Joe Tsai

Julia Koch Agrees To Buy 15% Stake In Nets

Nets owners Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai have agreed to sell a 15% stake in BSE Global – the team’s parent company – to Julia Koch and her children, according to a report from Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams of Sportico. The New York Post first reported the negotiations in February.

BSE Global was assessed with a valuation of $6 billion for the upcoming sale, per Sportico and Brian Lewis of The New York Post. That’s a significantly higher valuation than any NBA franchise has received as part of a stake sale, though it also takes into account the WNBA’s New York Liberty and the Barclays Center. The Tsais paid a total of $3.3 billion for the two teams and the arena, assuming full control in 2019.

The massive new figure likely reflects the impact of the NBA’s and WNBA’s upcoming TV deals, as well as the “growth in the economics” of the Barclays Center, Soshnick and Novy-Williams write.

“The $6 billion valuation is not stretched at all if you take into account a potential new NBA media deal, a hot WNBA team with exponential growth, and Barclays Center doing really well as a top concert venue,” one source told Lewis.

The widow of late billionaire David Koch, philanthropist Julia Koch inherited 42% of Koch Industries, one of the largest conglomerate companies in the United States, when her husband died. She and her family are said to be worth $65.2 billion, per Forbes.

Julia Koch’s group, which also includes her children David Jr., Mary Julia, and John, won’t have a path to gradually take over majority control of the Nets in stages – like the Tsais did when they initially bought in – as part of this deal. She also won’t become an alternate governor for the franchise. However, the Kochs will be given the right of first offer if Tsai decides to sell his majority stake in the team down the road.

The NBA’s advisory committee has reviewed the terms of the sale and recommended that the league’s Board of Governors approve it in a June 24 vote, per Sportico.

New York Notes: Nets, Tsai, Brunson, Knicks, Randle

The Nets have formally announced Jordi Fernandez‘s coaching staff for the 2024/25 season, officially confirming (via Twitter) that previously reported names like Steve Hetzel, Juwan Howard, and Jay Hernandez will be among the assistants flanking the first-time head coach.

Hernandez is a carryover from last season’s staff, as are Adam Caporn, Ryan Forehan-Kelly, Corey Vinson, and Travis Bader. Besides Hetzel and Howard, the newcomers include Deividas Dulkys and Connor Griffin, whose hirings were also previously reported.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York-based teams, starting with Brooklyn:

  • The Nets don’t publicly share the names of the prospects they’re working out during the pre-draft process, but as NetsDaily relays, a few names are being reported. For instance, Rick Pitino tweeted earlier this month that St. John’s guard Daniss Jenkins “killed” his workout with Brooklyn, while Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Thursday (via Twitter) that the Nets are among the teams that have worked out Adelaide 36ers wing Trentyn Flowers, who has also gotten a look from the Wizards, Bucks, Kings, Rockets, and Spurs, and has workouts on tap with the Lakers, Suns, Hornets, Jazz, Bulls, and Celtics.
  • While New York City has a history of bombastic sports team owners, Joe Tsai of the Nets has made it clear he doesn’t intend to be one of them, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “My first principle is don’t treat yourself too seriously. Don’t become the face of the franchise, because it’s not about you,” Tsai said recently. “Fans don’t care about you: They care about the players. They care about the star players. … You work for the fans. So you have to come in with that mindset, especially when you own a major sports team in a major city. It’s an institution. It’s not about you. It’s something that’s much much bigger than you and I feel like I’m a custodian of the team.”
  • Stefan Bondy of The New York Post (subscription required) takes a closer look at Jalen Brunson‘s contract situation, writing that while the Knicks’ point guard may ultimately be willing to sign an extension this offseason, he’d likely be in better position to maximize his long-term earnings if he waits until 2025.
  • Fred Katz and Seth Partnow of The Athletic recently discussed the Knicks‘ offseason. According to Partnow, various analytics models had Isaiah Hartenstein‘s 2023/24 season valued in the range of $28-35MM. The 26-year-old center made $9.25MM this season and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. New York only holds his Early Bird rights, which means it will be somewhat limited (four years, $72.5MM) in what it can offer him. A recent report said people around the league think Hartenstein could receive $20-25MM annually on his next deal, and potentially losing him would certainly dampen Partnow’s view of the Knicks. Katz and Partnow also discuss the pros and cons of Julius Randle and ways in which the Knicks can improve next season, among other topics.
  • Speaking of Randle, the injured All-Star forward said he’s recovering well from shoulder surgery, though he still isn’t doing on-court work yet, per Bondy of The New York Post. One of New York’s main offseason questions is what to do with Randle, who is eligible for a lucrative extension this summer. For his part, the 29-year-old said he wants to stay long-term. “Yeah, I’ve always said from the very beginning I would love to be here in New York and I would love to continue to add on to what the guys did in the playoffs,” said Randle, who can also become a free agent in 2025. “I feel like that was my personal — biggest personal goal, or I’d say team goal in a sense, was when I got here is to be able to build and compete and to be at the point where we’re at now, where it’s an actual possibility (to win a championship). So really, that’s what my focus is, doing whatever I can to make sure I get healthy and get back and make sure I’m ready whenever we start playing again and contribute to winning. That’s really all my focus is and that stuff always in my career has taken care of itself.”

Rory Maher contributed to this post.

New York Notes: Tsai, Nets’ Coaching Staff, Knicks Offseason

Nets owner Joe Tsai said while fielding questions in a public event that the franchise needs to take a long-term vision toward success, according to He also hinted changes are coming beyond the coaching staff shakeup already made.

“Brooklyn Nets is at a crossroads in a way,” he said. “I think we are … we didn’t do well as we expected last season. We didn’t make the playoffs, but we hope to revamp the team and make sure we can compete … in the long run.”

That approach is a stark contrast from a couple of years ago, when the team went all-in with superstars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.

“If you just want to win now, you could ruin their future by trading away all our assets and just win now,” Tsai said. “But I think what I want to do with the Brooklyn Nets is take a longer-term approach and build a winning sustainable winning culture.”

We have more from the New York clubs:

  • The choices Jordi Fernandez made for his Nets staff prove that the franchise is clearly looking toward development, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Most notably, Fernandez hired Steve Hetzel, whom the first-year head coach refers to as his “coaching father.” Current Cavs GM Mike Gansey hired Hetzel as the head coach of their G League affiliate with Fernandez as his assistant in 2013. The next season, he promoted Fernandez when Hetzel left. “Your young players are going to get better every single day between those two,” Gansey told Lewis. “Obviously Jordi’s great, but now adding Hetz, it’s just more ammunition. Guys are gonna get better, you’re gonna play fast, it’s gonna be fun.”
  • Just because the Knicks nearly reached the Eastern Conference Finals despite being decimated by injuries, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to replicate or surpass that success, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post opines. Vaccaro notes how other New York teams were weighed down by high expectations.
  • In a subscriber-only story, Newsday’s Steve Popper takes a long look at the Knicks’ offseason priorities and free agents.

Nets Notes: Schröder, Simmons, Clowney, Walker, Tsai

The Nets will have a decision to make a point guard this offseason, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Ben Simmons and Dennis Schröder, both of whom have been starters this season when healthy, will be entering the final year of their respective contracts. And while Simmons’ $40MM cap hit may ensure he remains in Brooklyn, it has been Schröder who has taken on a leadership role since being acquired at the trade deadline.

“He was a leader right when he got in,” interim head coach Kevin Ollie said. “He brings a championship mentality. … He just has a natural ability to lead, ability to win. You know winners when you see them. They hold everybody accountable, but they make themselves full of accountability, too. That’s what he did first and foremost.”

Schröder has been the healthier of the two players, making more appearances since being dealt to the Nets in February (29) than Simmons made all season (15) before undergoing back surgery last month. That track record of good health, along with his $13MM expiring contract, would make him easier to trade this summer than Simmons, who is still on a max deal. But Schröder has expressed a desire to stick with the Nets, as Lewis relays.

“I always want to be stationed somewhere where people show me appreciation,” he said on Wednesday. “And I felt that from the first day — people reaching out to my family, to my wife, to my mom. That shows, OK, they really [want me]. And the playing style, as well, I like. They trust me, in what I am capable of. … I know the business side of it as well. So, I’m not taking anything emotional or personal. I know how it is. But at the end of the day, of course I want to stay here.”

Here’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • Nets center Noah Clowney continues to make a positive impression in his late-season audition for a larger role next season, per Bridget Reilly of The New York Post. Making his second career start on Wednesday, the rookie big man racked up a career-high seven blocks to go with 10 points and seven rebounds in a win over Toronto. Ollie lauded the Nets’ G League coaching staff in Long Island for preparing Clowney to contribute at the NBA level. “I think they just did a great job coaching him, putting him in situations down there so when we got him he was already set,” Ollie said. “He knew exactly what we wanted to do, how he can perform, and he came in ready.”
  • Even with the Nets battling a series of injuries, Lonnie Walker has been a DNP-CD in two of the team’s past four games, according to Collin Helwig of NetsDaily, who believes Walker’s inconsistent role throughout the season signals that the two sides will go their separate ways when the veteran swingman becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • NetsDaily passes along some notable quotes from a recent Joe Tsai podcast appearance in which the Nets’ owner discussed how he got involved in the NBA, his impressions of the league’s economics, and why it’s “absolutely fun” to control an NBA franchise.

And-Ones: China, Filipowski, Williams, Mock Draft, Scariolo

Nets owner Joe Tsai believes the NBA is interested in resuming its relationship with China, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. In an interview Friday with CNBC, Tsai said previous tensions have thawed and preseason games may return to the country.

“I think the NBA is in a very good place with respect to its relationship with China,” Tsai said. “China is actually the NBA’s biggest fan base. So what happened before, I think it’s water under the bridge.”

China’s leaders were upset in 2019 when Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who was with the Rockets at the time, tweeted his support for anti-government protesters. Beijing responded by pulling the NBA off state-sponsored CCTV for almost two years, and commissioner Adam Silver estimated in 2021 that the dispute cost his league $400MM.

Tsai believes the NBA needs to include China as part of its appeal to a global market.

“I think just having the fans have real, in-person sort of interaction with the stars,” Tsai said. “I think that’s going to be important.”

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • Projected lottery pick Kyle Filipowski of Duke suffered a sprained ankle Saturday when Wake Forest fans stormed the court after a victory over the Blue Devils, per Aaron Beard of The Associated Press. The incident, combined with Iowa star Caitlin Clark being knocked down under similar circumstances last month, have sparked a debate about banning students from running onto the court. “Just trying to get my way off the court, and you know, you’ve got these crazy college students just doing whatever they want,” Filipowski said. “It’s got to be a little more protective when things like that happen.”
  • Jeremy Woo of ESPN (subscription required) examines the case for Colorado’s Cody Williams as the top pick in this year’s draft. Woo notes that the 6’8″ Williams has “viable guard skills” and often takes on a play-maker role in the Buffaloes’ offense. He’s connecting at 47.1% on three-pointers in limited attempts, and Woo sees him developing into an above average shooter. NBA scouts tell Woo that Williams would be a mid- to late-lottery pick in a stronger draft, but the absence of standout talent has him in consideration to be the first player off the board.
  • French center Alexandre Sarr tops the latest mock draft from Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Rounding out Wasserman’s top five are Nikola Topic, Zaccharie Risacher, Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland.
  • The new president of the Spanish Federation wants former Raptors assistant Sergio Scariolo to continue coaching the national team for the next four years, according to Eurohoops.

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.

Nets Notes: Vaughn, Ollie, Marks, Bridges, Budenholzer

Speaking on Tuesday to reporters, including ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Nets general manager Sean Marks said there wasn’t a single event or game that made the team decide to fire head coach Jacque Vaughn. While some Brooklyn players expressed frustration following a December 27 loss in which the team sat several regulars, as well as after last Wednesday’s 50-point blowout loss in Boston, Marks pointed to a general lack of energy and effort when asked for specifics on what went into the decision to dismiss Vaughn.

“It’s about the level of compete,” Marks said. “We’re not going to be the most talented team in the league. I’m not an idiot. I totally understand that. But at the same time, this is a talented group of young men out there. And my expectations, and I think their expectations, should be to hold each other accountable to do the little things. The effort plays, the loose balls, the contested shots and so forth, diving on the floor.

“These are things that should be expected when you’re in a place that we’re at right now, where we’re clawing and grappling for every single thing we can. That’s what I would hope to see over these next 28 games, and that’s probably, to be quite frank, some things I haven’t seen. The level of effort and the level of compete has not always been there.”

New interim head coach Kevin Ollie made that lack of energy and hustle a focus in his first practice with the club on Tuesday, as Bontemps details. Ollie pointed out that the Nets don’t recover enough loose balls or draw enough charges, referring to the team’s poor numbers in those categories as “losing basketball.”

“I got something called EGBs, which is energy generating behaviors, and it’s 17 behaviors of those things. And we went through the list extensively today,” Ollie said on Tuesday. “(They) have nothing to do with talent but everything to do with heart and will. And I think that’s what it comes down to.

“Remember, I played 15 years professionally, 13 years in this league, and never once (had) a coach call a play for me. I had to get it with grit. I had to get it with determination. I had to get it with a mindset that we’re going to get better each and every day. That’s how I coach, that’s what I’m going to demand. I want them to demand that from me, and that’s from day one.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Marks is under contract beyond this season, sources tell Ian Begley of, and the veteran Nets executive has a close relationship with team owner Joe Tsai. Marks told reporters on Tuesday that he has been given no indication Tsai won’t keep him around to run the team’s latest head coaching search this spring. “Joe and I have always been in complete partnership,” Marks said, per Bontemps. “And it doesn’t mean we always agree. I mean, you have to have good discussions and robust discussions, but Joe and I will make this decision, and he has given me no reason to believe that I won’t be able to make that decision.”
  • Still, Marks’ future with the Nets has been a subject of speculation around the NBA, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on the HoopsHype podcast with Brian Lewis of The New York Post. According to Scotto, in the event that Marks remains in Brooklyn, one possibility floated in league circles is a scenario in which the Nets promote assistant general manager Jeff Peterson to GM and give him more day-to-day responsibilities while Marks stays above him in the front office hierarchy.
  • Scotto and Lewis discussed many more Nets-related topics in the HoopsHype podcast, including the futures of players like Nic Claxton, Cam Thomas, and Ben Simmons in Brooklyn, Scotto also said there were rumblings that certain players – including Mikal Bridges and former Net Spencer Dinwiddie – weren’t thrilled by the fact that Vaughn’s offensive game plan focused so heavily on Simmons, who hasn’t been healthy for most of his time in Brooklyn.
  • Bridges said on Tuesday that he wants to remain in Brooklyn long-term, per Dan Martin of The New York Post. “I’m here now and want to stay here,” Bridges said. “And I’m going to keep grinding and getting to wherever we’ve got to get to win, and that’s why I’m here for.” The Nets turned away trade inquiries this season on Bridges and their goal is to ultimately acquire a star or two to play alongside him, per Scotto.
  • In a pair of stories for The New York Post, Mike Vaccaro wonders what it will take for the Nets to move on from Marks, while Zach Braziller identifies several potential candidates for Brooklyn’s permanent head coaching job. That list begins with Mike Budenholzer, whose name is “at the tip of everyone’s tongue” in discussing possible candidates, according to Scotto.

Nets Notes: Irving, Tsai, Vaughn, Durant

This afternoon’s game was the fifth that Kyrie Irving has missed since his suspension began, but Nets owner Joe Tsai told Brian Lewis of The New York Post that Irving “still has work to do” before he can resume playing. Irving is suspended indefinitely, but the team specified that he would miss at least five games when the penalty was announced. He has been given a list of six conditions that he must meet before reinstatement will be considered.

“He has to show people that he’s sorry,” Tsai said. “What’s important — and what people miss — is he only apologized after he was suspended.” 

Head coach Jacque Vaughn told reporters that he hasn’t been given an estimate of when Irving might return, other than saying that he won’t play in Sunday’s game against the Lakers. Irving has started to fulfill the requirements set by the Nets, including separate meetings this week with Tsai and with NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

There’s more on the Nets:

  • Brooklyn has won four of its five games with Irving suspended as Vaughn has instilled a more aggressive attitude in the team since replacing Steve Nash, Lewis adds. Vaughn compares his philosophy to a boxer throwing the first punch and believes it’s sustainable once Irving returns. “For this group, we have to be that way,” Vaughn said. “A big part of that is you see the different lineups. We play small at times. We’ve had Kevin (Durant), we’ve had Yuta (Watanabe), we’ve had Markieff (Morris) at center at times. So in order to do that you have to be scrappy and understand it won’t look pretty all the time. But the results are what matter.” 
  • Speaking to reporters after today’s game, Durant said Irving is handling the suspension well, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. “His spirits is high,” Durant said. “Looking forward to playing the game, you know Ky, he’s a gamer, he loves to play. So hopefully all this stuff is over with, we can move past it, and get him back on the floor soon.”
  • The players are rallying around Vaughn after his official hiring was preceded by several days of rumors that Ime Udoka would be the next head coach, Lewis states in a separate story. “Yeah, you just never know in this business,” Nic Claxton said. “We all heard reports that we were supposed to be getting Ime within the next couple of days. But we’re excited that JV is our coach. He’s a really good coach. He’s inspiring and I’m ready to get things going.”

Latest On Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving, who has been suspended for the Nets‘ last four games after sharing antisemitic content, has met with the team, the NBA, and the National Basketball Players Association on “several occasions” in recent days, the NBPA told players in an email obtained by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), the players’ union said in that email that Irving’s rights “have been protected at every turn” and that “the NBPA “(looks) forward very soon to a resolution of all matters satisfactory to all parties.” The memo also reiterated that both the NBPA and Irving “unequivocally condemn antisemitism and all other forms of hate.”

When the Nets initially announced Irving’s suspension, the team stated the ban would cover at least five games, so the guard will miss Saturday’s contest against the Clippers. In theory, he could accompany the Nets on their four-game road trip and suit up as early as Sunday vs. the Lakers.

However, head coach Jacque Vaughn told reporters today that there’s no update on Irving and that he still hasn’t talked to the seven-time All-Star (Twitter link via Nick Friedell of ESPN), so it remains unclear if he’ll play in any of the games out west. According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), there’s “skepticism” that Irving will return to action on Sunday, and it’s not a lock he’ll be back on Tuesday vs. Sacramento either.

Shortly after Vaughn spoke to the media, Nets owner Joe Tsai put out a statement announcing that he and his wife (and Nets co-owner) Clara Wu Tsai met with Irving and his family on Thursday.

“We spent quality time to understand each other and it’s clear to me that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people or any group,” Tsai said (Twitterlinks). “The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver conveyed a similar message on Thursday, telling Sopan Deb of The New York Times that he doesn’t believe Irving is antisemitic.

“We had a direct and candid conversation,” Silver said. “He’s someone I’ve known for a decade, and I’ve never heard an antisemitic word from him or, frankly, hate directed at any group … (But) whether or not he is antisemitic is not relevant to the damage caused by the posting of hateful content.”

While none of the latest comments and reports shed any real light on when Irving might play again for the Nets, most of them seem to point toward it happening sooner or later. That’s a change in tone from what we hearing at the start of the week, when one report indicated there was “growing pessimism” in some corners of the league that Kyrie would ever play for Brooklyn again.

Here’s more on Irving:

  • Two sources told Ian Begley of (Twitter link) that Thursday’s meeting between Irving and the Tsais was “very positive,” which bodes well for his chances of returning to the team.
  • Irving’s teammates Royce O’Neale and Nic Claxton both told reporters on Friday that they’ve been in touch with Irving and he has been in good spirits (Twitter links via Friedell).
  • After saying last week that he didn’t condone Irving’s actions, LeBron James came to the defense of his former teammate on Thursday, tweeting that Irving has apologized and should be allowed to return to the court. “What he’s (been) asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive,” James wrote. “He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him.”
  • As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes, Nike co-founder Phil Knight told CNBC on Thursday that the relationship between Nike and Irving is likely over for good. “Kyrie stepped over the line,” Knight said. “It’s kind of that simple. He made some statements that we just can’t abide by and that’s why we ended the relationship. And I was fine with that.”

Nets Notes: Irving, Udoka, Simmons, Durant, Curry

In an in-depth report for ESPN, Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski go into more detail on Wojnarowski’s earlier assertion that Nets owner Joe Tsai faced pressure from the NBA and from Nets management to take a more punitive approach following Kyrie Irving‘s promotion of an antisemitic film and initial refusal to apologize.

As ESPN’s duo outlines, Tsai hoped the incident could become a teachable moment for Irving, but ultimately gave up and decided to suspend Irving following his media session on Thursday. Irving’s refusal during that session to apologize or outright deny that he held antisemitic views convinced the Nets owner that Kyrie’s joint statement with the team and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had been insincere.

Another source of frustration for Tsai, according to ESPN’s report, was that he wasn’t able to communicate directly with Irving, with communication being channeled “completely” through Kyrie’s stepmother and agent Shetellia Riley Irving.

When Tsai and the Nets ultimately decided to suspend the star guard for at least five games, the team sent an email to Irving’s agent describing the steps he needed to take to be reinstated, including taking training sessions on the dangers of hate speech, per Shelburne and Wojnarowski.

Although it has been Irving’s off-court behavior that dominated headlines in the last week, the situation seemed to affect him on the court as well. According to Shelburne and Woj, teammates and opponents privately described Irving as “disengaged and seemingly ‘in another world'” on Tuesday when he went scoreless for three quarters vs. Chicago.

Among the other recent developments in the Irving saga? Nike has suspended its relationship with the seven-time All-Star, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN; the Nets and the ADL sent a letter to Jeff Bezos and Amazon leaders asking the website to either remove the book and movie that Irving promoted from its platform or add more details about the misinformation it contains (Twitter link via Shams Charania of The Athletic); and Irving’s former teammate LeBron James said he doesn’t condone Kyrie’s comments, telling reporters that they “caused some harm to a lot of people” (link via Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times).

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Brooklyn continues to work through the final stages of vetting the potential hiring of Ime Udoka as head coach, sources tell Shelburne and Wojnarowski.
  • An MRI on Ben Simmons‘ troublesome left knee came back clean, the Nets said on Friday, per Friedell at While that MRI didn’t show any serious damage, Simmons has experienced some swelling and had the knee drained this week. He has been ruled out at least through Saturday’s game.
  • Wojnarowski said on Friday during an appearance on NBA Today that he believes Simmons has been a “source of frustration” for Kevin Durant and others on the Nets (video link via Clutch Points). “He has been unable – now he’s unable – to stay on the floor with a knee injury, but prior to that, he has shown that he is a long way away from being back to being an impactful player,” Wojnarowski said. “I think it’s a big part of the reason why the Nets are at the very bottom of the league defensively.”
  • If the instability in Brooklyn continues, the Nets will have to be concerned about the possibility that Durant revives the trade request that he dropped in August, Wojnarowski said in another TV appearance on Friday (video link). In the latest episode of his Lowe Post podcast (video link), ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggests that other teams will be hoping for that outcome: “The vultures are going to circle on Durant. Those vultures expect the Nets to put on a strong face for a while. To not rush it, to posture – probably honestly – that, ‘No, he has four years left on his contract. … We control the situation, we’re trying to win, we don’t want to do this.'”
  • While neither Wojnarowski nor Lowe expects Durant to request a trade again in the near future, Howard Beck of argues that the Nets should blow things up anyway and move on entirely from the Durant-Irving era in Brooklyn.
  • Seth Curry, who has played just once this season as he returns from left ankle surgery, is expected to be available on Saturday vs. Charlotte, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.