NBA Free Agency 2010: Things Moving In The Shadows

The Nets organization is operating under the premise that the NBA Board of Governors will officially ratify Mikhail Prokhorov’s purchase of the team during All-Star Weekend in Dallas. Also that weekend, Prokhorov has his first planning meeting scheduled with CEO Brett Yormark and president Rod Thorn, according to an official who is not authorized to speak for the team.

via NJ Nets lose to Washington Wizards, 81-79, on last-second Earl Boykins shot | – New Jersey Nets Basketball –

The Russian Cuban is taking aim at controlling ops.

Now, let’s switch over to what some handsome young writer wrote over at FanHouse (quite brilliantly, I might add):

But the Nets are terrible! They’re the worst team in the league! They’re the team with the worst winning percentage. But they feature a good-to-great starting center in Brook Lopez, depth at guard in Chris Douglas-Roberts and Courtney Lee, and oh, yeah, another late first round draft pick from Dallas. So you’ve got a foundation, the best player in the draft, you’re moving in two years to the biggest market on earth, and all the money you can have to throw at James. James can love Cleveland all he wants, but that sounds like a very attractive offer. That’s before you bring the possibility of Wade joining him somewhere for less money. The Nets would be able to give both players, or James and another free agent (Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire) enough money to make a slight paycut not so horrid. Their new billionaire Russian owner certainly sounds like he’s willing to put the money forth to build a winner. They have Yi Jianlian to cash in on the Chinese market, which is huge.

via A “LeBron to New Jersey By Way of Wall’s Kentucky” Exercise — NBA FanHouse.

Think about all the factors we have coming together. The Chinese market. A team with enough to pay LeBron and another star. Depth. Superstar talent. The potential number one pick. A big move to the big city. An open coaching spot.  We’re looking at a confluence of forces that could reshape basketball.

It won’t happen, because, well, life’s not that cool. But I keep returning to how the league has reacted to the Pau Gasol trade. There’s this overwhelming sense of “Jesus, is this what it takes? Two mega-stars, two supporting stars and some great role support?” And if you’re LeBron/Wade, aren’t you looking at this and saying “If the old man can dominate like this with that kind of team, what could we do?” That’s why I think the possibility of them taking less money to play together is real. If Kobe can accomplish what he has with Pau Gasol, what can they do together? These guys have a very real sense of their legacy at their young age. As truly great as they are on their own, they have a better chance of being remembered as the best if they sacrifice money and ego in honor of something special.

New Jersey offers these guys what they want. It all. They want it all. Contention: I know they’ve lost a ton of games but you can’t look at their roster and say this is worse than the Pacers, Wolves, or Wizards. Upside, solid players in key positions, and reasonable contracts. No anchors. The biggest market. Endorsement and business opportunities to cover what they’d lose in salary. An easy division with Boston’s eventual slide. They could choose their coach (and conceivably their President of Basketball ops).

It’s such a special opportunity, but it’s simply unlikely to happen because of the number of moving parts. Nonetheless, I can’t say that I don’t see a pattern in the moves. Brooklyn. Prokhorov. Yi. Jay-Z. LeBron. Wall.


Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a Senior NBA Blogger for's Eye on Basketball blog, weekend editor of Pro Basketball Talk on, and co-editor of Voice on the Floor. He lives in Kansas City due to an unbelievably complex set of circumstances and enjoys mid-90's pop rock, long walks on the beach and the novels of Tim Sandlin.