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NBA / Dec 7, 2009 / 9:30 am

Summer of 2010 Watch: Nets Are A Much Better Option Than The Knicks

Devin Harris

The Knicks play in one of the biggest cities in the world, in the most famous arena. And as of now, the Knicks have a better record than the Nets and even beat them yesterday 106-97. But for some of the biggest names in this summer’s highly-touted free agent class like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – the Nets might be the better short-term and long-term option.

Neither ‘Bron, D-Wade or any of the top free agents have strongly indicated that they are leaving their respected homes. But assuming they are looking for a change of scenery, particularly in the New York-region, there are two teams there that have the pockets and cap space willing to make that wish happen. But which one is a better option?

On the outside, playing for the Nets is like the NBA’s version of a jail sentence. They were the sports world’s punchline last week by starting the season 0-18, which is the worst start in league history. Then they play in the outdated and never sold out (they currently rank 27th in attendance) IZOD Center. Wasn’t it even nicknamed the Swamp? Plus, they have they have a coach, Kiki Vandeweghe, who has two more games of head coaching experience than you and I. The Knicks, on the other hand, play on the league’s biggest stage in front of celebrities on a nightly basis. They have a coach that most players in the league want to play for (minus Nate Robinson). And if you are that A-list player or players that they happen to be targeting, they will build their team solely around you.

But if I were one of those free agents trying to choose between the two New York area squads, I’d have to go with the Nets. Though they’re struggling now, Jersey arguably has a better young core that has more potential. All-Star Devin Harris is one of the fastest point guards in the league and can score with the best of them, as well as create for his teammates. Behind Dwight Howard, Brook Lopez could be the second best center in the East. They have a bunch of promising young, fast and athletic wings like Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams and Chris Douglas-Roberts. I would take a lineup of LeBron, Lopez, Lee, Bosh and Harris over LeBron, Wilson Chandler, Bosh, Danilo Gallinari and Toney Douglas.

On top of the players the Nets already have on board, you also remember that they will most likely have a very, very high draft pick. And if they score the top pick, you can add Kentucky freshman sensation John Wall to that up-and-coming young core. Unfortunately, the Knicks can’t say the same, as they owe their almost guaranteed lottery pick to the Utah Jazz from a previous trade. Plus, the Nets are a couple of million dollars under the cap than the Knicks, giving them a little bit more flexibility. Yeah, Vandeweghe doesn’t have any head coaching experience, but even if he doesn’t pan out, as GM, he can easily return to the front office and hire someone else. Kiki is a brilliant GM, who helped turn around the Nuggets earlier this decade.

As for the stigma of playing in Jersey. Nets players are just a river across from the nightlife and the action in Manhattan. In fact, a lot of former Nets like Richard Jefferson stayed in NYC while playing for the Nets. And remember, the Nets are planning to move to Brooklyn in 2012 in the Barclays Center – the state-of-the-art arena that is in the works.

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Follow Gerald Narciso on Twitter at @Gerald_Narciso.

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  • http://www.random-ish.com Scoob

    They have a better core. I gotta admit that.

  • kicks

    The Nets are a better team than the 0-18 start would make of them, they’ve been playing .500 ball ever since it ended.

  • ToAn

    “they’ve been playing .500 ball ever since it ended.” i like your optimism. but yeah i agree that they look solid for the future, if they can land someone BIG then they are really dangerous…think when kidd was traded to NJ, they sucked before as well

  • Gunner J. Matthews

    The Nets have a better future than NYK but Lebron isnt about to leave a good setup in Cleveland to basically rebuild again in NJN.

  • Yoooo

    Put the Nets in friggin Newark at the Prudential Center, and its sold out EVERY NIGHT. The Izod Center is TERRIBLE. An eye sore. The ROC is beautiful and state of the art. If they pick up a big free agent the state will willingly pay the Nets way out of the Izod center.

  • http://www.petsocietyhelp.com Pet Society Help

    Let go of everyone except Lopez, sign wade and lebron, get dan dickau as pg and you’re set. Russian’s got the money.

  • Sweet English

    Knicks suck. Nets SUCK.

    Next.

  • Big V

    “I would take a lineup of LeBron, Lopez, Lee, Bosh and Harris over LeBron, Wilson Chandler, Bosh, Danilo Gallinari and Toney Douglas.”

    Why do you think the Knicks would put out a starting lineup of 3 SF’s, a PF and a PG? Do you also presume that David Lee is gone?

  • Rizwan

    Surely the Knicks players, although currently worse, will step up their game in a team that is expected to do well with Bosh and LeBron. Great players elevate those around them – case in point Mo Williams – all star at Milwaukee? HELL NO!

    I still think if LeBron leaves he goed to the Knicks because they love him so much and you know he loves what that does ot his ego. Can you believe his dancing bullshit? I am beginning to lose more and more respect for him as the day goes by. On the other hand, I gained tons of respect for Joakim Noah. Also, what the fuck was Luol Deng and Derrick Rose doing just sitting there when Z, Mo, and LeBron made thier way towards the bench? Way to back your teammate!

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    ive said NJ Nets have the best future in the league SO MANY times on here. in 2yrs, they’ll have the most talented team in the league; even better than Portland.

    No big time FA is going there however. why go play for the Nets, when you can play for the Knicks and get MORE of everything?!!?

    sheeeeeit, if you not going to win chips…..then you might as well play for the most money. and in NY, you can def make the most money (even if you never win a chip).

    so yeah, austin, go to NJ and write articles for the ‘Record’. i’ll go to nyc and write for Dime.

  • mules

    I have an idea for summer 2010…grammar/proofreading lessons for Gerald Narciso. My eight year old writes better than this.

  • F.L.A.S.H.

    LeBron will play for the nets just for the fear of losing Jay-Z’s fatass lips on his LeWang

  • Rizwan

    @ mules

    I know! I’ve been saying it for ages! Check out the first sentence

  • Rizwan

    @ heckler

    NJ will NOT have the most talented team in the league in 2 years. Portland and OKC will still be there as they are currently but with more experience making them more dangerous

    and second, Austin didnt write this article

  • Guitar Hero

    Well…an A-list player like LBJ or Wade won’t hang around for 2 years in The Swamp while he waits for a Brooklyn move that may or may not happen in the near future.
    Yeah, the Nets have a better core than the Knicks.
    But NY is NY, MSG is MSG, Mike D is Mike D and well…the Knicks are one of NBA’s proudest franchises, with a huge fanbase spread around the world. The Nets? Not so much.

  • Arrogant

    Chicago and NJ are the best options, but the media thing in new york may get ppl to go there

  • scarboroslikechuck

    Nobody is picking The Nets over The Knicks, buddy

  • DH34

    The Nets are playing their last season in the swamp and will play the next 2 years in the ROCK in Newark. Any FA wouldn’t mind playing in a stat of the art arena as a TEMP location before moving to an even bigger and better arena in Brooklyn. The Nets have a lot of things going for them expect big FA signings this offseason.

  • calvin brodus

    “Kiki is a brilliant GM, who helped turn around the Nuggets earlier this decade.”

    kiki is NOT a brilliant GM. he handed kmart a six year, untradeable max deal that has haunted the nuggs ever since the ink dried on the contract.

  • DJ HeavyDuty

    The NJ Nets are the only team with a real chance of landing Lebron for these reasons
    1 young players – CDR DH YI TWill Lee Lopez all under 26
    2 Draft picks – 4 1st rd next 2 years and 6 total next 2 years
    3 Trade exceptions – 2 totalling 6mill
    4 cap space – most in the NBA for 2010
    5 Brooklyn – NYC is cool but Brooklyn is the coolest place in NYC
    6 owner – billionaire owner coming and Jay Z still minority owner

    Lebron will not be winning the Finals this year.
    Cleveland can pay him the most.
    Now for Lebron to leave and get his $, cleveland must agree to a sign and trade.
    The Nets could package picks and a young player or 2 to get lebron and still have a good team to put around him.
    The Nets could make a trade THIS year to get a player like Carlos Boozer with rafer alston, battie, or simmons.
    With a billionaire Russian owner waiting in the wings and Euro championships under his belt, Lebrons quest for world dominance could be a reality
    The Knicks have MSG…. that’s it!

  • mike

    kmart is doing just fine in denver… and kiki had to offer him that contract to pry him away from nj cause anything less and nj would have kept him! and even though kmart wasnt a max player in denver he was our max player… nj just f- up and let him go

  • Guitar Hero

    Walsh also put together some of the greatest teams of the 90’s and early 00’s in Indiana.

  • MJ

    What the NYK is missing is the young PG, though they do have a promising rookie in Tony Douglas. Outside of that though, you can’t beat playing in the Garden. There is NOWHERE on this planet that is more electric than MSG when the Knicks are winning. Also, if any of those guys brought the Knicks a championship, they’s be immortalized ala Frazier, Reed, Bradley, etc. Winning a championship in NY would go a long way careerwise. Don’t think guys are not thinking about that stuff too. This is ultimately a business after all. The Nets? Folks have already forgotten Jason Kidd even played here.

  • http://dimemag.com bob

    Nets have the best chance at landing these big names. They have highest payroll, and have number 1 pick.
    Nj lineup-
    Harris
    Lee
    Lebron
    Bosh
    Lopez
    6th man- John Wall

  • john

    6th man- John Wall…

    yeah right. Did you ever see Wall play.He will eat Devin Harris alive

  • http://gameofinches.blogspot.com TBO

    The Bulls havent had a all-star since the MJ days. They need to change the way the organization runs business to entice the great free agents to come to the Windy City. First order of business, does Vinny Del Negro get fired before, after, or on Christmas day

    http://gameofinches.blogspot.com/2009/12/does-vinny-get-fired-before-after-or-on.html