High-spending Nets come to Target Center with dismal start

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 22, 2013 - 11:57 AM

Despite a huge expense on players, Brooklyn is off to a dismal 3-8 start.

 

– Towering electronic advertisements that promote all the basketball talent and pedigree $190 million can buy greet patrons arriving nightly at Barclays Center.

The advertisements include these words: “Hello Brooklyn, Are You Ready?”

So far, it’s a contradictory question for a Nets team that spent so lavishly and yet has started this season 3-8 by losing six of its past seven games.

The NBA’s current labor agreement was supposed to even the proverbial playing field between the league’s disparately sized markets because of a luxury payroll tax so punitive no owner in his right mind and even in the biggest of markets would thumb his nose at it.

Enter Nets billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who didn’t flinch during a summer when he approved the acquisitions of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from Boston, signed former Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko to a seemingly sweetheart deal that launched an NBA investigation, and then gambled his entire investment on Jason Kidd when he hired the recently retired player to coach six other former All-Stars.

The Nets’ payroll surpasses $100 million. Their luxury-tax penalties will approach another $90 million. That is nearly three times what the Wolves — Friday night’s opponent at Target Center — will pay for their players.

Prokhorov’s expensive experiment suggests that the two-month labor lockout two seasons ago changed nothing.

He uses the catch phrase “Aiming At Amazing” to describe his team and perhaps his spending spree. For now, though, the Nets are an aging, injured mix of players who, indeed, in an unexpected way have done what Prokhorov intended — push the in-town rival Knicks toward what he envisions as a “new golden era” for New York City basketball: Both teams with massive payrolls have started the season 3-8 and are tied for last place in their division.

Garnett calls that start “dismal” and Pierce says he and his teammates are “angry.”

A team that has seven players in their 30s — including Garnett, 37, and Pierce, 36 — also is hurt, and hurting: Garnett, Pierce, Deron Williams, Kirilenko, even youngster Brook Lopez all have missed games. Looking overwhelmed at times, Kidd already finds himself on the NBA’s coaching hot seat and blamed himself after Monday’s home loss to Portland for “bad” coaching.

“When they put this thing together, they didn’t say it was going to happen right away,” veteran guard Terry said after Monday’s loss. “We all would love it to, but it hasn’t and everything has become very difficult, whether it’s shots or getting stops. Everything has been a grind and so that’s what it takes. At the end of the day, we’ll see what we’re made of. It has been a tough month for us, but we’re going to stay optimistic. We have a great situation here.”

In a recent interview with the team’s YES television network, Prokhorov said he wanted a departure from the traditional kind of NBA coaching hire and described hiring Kidd as a “light bulb went on that said what an amazing idea.”

He also said he didn’t hesitate to make the Garnett-Pierce trade with Boston or think twice about spending so much money to far surpass the NBA’s luxury tax threshold.

“Hell yes,” he replied when asked his reaction to the trade proposal.

“Heck no,” he said when asked about any luxury-tax concerns.

“What am I doing here?” he told YES. “I don’t go halfway on anything. I go to the end. I go all the way. … I agree 100 percent, it’s just impossible to buy a team. If you want a real champion, you need a combination of factors: Of course money, plus you need to have best people on court, off court. You need to have a passion, a team spirit.”

The Nets also need good health. They played Monday without starters Lopez at center and Williams at point guard. Williams returned to play Wednesday at Charlotte and reinjured one of his chronically injured ankles.

  • related content

  • The swan song of Kevin Garnett

    Friday November 22, 2013

    Kevin Garnett has gone from superstar with the Wolves to veteran cog with Boston to looking over the hill in Brooklyn.

  • With Kirilenko injured, Wolves appreciate their good fortune

    Friday November 22, 2013

    Four months after he turned down a $10 million salary with the Timberwolves and signed with Brooklyn for a portion of that, Andrei Kirilenko returns Friday to Target Center

  • Chart: Highest paid players for the Nets

    Thursday November 21, 2013

    Hey there, Big Spender!So what does a $101 million payroll and nearly another $90 million in luxury-tax penalties buy for...

  • Gameday preview: Brooklyn at Wolves

    Thursday November 21, 2013

    wolves gameday7 P.M. VS. Brooklyn • Target Center • FSN, 830-AMPreview: After so much money spent and so many expectations,...

  • Four Nets players — from left, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez , Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce — sat glumly near the end of one of Brooklyn’s losses, which are common this season so far.

  • Kevin Garnett is in the middle of an electronic ad near the main entrance to Barclays Center.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - LP: B. Finnegan 4 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 11
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
Montreal 3
New Jersey 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Dallas 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 7
Detroit 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Chicago 2 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Minnesota 7
Florida 1 FINAL(OT)
Arizona 2
Washington 3 3rd Prd 8:01
Calgary 1
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
UNLV 20 FINAL
Utah State 34
Temple 14 FINAL
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 59 FINAL
Washington St 37
Texas-El Paso 34 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 31 FINAL
Colorado State 45
Syracuse 6 FINAL
(21) Clemson 16
Texas State 22 FINAL
ULM 18
(3) Ole Miss 7 FINAL
(24) LSU 10
(4) Alabama 34 FINAL
Tennessee 20
So Carolina 35 FINAL
(5) Auburn 42
(13) Ohio State 31 FINAL
Penn State 24
(20) USC 14 3rd Qtr 8:36
(19) Utah 10
(14) Arizona State 10 3rd Qtr
Washington 0
Nevada 0 1st Qtr 9:35
Hawaii 0
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 FINAL
New England 1
Portland 2 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Colorado 0 FINAL
Vancouver FC 1
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 28 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local team are you currently most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close