24-58 Mavericks and Hawks, who finished tied for third in the lottery standings, the implications of those drawings are huge. Whichever team wins that tiebreaker will have ever-so-slightly better odds at the first overall pick (13.8% to 13.7%), and will be in position to claim the higher first-round pick if neither team lands in the top three.

For instance, if the Suns and Grizzlies remain at No. 1 and No. 2 in the lottery and another team leapfrogs the Mavs and Hawks, the winner of the tiebreaker between Dallas and Atlanta would claim the No. 4 overall pick — the loser would get No. 5. For the second round, the loser of the tiebreaker would receive the higher selection.

Here are the draft tiebreakers that will be conducted on Friday:

  • Mavericks vs. Hawks for Nos. 3, 4.
  • Kings vs. Bulls for Nos. 6, 7.
  • Bucks vs. Heat for Nos. 16, 17.
  • Spurs vs. Timberwolves for Nos. 18, 19.
  • Pacers vs. Pelicans vs. Thunder vs. Jazz for Nos. 20-23.

Several of those tiebreakers will also affect this year’s traded picks. Most notably, the Bucks/Heat drawing has massive implications for Milwaukee and Phoenix — the Bucks’ first-round pick will head to the Suns if it lands at No. 16, but Milwaukee would keep it if it ends up at No. 17. In other words, each team has a 50/50 shot at the pick. If the Bucks keep it, they’d owe their 2019 first-round selection to Phoenix, albeit with somewhat similar protections.

Here’s a breakdown of the traded first-round picks for 2018. A check mark indicates the pick will definitely be sent to the indicated team:

  • Nets pick to Cavaliers (✔️): Eighth in lottery standings
  • Lakers pick to Sixers (97.1%) or Celtics (2.9%): 10th in lottery standings
    • Note: Celtics will receive pick if it lands at No. 2 or No. 3 via the lottery.
  • Pistons pick to Clippers (97.5%): 12th in lottery standings
    • Note: Pistons will keep pick if it lands in top three via the lottery.
  • Heat pick to Suns (✔️): No. 16 or 17 (tie)
  • Bucks pick to Suns (50%): No. 16 or 17 (tie)
    • Note: Bucks will keep pick if it lands at No. 17 via a random drawing.
  • Timberwolves pick to Hawks (✔️): No. 18 or 19 (tie)
  • Thunder pick to Timberwolves (✔️): No. 20, 21, 22, or 23 (four-way tie)
  • Pelicans pick to Bulls (✔️): No. 20, 21, 22, or 23 (four-way tie)
  • Cavaliers pick to Lakers (✔️): No. 25
  • Raptors pick to Nets (✔️): No. 29
  • Rockets pick to Hawks (✔️): No. 30

Here’s a breakdown of the traded second-round picks that will change hands in 2018:

  • Bulls pick to Knicks (✔️): No. 36 or 37 (tie)
  • Nets pick to Sixers (✔️): No. 38
  • Knicks pick to Sixers (✔️): No. 39
  • Lakers pick to Nets (✔️): No. 40
  • Hornets pick to Magic (✔️): No. 41
  • Clippers pick to Nuggets (✔️): No. 43
  • Bucks pick to Nets (✔️): No. 45 or 46 (tie)
  • Heat pick to Rockets (✔️): No. 45 or 46 (tie)
  • Nuggets pick to Lakers (✔️): No. 47
  • Trail Blazers pick to Mavericks (✔️): No. 54
  • Cavaliers pick to Hornets (✔️): No. 55
  • Celtics pick to Thunder (✔️): No. 57
  • Warriors pick to Nuggets (✔️): No. 58
  • Raptors pick to Suns (✔️): No. 59
  • Rockets pick to Sixers (✔️): No. 60

Nets Notes: Allen, Atkinson, Kilpatrick, Lin

As pointed out by Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders, not a lot of people inside or outside of the Nets organization could have anticipated the season put together by rookie big man Jarrett Allen. In fact, many thought Allen may actually spend a good chunk of the season in the G-League.

Yet Allen, the sixth youngest player in the NBA and thought to be a project when drafted 22nd overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, found himself a regular member of Brooklyn’s starting lineup by season’s end.

“I defied some people’s expectations,” Allen said. “A lot of people thought I was going to be a G-League guy, and that they were going to have to develop me before I’d be ready to play at the NBA level, but I came in and played well enough to be a starter. I’m playing starter’s minutes now and putting up pretty good numbers. I think I’m doing pretty well.”

When asked what he needs to improve upon most, Allen wouldn’t limit his response to only one area – explaining that he needs to get stronger and work on his offensive game.

“This offseason definitely is going to be when I add a lot of muscle. I want to add strength, shooting, and offensive game stuff. [Defensively], I think I’ve done pretty well, and I know I’ll get even better with time, but I need to work on offensive skills, dribbling, shooting, and post work.”

There’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • Despite having a lesser overall record than some head coaches on the hot seat, Kenny Atkinson isn’t likely to be let go after the season, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. One reason? Approval from legendary Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
  • Former Nets and current Bulls guard Sean Kilpatrick was surprised to be released by the team earlier this season, writes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. “Absolutely (I was surprised by the move). And I’m pretty sure the coaches were surprised as well. When the news broke, my teammates, some of them cried. They were shocked … But you have to move on in this league.”
  • Nets injured point guard Jeremy Lin worked out in front of Atkinson yesterday, leaving his head coach impressed but cautious, tweets Lewis. “We’ve just got to be really super, super-cautious. We don’t want to rush this in April, May. But I was blown away at how well he was moving, and the stuff he did yesterday.”