1. New Jersey Nets
“When the money goes, will the honeys stay?
When the grey skies replace the sunny days.
Hey, hey, hey.”
Jay-Z spit these lines in his “When the Money Goes” joint. Now it’s clearer than ever this joint will be the anthem he is bringing to his native Brooklyn. Opening night at the Barclays Center doesn’t seem like the spectacle it was once thought of. Brooklynites should look to spend their disposal income elsewhere this fall, and not on any Jigga Man album either.
The Nets aren’t likely to steal any headlines from the Knicks next season. Their lavished aspirations for a cultural renaissance in BK have vanished quicker than the Dodgers dipping to L.A. in 1957.
Dwight Howard’s eventual choice to stay another year in Orlando must have immediately reminded Hov of the aforementioned single. D12 just left them, so will Deron Williams bother to sign an extension in the offseason and stay… particularly, since a cast of “grey skies” have now “replaced the sunny days” Brooklyn was expected to have? The Nets future is as grim as its present. Mikhail Prokhorov’s net worth of $13.2 billion and 57th rank on Forbes’ world billionaires list can’t even sway D-Will to commit long-term anymore.
The gamble of free agency is the moral behind this joint.
In Prokhorov’s initial 2010 press conference, he stated the following: “I am pretty sure I can convince the very best of the best that the Nets is the place they need to be.”
I’m sorry. Prokhorov hasn’t been seen at a Nets game for a while. He’s apparently far more concerned in his Russian political race versus Vladimir Putin than the race to get D12 to Brooklyn.
ESPN’s Marc Stein said it best: “Players want to see him in action and feel his presence. Why should a star player want to play for the Nets if he’s giving the impression that he doesn’t want to be there to watch or run them?”
The only thing Prokhorov has “convinced” cats to do is to speculate and dissuade against signing on to the Brooklyn Nets. Some owners can get away as behind-the-scenes people, and the public won’t notice or care. His franchise is unlike any other in the league, though. His involvement upon his anointment has garnered minimal, if any, impact. Prokhorov couldn’t expect that Jay-Z’s influence alone would persuade superstars like Dwight that Brooklyn is a unique platform. He hasn’t established the credibility necessary to just watch from afar and not have his fingertips on the blueprint.
As for Hov, he may very well act as a serious Nets stakeholder that partakes in the business nuances of the Barclays Center, as The Wall Street Journal detailed. But these responsibilities aren’t highlighted enough to draw the attention of cats to publicly state they want to play in Brooklyn. He told David Letterman about how he respected whatever decision his boy LeBron would make prior to free agency. Wasn’t their relationship a conflict of interest? Isn’t an owner supposed to be completely biased and confidently persuasive to attract free agents? Why wasn’t he capable, or willing, to bring Brooklyn the star they’ve longed for in King James? All of these questions remain unanswered. And the current ones regarding D12 should be linked to his inability to leverage his celebrity to draw superstars to the Nets. Cats don’t want to Watch the Throne; they want to sit on the throne.
D-Will is only with the Nets right now because the Utah Jazz were proactive at the deadline last year to snatch the majority of their assets. He will soon reconsider how viable this squad is for next year and going forward. Adding Crash Wallace with an injured Brook Lopez ain’t going to do it, especially when you basically gave up this summer’s lottery pick.
“LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Amar’e, ’Melo, Boozer, and Dwight. That’s pretty brutal 0-fer for Prokhorov,” tweeted Hardwood Paroxysm’s Matt Moore. He just forgot to mention Jay-Z.
To conclude: “But there is no getting around it: This is a massive blow for New Jersey,” noted SI’s Zach Lowe. He just forgot to change the city to Brooklyn.
Who do you think won and lost at the trade deadline?
Follow Freddy on Twitter at @RealFreddyMack.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.