Good morning. Let’s blow up the Nets.
That and much more in Wednesday’s NBA newsletter. You can also subscribe to Good Morning It’s Basketball and get it in your inbox at 8 a.m. ET every weekday.
Good morning. The top news from the NBA on Tuesday was an ESPN report that the Brooklyn Nets are making basically the whole roster — including Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez — available for trade. The Nets are a disappointing 8-11 with a sky-high payroll and few assets moving into the future. While Brooklyn did pick it up in the second half of last season and win a playoff series, the team is nowhere near contending in the East, let alone the league. When you’re spending $200 million on players in a league with a $64 million salary cap, you need more production. In that sense it makes perfect sense that the front office would look to pull the plug.
That said, Williams and Lopez were once superstars and both are under 30. Johnson has been himself with little regression. What’s the endgame by trading those guys? Given the team’s distinct lack of assets beyond those three, a rebuild might take ages. Is Mikhail Prokhorov patient enough for that, or does he even care at this point? It should be interesting, whatever happens.
Enough of the Nets. Let’s basketball.
LAST NIGHT IN 36 SECONDS: Cleveland beat the Raptors AGAIN, has won eight straight, now sits atop the Central and is just two games behind Toronto for No. 1 in the East. That happened fast. Chris Bosh dominated the Suns and Phoenix has now lost three straight. Mason Plumlee greatly disrespected Dwyane Wade. Detroit’s losing streak is up to 13 straight. Robin Lopez’s feud with Hooper, the Pistons mascot, continued. The Pelicans beat the Knicks despite a throwback game from Amare. The Grizz outgunned the Mavs in an scoring festival. Tony Allen stunted on them. The Jazz upset the Spurs. The Lakers wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts and beat the Kings. And after another win, the Thunder are only three games out of the No. 8 seed. Russell Westbrook can fly, and I’m not even joking, he should probably be regulated by the FAA or something.
If you want some additional context on these games, our NBA Scores hub has you covered.
ON KOBE: Mr. Bryant is now 31 points behind Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list. Flannery and I took the opportunity to wax on Kobe as basketball’s last MJ-styled superstar.
SPEAKING OF KOBE: Mitch Kupchak says Kobe has no plans to play beyond 2015-16, when his current contract expires. I’m skeptical.
T-MAC FOREVER: Brilliant Les Carpenter project on Tracy McGrady.
ON GIANNIS AND JABARI: Zach Lowe on Milwaukee’s new pair of superstars.
HOW THE T-SHIRTS HAPPENED: Scott Cacciola gives a tick-tock of how LeBron, Kyrie and a few Nets came to wear “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts on Monday. And here’s Richard Deitsch on the movement’s presence in the NBA.
KIRILENKO TO PHILLY: Woj reports the Nets are ready to send Andrei Kirilenko and a second-round pick to the Sixers for basically nothing. It’s unclear whether AK-47 will suit up or if his NBA career is over. The Sixers would then own roughly 47 second-round picks in the next four drafts.
‘WHO’S YOUR DAD?’ Dan Steinberg highlights Colin Cowherd’s backwards stumble on the subject of John Wall. I’ll have more on this topic later today.
ASSESSING BLATT: How is the rookie coach in Cleveland handling himself?
Happy Wednesday. See you next time.
SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER
Get news, links and Ziller’s #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.