ESPN Insider’s Kevin Pelton on the road ahead for the sub par Brooklyn Nets post Avery Johnson:
Via ESPN Insider: Every NBA coach operates with a clock hanging over his head that counts down to his eventual departure — usually not by choice. Such is the nature of a league where only one coach (San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich) has been with the same team for more than a decade. Some clocks tick faster than others, however, and whoever replaces Avery Johnson at the helm of the Brooklyn Nets doesn’t figure to have much time to spare.
There were justifications for making a change after the Nets followed their impressive 11-4 start with a 3-10 record in December. Deron Williams’ criticism of his coach’s offense surely didn’t help Johnson’s cause, and Johnson was never able to get his team’s defense playing at even an average level after building a reputation as a defensive specialist as coach of the Dallas Mavericks. Ultimately, Johnson’s demise was about expectations. Brooklyn ownership didn’t add more than $330 million in future payroll this past summer in order to go .500.
The NY Times examines Jay-Z’s influence on re-branding the new Brooklyn Nets, a small investment yielding big results:
When the developer Bruce Ratner set out to buy the New Jersey Nets and build an arena for them in Brooklyn, he recruited Jay-Z, the hip-hop superstar who grew up in public housing a couple of miles from the site, to join his group of investors.
Mr. Ratner may have thought he was getting little more than a limited partner with a boldface name and a youthful following that could prove useful someday. But Jay-Z’s contributions have dwarfed the $1 million he invested nine years ago. His influence on the project has been wildly disproportionate to his ownership stake — a scant one-fifteenth of one percent of the team. And so is the money he stands to make from it.
Now, with the long-delayed Barclays Center arena nearing opening night in September and the Nets bidding in earnest for Brooklyn’s loyalties, Jay-Z will perform eight sold-out shows to kick things off. But away from center stage he has put his mark on almost every facet of the enterprise, his partners say.