A Chinese website reported Andray Blatche is headed to China to play for the Xinjiang Flying Dragons (NetsDaily, Sept. 20)
Blatche opted out of his contract with the Nets in July and was unable to land with another NBA team. Blatche’s move is “a done deal,” according to a Nets Daily source. Blatche didn’t attract strong interest despite his FIBA World Cup performance for the Phillippines. He averaged 21.2 points (second-best in the event) and tournament-best 13.8 rebounds.
Blatche’s Nets tenure was marked by controversy. A woman claimed she was sexually assaulted by Blatche’s friends in his hotel room, but she said Blatche was not involved and he was not charged. Blatche took a “personal leave” from the Nets last December said to be tied to conditioning and lifestyle.
The Nets announced on Friday that the team has voided the contract of Hamady Ndiaye.
Ndiaye failed the required physical, according to the team, where they found an elbow injury that needs two-to-four weeks of rest (Wojanrowski).
The Nets signed the seven footer to a training camp deal on September 17.
That was quick! I actually thought Ndiaye was a nice depth signing, but there’s no point in having a player for depth if he can’t pass a routine physical. No word yet on why he failed, but it is worth nothing that he was waived by the Delaware 87ers (the Sixers D-League affiliate) back in March due to a season-ending injury. Maybe Ndiaye’s body wasn’t fully healed. If that’s the case, the Nets probably avoided a minor headache.
UPDATE: I can understand the Nets thinking here. If Ndiaye was going to miss up to four weeks, he would have had to miss camp. According to Woj, the Nets want him to compete for the third center spot, so there wouldn’t have been a point to staying in the contract.
Deron Williams doesn’t mind that the expectations for his club have been tempered.
Williams told reporters earlier this week that he’s fine with pundits taking a wait-and-see approach to a Nets roster that has undergone some change.
“It’s good. I think that’s good,” Deron Williams said Monday when asked if lower expectations are motivating him and his teammates. “We’re flying under the radar. We’ve got a lot of work to do. When you get between the lines, anything can happen, so it’s our job to get better, gel as a team over training camp an the first month, and be ready to go in November.”
Last season, it seemed like the weight on the championship dreams along with meshing under a rookie head coach were just too much for this club. Even when the Nets hit their stride, it always felt like they were trying to live up to a standard that had been built up in fans’ minds since July. Now, the Nets certainly don’t have that problem. Between the skepticism surrounding Brook Lopez’s foot, the loss of Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston, and the perceived-decline of Williams, Brooklyn has been pegged as a bubble team this year. I know the us-against-the-world mentality seems trite in sports, but it works. At times, the Nets have seemed like a team that lacked an edge, and I think the prediction of their demise will be a good motivation tool for Lionel Hollins to have at his disposal. It may amount to nothing, but there’s still a lot of talent on this club, and I don’t think you can dismiss them in the least.
The Nets have signed center Hamady Ndiaye, the team announced.
In 14 games with Sacramento last season, Ndiaye totaled six points, 18 rebounds and four blocks in 74 minutes of play.
Ndiaye also played two games last season with the NBA Development League’s Reno Bighorns on assignment from the Kings, and after being waived by Sacramento in January, the 7’0” center spent 15 games with the D-League’s Delaware 87ers.
From the Nets:
Selected out of Rutgers with the 56th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Ndiaye was traded to the Washington Wizards on draft night. He played in 16 games for the Wizards in his rookie season in 2010-11, averaging 0.9 points, 0.4 rebounds and 0.3 blocks in 5.0 minutes per game. Ndiaye also appeared in three games for Washington during the 2011-12 season. In 33 career NBA games, Ndiaye has averaged 0.6 points, 0.8 rebounds and 0.3 blocks in 4.8 minutes per game. Over the course of his professional career, Ndiaye has also played in the NBA D-League with the Dakota Wizards (2010-11), Iowa Energy (2011-12) and Maine Red Claws (2011-12), as well as overseas with Guangzhou Liu Sui Whampoa of China’s National Basketball League (2012) and Tianjin Ronggang of the Chinese Basketball Association (2012-13).
The Nets had their troubles rebounding last year. They were 27th and 28th in offensive and defensive rebound percentage respectively, and consistently got outplayed down low. Bringing in Ndiaye on a camp deal is a good gamble. He’s a player that can be a presence down low, and has the ability to block shots and allow the Nets forwards to operate with a little more room. Overall, I like it as a depth signing.
Andrei Kirilenko was the offseason coup that was supposed to push the Nets over the top last season, but somehow, Jason Kidd found a way to botch that. Now, AK-47 is recharged and ready for 2014-15, leaving Nets fans to ask if Lionel Hollins can utilize Kirilenko is a way that makes him a difference maker for Brooklyn.
We all know the frustration Kirilenko had under the Nets former head coach. Kirilenko’s wife took to Instagram to vent her frustrations after Kirilenko did not play a single minute in the Nets’ Game 1 win over the Raptors. Then Kirilenko seemingly criticized Kidd for bolting for Milwaukee, only to backtrack. It was the logical conclusion to what amounted to a confusing season for Kirilenko, one that I found particularly frustrating to watch play itself out.
Granted, Kirilenko missed 25 consecutive games that spanned the majority of November and December due to back spasms, so I get the hesitation to push Kirilenko too hard. But the Nets were 28-13 upon Kirilenko’s extended absence. Overall, the Nets were 31-14 in games where Kirilenko made an appearance. His presence was an obvious difference maker, so why the fluctuation in playing time when the Nets got to the playoffs? Why could you never predict when Kirilenko would enter the game and for how long? As a fan, all I wanted was a little consistency, and it seems that’s all Andrei wanted as well.
Stefan Bondy noted that Kirilenko told him he doesn’t care whether he starts or comes off the bench this season, just as long as he gets more consistent minutes.
“If the coach wants me in the starting lineup, he’s going to put me in the starting lineup,” Kirilenko said of his new coach earlier this week. “If [Lionel] wants me to come of the bench, I will come off the bench. I’ve never had a problem to be the guy who’s worried about the position.”
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Brian ErniStarting at power forward… number two… Kevin Garnett!
Lionel Hollins confirmed at Deron Williams’ charity dodgeball game on Monday that the future Hall of Famer will start at the four to begin the season for Brooklyn. But Nets fans are left to wonder: is he the right choice?
It at least makes this Nets fan take pause. Why? Mostly because last season, Garnett looked a bit disjointed in his stint as starting power forward. Granted, the entire team looked out of sync, and KG was suffering from an out-of-character and unsustainably-low field goal conversion rate. My head knows that’s nothing but a small sample size during a stretch of the season where the team was playing its worst basketball. Still, it makes me think.
We’ve talked about Mason Plumlee’s chances to fill that role, especially coming off a big summer that saw the former first round pick emerge on the radar of Team USA basketball. That’s an idea I’m very bullish on. But even I have to concede that would be a huge leap for Plumlee, going from draft pick to garage-time filler to starting center to starting power forward all in a year’s time. That’s a lot of movement, and Hollins seems to prefer to lean on experience.
“He’s earned that right,” Hollins said of Garnett’s positioning atop the power forward depth chart. “If he’s healthy, and producing, he’s going to play. How many minutes? I don’t know, but he is not going to play 15 or 16 minutes. I can guarantee you that.”
That brings up another issue, one Jason Kidd wasn’t particularly forthcoming with last season: Garnett’s minutes. KG ended up at an average of 20.5 minutes per game over the course of 54 contests, but it’s a number that dropped steadily during the season. Garnett averaged 22.8 minutes in November, 19.7 in December, then back up to 22.4 in January. After that? Just under 18 (17.9) in February, missed all of March with back spasms, and 16.4 in April. Even though Garnett went back up to 20.8 for the postseason, it’s obvious Kidd made a concentrated effort to easy him toward the finish line in the second half. Can a younger Nets team absorb that kind of flux later in the season?
Don’t get me wrong, this is still a veteran team, but it’s going to have to rely more on younger and inexperienced NBA players to get the job done. Would it be better to build a system that doesn’t rely on a player that isn’t guaranteed to play more than 20 minutes a game? Would a second unit that includes Garnett benefit from that steady veteran hand, which would allow Plumlee gets thrown into a sink-or-swim mentality with Williams, Brook Lopez, and Joe Johnson? I think all of the above might be true.
It’s all been rendered moot now with Hollins’ declaration on Monday, but it will certainly be an interesting scenario to watch play itself out during camp and into late October.
Lionel Hollins said Monday that Kevin Garnett will start at power forward this season (Bondy, September 15).
While Garnett has not yet officially announced that he’ll be returning, Hollins has apparently heard all that he needs.
Said Hollins about Garnett heading into the 2014-15 campaign:
“There’s nobody in the gym I’d put in his place,” the head coach said.
Garnett, 38, averaged 6.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game during the 2013-14 season, while averaging a career-low 20.5 minutes per game.