EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — What’s been lost in the Carmelo Anthony news is that the New Jersey Nets began training camp on Saturday, holding two-a-day sessions over the weekend. So while we wonder where Anthony is going and how he could possibly face the Denver media on Monday, Avery Johnson‘s trying to get his team focused on basketball.
With a new coaching staff and 13 new players in the gym, every practice is important. There’s a new offense, new defensive principles and new teammates to learn.
Johnson won’t discuss any rumors, so while his team was in the middle of Sunday’s morning session, Nets general manager Billy King answered questions from the media. Unable to talk about any specific players or teams, King didn’t have much to say.
“We’re exploring everything, but there is no deal,” King said.
Multiple reports in the last 24 hours have the reported four-way trade either on hold or falling apart. But King characterized all the news that is out there as “comical.”
“When you’re in the know of any situation and you read or hear, it’s comical where it all goes, and all the different directions,” he said.
Still, it’s very possible that the Nets will begin the season with their current roster. And it sounded like King was preparing for that possibility.
“I’m going to plug away at this and other things to make us better,” King said, “but I’m also going to focus on what’s going on on the court, because what’s going on on the court has been pretty good the last couple of days.”
And when he was asked if he would have the same roster on Monday as he did this morning, King said only, “Could be.”
Johnson admitted that this is not the ideal way to start training camp.
“That’s the thing about coaching and playing,” the coach said. “You’ve got to be able to adjust. Things happen. Guys get phone calls.”
Devin Harris has dealt with trade rumors before. The trade that brought him to New Jersey from Dallas went back and forth for several days before it became finalized.
Derrick Favors, however, is just 19 years old, having yet to play a minute of NBA basketball. So he’s going into every practice wondering if it will be his last with the Nets. Johnson said he spoke to the rookie before practice and that Favors is “in the right frame of mind.”
Fifteen-year veteran Joe Smith is here to advise the rookie, but says that Favors “hasn’t said anything about it.”
“These guys are being professional about it,” Smith said of his new team. “There hasn’t been too much talk in our locker room.”
Brook Lopez apparently isn’t checking twitter and the web for the latest.
“I, for one, have no idea what’s going on,” Lopez said.