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Stan Van Gundy lays out Nets situation… and it’s not pretty

Dec 31, 2013, 3:51 PM EDT

Washington Wizards v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

You can’t just buy an NBA title anymore.

You can spend a lot of money on stars but you need to do it wisely (see the Miami Heat), but you can’t just throw a random roster of stars together. Mark Cuban tried it and learned he needed to build a team differently, one with parts that meshed.

Mikhail Prokorov and the Nets are learning that this season — and will pay the price for that lesson for years to come.

Stan Van Gundy was on the Amani and Eytan show on NBC Sports Radio Monday night and summed up the situation well. He was asked if Brook Lopez’s season-ending injury could save Jason Kidd’s job as coach.

“I think with all the injuries it’s been hard to evaluate Jason Kidd. It’s been easy to jump on him not just because of the record, but the things coming out of their locker room, the situation with Lawrence Frank, the incident of spilling the drink on the floor. I mean this has looked like a bush league organization much of the year, they don’t play with much effort at all, a very uninspired team. But at the same time they had so many people hurt you just don’t know. And now they are not they are not going to be healthy all year…

“You can do whatever you want with the coaching situation but it is not going to change the situation with their roster. They just don’t have a lot of options — they don’t have draft picks, they are way over the salary cap. They are probably in the worst situation of any team in the NBA right now.”

There already have been reports that Kidd could be gone by the All-Star break if the Nets do not turn things around.

Two thoughts to add.

First, this quote comes from Stan Van Gundy, one of the NBA’s best available free agent coaches — you think you are going to get an elite coach to replace Kidd?

Second, as I have said before, if the Nets fire Kidd management needs to step up to the podium at the press conference and own this was their mistake. Jason Kidd may or may not pan out to be a good NBA coach, but any first-time coach is going to go through a learning curve. The Nets put Kidd in charge of a team with a one (maybe two) year window to really do some damage, then be retooled. There was no time for a learning curve, and we are talking about one of the most intense media markets in the nation. That’s not all on Kidd, it’s on the choice of putting him in there in the first place.

  1. redbaronx - Dec 31, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    I don’t know why everyone keeps qualifying their remarks about the Nets being injured. This was all PREDICTABLE from day one. Brooks Lopez has been injured most of his career. Old vets get injured and skills were already in decline before they got to the Nets. A rookie coach who has never been a head coach …. Even Avery Johnson sat on the bench with Dallas for a year before he became head coach. All of this was predictable and I don’t get how people thought this would be an ECF team!! How any GM thought this would work is beyond me! Someone should hire me instead!

    • Kevin S. - Dec 31, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      Brook Lopez played every game of his first three seasons. He suffered a major injury that wiped out his fourth year, and then he lost a handful of games to an ankle sprain last year. That’s not most of his career. Now that he’s broken the same foot twice it’s a different story, but to act like he was a ticking time bomb coming in is to ignore his actual history.

      • sportsfan18 - Dec 31, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        people don’t think, care or take the time to look things up first.

        it’s speak first, get it out.

        oh, when the sports writers do this too, they jump on them and criticize them for doing it when that’s exactly what they do.

        so many don’t realize it happens because so many people do crap like this.

        you get put down for making corrections, explaining things etc… now in this country.

        those who made the mistake have others that will jump on you even though you are right.

        it’s going from bad to worse

      • redbaronx - Dec 31, 2013 at 8:37 PM

        @Kevin – OK, so I stand corrected on Brooks Lopez. I might have mixed his injury time with his brother Robin in my mind. In any event, to expect that the Nets would compete for an ECF this year was simply a far stretch and Nets management really screwed up relying on older players and an untried coach. That’s the point.

    • adoombray - Jan 1, 2014 at 7:28 AM

      don’t pretend that this is something everyone saw coming. When J. Kidd was hired as a coach everybody parroted that “floor general” and “he already was a coach on the floor!” nonsense that sportswriters kicked down like pavlov’s dog. It was and is a horrible move but since Kidd is friendly with the media and websites are not in the business of pissing off their partners nobody called it until it was a dead horse.

      • redbaronx - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:04 PM

        @adoombray – You’re right I don’t have to pretend!!! My posts from summer 2013 should suffice, because if you had seen any of them you’d know that I thought hiring Kidd as a head coach was a bad idea to begin with!

        And I wasn’t the only one either. I know some other regular PBT posters that didn’t buy it either! This really didn’t take any genius to see this coming.

  2. shadowshand - Dec 31, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Me first! Me first! Me first!

  3. dinofrank60 - Dec 31, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Quick fix didn’t work. Veteran team would be easier to coach, buys JKidd time to get up to speed. But JKidd didn’t know how to deal with Frank and he’s not inspiring the team.
    Once he got the gig, he should’ve called up Lenny Wilkens for advice. Lenny should have been his Genco.

  4. reupjosh - Dec 31, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    Billy King needs to take some accountability… We all saw what sort of mess he left the Sixers in when he got bounced… How that dude still has a job is beyond me.

    • zerole00 - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:31 PM

      The owners (previous and current) fell for his hype, and the current owner will pay for it for years.

    • adoombray - Jan 1, 2014 at 6:25 PM

      Good post! and what a situation he screwed up too! you have an owner who has mining empires to run and doesnt meddle, who is willing to cut literally any check you might want to write a player, a beautiful brand new stadium that Jay Z is filling night after night and the best city to be young and rich in in America. It’s a failure on a level with no parallel

  5. mrlaloosh - Dec 31, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    Move back to New Jersey where losing is expected. Less pressure.

  6. timberwolvesbrisin - Dec 31, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    Man quit saying the nets have ” a one or two year window.”

    You’re suppose to be a professional writer, did you not see how washed up kg and pierce looked in the playoffs last year? That Deron Williams is no longer a top point guard, and the Lopez can’t rebound or defend.

    • zerole00 - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      Well it depends how you look at it, I’m guessing he means they have a year or two to play at their highest level. That’s not to say that Miami, San Antonio, OKC, or a host of other teams wouldn’t demolish them at that level though.

      • adoombray - Jan 1, 2014 at 6:30 PM

        The luxury tax means nothing to Prokhorov. He’s the only guy in the league who looked at Joe Johnsons contract and said “yeah sure no problem”. The nets are the only team in the league, even moreso than their cross town rivals in the Knicks, to whom financial consequences on bad signings are totally irrelevent. The salary cap is 50 million. Prokhorov made ~4 BILLION over the last 4 years. Their window is always open, its the continued wasted time and excuse making with Jason Kidd and Billy King that is the problem.

      • zerole00 - Jan 2, 2014 at 1:54 AM

        The money may not mean anything to him if they win, but right now they’re looking at a first round knock out AT BEST. Prokhorov didn’t get to where he is by being stupid, and the Nets roster cost for their current record is very stupid.

  7. zerole00 - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    “they don’t have draft picks, they are way over the salary cap. They are probably in the worst situation of any team in the NBA right now.”

    I don’t think it’d be an exaggeration to say they’re probably in the worse situation of any NBA team in HISTORY. Aren’t they paying like 160-180 million (with the luxury tax) for this roster? And it’ll be for a couple years.

    • fatcamper - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      You say that, but if Mikhail Prokorov can use some of his Russian business experience to convince a few guys to “retire” they’re in decent shape come 2015. Looking at their roster and payroll he only needs to threaten..err… talk to: Johnson, KG, Pierce, Lopez, Terry, and Williams. “Write those guys off,” and they’re ready to start an actual rebuilding process.

      • 1historian - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:47 PM

        The rebuilding will have to wait until 2019 when the Celtics have used the last of the 3 1st round picks they got for Pierce and Garnett.

  8. padomer - Jan 1, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    adooombray, you nailed it. I even bought into the hire, at least in theory as JKIDD bein someone who wouldbe universally respected in the locker room . Now that it’s obvious it was a crap move, I revert to my original hesitations: “Idk man Lionel Hollins, George Karl and Stan Van all looking for work, I really dont know what to expect.” That said on paper and in theory, nobody could have seen this coming, losing Brick Lopez is a real big deal. And all the expectations were there based on the assumption that DWILL would be the reall DWILL. There was a point in time (not too long ago) that me and my crew woud get into intense CP3 vs. DWILL arguments: since then I personally, gave DWILL the benefit of the doubt bein on teams that stink. I wonder if he’ll ever return to the elite category…do you?

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