Sunday, September 2, 2012

Nets Update: Free Agent Rumors, Uniform Unveiling and More..

      As the summer winds down to a close, the Brooklyn Nets are still making headlines. Here's the latest of what's going on around the franchise...

1. Free Agency

- Earlier in the week, it was reported by multiple sources that the Nets agreed to a minimum salary, non-guaranteed contract with former Sacramento Kings forward and Syracuse Orange alumni Donte Greene. Unfortunately, it turns out that Greene suffered an ankle injury while working out in Charlotte and his pending surgery has put his expected signing with the Nets on hold. Greene and his agent, Chris Luchey, have expressed high hopes that the 6'11" athlete will be in a Brooklyn Nets uniform this season. Will the Nets take a chance on Greene though? Stay tuned for more details.

- In the aftermath of discovering Donte Greene's fractured ankle, the Nets have ventured back to the free agent market to find another small forward. Brooklyn has been linked to several players, including swingmen Sam Young and Josh Childress, as well as the oft-injured Damion James. Young has played with the Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers, while Childress has played for the Phoenix Suns since his return from playing basketball in Greece. Damion James was acquired in a draft-day trade by the Nets two years ago, but had been injury prone during his time in New Jersey.

- The Nets are still searching for a natural center to play behind Brook Lopez, with several rumors being connected to Eddy Curry. Curry, 29, played very little minutes during his tenure with the NBA champion Miami Heat last season. He has also played for the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls during his career. He's a big body down low, but weighing in at 295 pounds might be too big (in a bad way). Curry has been criticized for his ineffectiveness lately, but with the Nets he'd be nothing more than insurance to Brook Lopez. Could Curry be headed back to the Big Apple?

- In the growing search for a center to play behind Brook Lopez, according to ESPN, Nets head coach Avery Johnson has reached out to Andray Blatche, 26, who was amnestied this summer by the Washington Wizards. At 6'11", Blatche has the height and talent to play at the center position, but his maturity issues and questionable off-court behavior have crumbled his career with the Wizards and the interest of several possible suitors. If the Nets offer him a contract, it will be a minimum, non-guaranteed deal with a camp invite where he'll have to earn a spot on the roster.

2. Uniform Unveiling

- The Brooklyn Nets' highly-anticipated uniform release will be on September 28th, the last Friday of the month.

- Could this be the Nets' newest home jersey? A toymaker from McFarlane Toys' NBA figurines leaked a picture of a Deron Williams figurine in a Brooklyn Nets jersey. Since the figurines have official NBA licenses, this could be what the Nets will be wearing in their first home preseason game against the Wizards next month. The Nets' first preseason game will be on October 13th in Atlantic City against the Philadelphia 76ers.

3. Projections for the Nets

- In a recent magazine interview, Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov called out New York Knicks owner James Dolan, labeling him as "that little man." Prokhorov stands at 6'8", while Dolan stands at a mere 5'6", so Prokhorov does have some leverage there. Prokhorov remains optimistic about his team, stating that the Nets will win a championship in the near future.

- ESPN NBA analysts project the Nets to be right in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but the only team they think can challenge the 2011-12 NBA Champion Miami Heat are the Boston Celtics. However, the Nets are projected to make the biggest turnaround in the NBA. Joe Johnson, the Nets' newest shooting guard, is ranked as one of the best newcomers and worst newcomers in ESPN's Summer Forecast series. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Johnson neglected the analysts' opinions and offered his own, saying that he expects the Nets to compete for the title. Check out the full Q&A here.

      This summer has certainly been one for the ages for the Nets franchise. The Barclay's Center is almost complete, the roster is nearly filled and the team will be a safe bet to be contending for the playoffs in the upcoming season. With only one month remaining until training camp starts, the hype around this organization might be higher than it's ever been.

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