Nets center-forward Mason Plumlee has been selected to participate in the NBA’s annual All-Star weekend Slam Dunk contest, which will be held at the Barclays Center Feb. 14 as part of the league’s All-Star Saturday Night festivities (NBA.com, Jan. 27).
Joining Plumlee will be the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Timberwolves’ Zach LaVine, and the Magic’s Victor Oladipo.
Plumlee’s 79 dunks this season are sixth in the league and the most among the four competitors. Plumlee, the third Nets player invited to the NBA version of the competition (Chris Morris 1989, Richard Jefferson 2003) is averaging 10.9 points (13.8 in 44 starts) and is third in the league in field-goal percentage (59.3).
The All-Star Game is Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden.
Times have changed and in a hurry. The goal of the Brooklyn Nets franchise is not the same as it was just two-to-three years ago. That has altered the way this organization does everything, from personnel decisions to financial considerations. That’s evident in the wake of the Nets’ most recent trade rumors.
The reported swap that would send Joe Johnson to Charlotte has come under some criticism of late. put together a good case as to why the Nets should hold onto Johnson. Chief among his rationale was that the move would make Brooklyn worse and not even save them that much money in the process.
The Brooklyn Game
“Johnson makes $23,180,790 this year and $24,894,863 after, with the former adding to Brooklyn’s enormous luxury tax bill and the latter potentially avoiding it. The Williams-Stephenson-Henderson combo makes a flat $22 million in each season, with Henderson’s player option in 2015-16 (which he’s expected to exercise). Stephenson also has a team option in 2016-17 for $9.405 million. The Nets stand to save about $3 million in each season on the trade, including luxury tax savings and accounting for the fact that they’ve already paid over half of Johnson’s salary this year.“
Those are fair points. The Nets will be a worse basketball team in the short term and the money saved isn’t that substantial. But I don’t think it takes into account the new normal of the Nets’ situation.
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The Nets front office is growing concerned that Lionel Hollins might not be the right man for the job.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Ohm Youngmisuk, the Brooklyn brass is considering a shake up to turn things around, and Hollins’ performance as head coach is currently under evaluation.
“The Nets lost consecutive road games last week to the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz by 39 and 35 points, respectively, sparking concern within the organization about whether Hollins’ message is getting through. It’s just the fifth time in NBA history that a team has lost back-to-back games by 35 points or more. Nets ownership, sources said, is monitoring the situation closely, with Brooklyn having just fallen out of the East’s top eight after a 2-10 slide that coincides with the franchise being up for sale.”
Hollins is in the first year of a four year, $20 million contract.
UPDATE, 7:38 PM: The Daily News’ Stefan Bondy say a source told him the ESPN report is “completely untrue.”
SI.com’s Chris Mannix also says multiple sources told him the Nets are not considering firing Hollins.
As many readers know, I haven’t been a big fan of the way Hollins has handled the club. To me, his old school tendencies ring hollow in the modern NBA, and I think his handling of certain players has made some in the Nets’ front office to take pause. There’s no doubt that his players haven’t performed up to standard, and that’s partially on the guys that wear the uniform. But how much of should fall on system and the motivation (or lack thereof) of the head coach?
Brooklyn has a tough decision to make, because the only way they can turn this club around in the foreseeable future is to pare down their payroll and import some talent. Part of that is signing free agents (provided they clear the cap room to do so) and a large factor in bringing in stars in having a coach they’re excited to play for. The Nets need to decide right now if Hollins is a detriment and, if so, act quickly to amend the situation before they get in too deep.
Nets game snowed out on Monday
Monday’s scheduled Nets game against the Trail Blazers at Barclays Center has been postponed.
The game will be played April 6.
The Nets and Hornets have resumed their trade talks, but there has been a change in cast.
Brooklyn is once again talking to Charlotte about Lance Stephenson, but under this scenario, the Nets would surrender Joe Johnson. (Wojnarowski, Jan 25)
According to Yahoo Sports, the two teams are discussing a larger package that would likely include Stephenson, Gerald Henderson and Marvin Williams.
This is intriguing. I love Joe, but his contract is crazy. And now that he’s started to show signs of physically slowing down
, it might be a great opportunity to shed his contract. After all, that’s the only way the Nets are going to get lean and rebuild this thing without a stockpile of draft picks,
I do think Lance is a good fit in Brooklyn, regardless of any concerns that may exist. And if the team can shed Johnson’s contract, anything they can get from Stephenson on the court is gravy.
As the Nets struggle to tread water, Joe Johnson has been playing hurt.
Johnson told Newsday’s Rod Boone that he has been playing with tendinitis in both his left ankle and his right knee.
“I’ve just got tendinitis real bad in my right knee and in my left ankle,” Johnson said after Saturday’s 108-73 loss to Utah, when Johnson had six points in 29 minutes. “I’ve been playing with both of them, and been pretty banged up for probably about the past month and a half or so. We don’t have time to have guys sit and rest, like some other teams do. We just don’t have the roster for that, so I just have to play through it.”
Johnson, 33, has failed to reach double figures in four of his past six games and hasn’t scored 20 since Dec. 30 against the Bulls. He’s averaged 13.1 points in 13 games this month and 10 points in his past six games.
Johnson has been hesitant to talk about this on the record with anyone, but it’s been obvious to reporters who see him every day and even fans who only get to see him on television that something is wrong. Joe has been playing big minutes (he’s averaging 35.5 per game overall, 36.7 in January) in a desperate attempt to keep Brooklyn afloat in the absence of Deron Williams.
I give Johnson a ton of credit. He’s really done all he can to try to help the Nets turn it around. But with Brooklyn now on the outside looking in of the playoff picture and little hope in sight, it might be time for him to shut it down.
Result: The Jazz dominated the second quarter as the Nets ended their three-game road trip with their second blowout loss in a row.
Need to Know: The Nets lost by more than 30 for the second game in a row and fell to ninth in the Eastern Conference, behind surging Charlotte, which has won nine of 11.
The Jazz broke it open in the second quarter, outscoring the Nets 33-16. Utah shot 60.7 percent in the first half, 66.7 from three. The Jazz finished 53.4 percent from the field.
Gordon Hayward led Utah with 24 points. . .The Jazz outrebounded the Nets 42-29, led by Rudy Gobert (11).
Jarrett Jack led the Nets with 16 points on 5-for-4 shooting. Joe Johnson was held to six points in 28 minutes and has gone 13 games without scoring more than 20.
Links: Box Score
What’s Next: The Nets return home to host Portland Monday (7:30 p.m.)