Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey Nets’

Rose Garden One Of Last Stadiums To Get The Corporate-Naming Touch

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HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – And then there were three.

Only three of the NBA’s 30 arenas do not bear a corporate name: Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks; The Palace of Auburn Hills, home to the Detroit Pistons; and New Orleans Arena, home of the rebranded Pelicans.

Truth be told, that number will soon shrink to two if the Pelicans can find a willing corporate partner.

Last year’s renaming of Milwaukee’s Bradley Center to BMO (Harris Bank) Bradley Center dropped us to four. And Tuesday’s announcement in Portland that the awesomely named Rose Garden Arena — affectionately called simply the Rose Garden — is now the antiseptic Moda Center, made it a lonely three. The deal with Moda Health, a regional health and dental insurance provider, reportedly is for 10 years and $40 million, or $4 million a year, or about $1.4 million less than backup guard Mo Williams will earn the next two seasons.

The Trail Blazers called The Rose Garden Home since 1995, and although team president and CEO Chris McGowan surmised: “The Rose Garden put us on the map, the Moda Center’s going to take us into the future,” Blazers fans seem to have an affinity for roses.

The sudden death of The Rose Garden made us nostalgic for the good ol’ days when an arena name meant something, by gosh, or at least sounded like it did. Gone are The Omni, The MECCA, The Spectrum, The Summit and The “Fabulous” Forum, among others.

Lost are the coliseums like the Coliseum at Richfield — or as I remember it, “Richfield Colisuem” — and the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Which leads to another bygone era of patriotism in arena/stadium naming such as Phoenix’s old barn and Portland’s Rose Garden predecessor, Memorial Coliseum.

And forget about naming an arena after the great metropolis in which it sits. Once New Orleans finds a deal (assuming it can), the mighty Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills will stand alone.

We’re left with a hodgepodge of cold, corporate neon signs on big buildings. It’s difficult enough to keep track of player movement, let alone which stodgy bank or hot company du jour has its name on which arena this week.

Some of these companies seem to come and go with every Wall Street ebb and flow. Quick, name the Philadelphia 76ers’ home arena … For 27 years they suited up at The Spectrum. In the 17 years since moving into a new arena, the place has gone by four corporate names. If you said Wells Fargo Center, congratulations. If you said CoreStates Center, First Union Center or Wachovia Center, please catch up.

It’s hard to believe we’re a solid two decades into naming-rights deals with the late, great Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss really ushering in the era 25 years ago when he signed a deal with Great Western Savings and Loan, changing the Forum to Great Western Forum. The genius behind it is there was little backlash because so few people outside California recognized Great Western as a bank, it almost seemed like a natural name change for a venue that had grown famous for its basketball, boxing and concerts.

The Chicago Bulls weren’t too far behind, going corporate in 1994 with their move into the cavernous United Center and the great Celtics ditched the Boston Garden a year later for something called the FleetCenter. Yes, Fleet specializes in enemas, but this Fleet was actually a Boston-based bank. Of course, once Fleet was sold to Bank of America, the arena name had to be flushed.

In the name of nostalgia, what follows is a history of arena names for each of today’s 30 NBA teams (via basketball-reference.com):

Atlanta Hawks

Alexander Memorial Coliseum (1968-72); Omni Coliseum (1972-97); Georgia Dome (1997-99); Philips Arena (99-present)

Boston Celtics

Boston Garden (1947-95); FleetCenter (1995-2005); TD Banknorth Garden (2005-09); TD Garden (2009-present)

Brooklyn Nets 

Barclays Center (2012-present);
As the New Jersey Nets: Rutgers Athletic Center (1978-81); Brendan Byrne Arena (1981-96); Continental Airlines Arena (1996-2007); Izod Center (2007-10), Prudential Center (2010-12)

Charlotte Bobcats

Charlotte Coliseum (2004-05); Charlotte Bobcats Arena (2005-08); Time Warner Cable Arena (08-present)

Chicago Bulls

International Amphitheater (1966-67); Chicago Stadium (1967-94); United Center (1994-present)

Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Arena (1971-74); Coliseum at Richfield (1974-94); Gund Arena (1994-2005); Quicken Loans Arena (2006-present)

Dallas Mavericks

Reunion Arena (1980-2001); American Airlines Center (2001-present)

Denver Nuggets 

Denver Auditorium (1974-75); McNichols Sports Arena (1975-99); Pepsi Center (1999-present)

Detroit Pistons

Detroit Olympia (1957-61); Cobo Arena (1961-78); Pontiac Silverdome (1978-88); The Palace of Auburn Hills (1988-present)

Golden State Warriors

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena (1972-96); San Jose Arena (1996-97 while Oakland arena renovated); The Arena in Oakland (1997-2004); Oakland Arena (2004-06); Oracle Arena (2006-present)

Houston Rockets

Hofheinz Pavilion (1971-75); The Summit (1975-98); Compaq Center (1998-2004); Toyota Center (2004-present)

Indiana Pacers

Indiana State Fair Coliseum (1967-74); Market Square Arena (1974-99); Conseco Fieldhouse (1999-2011); Bankers Life Fieldhouse (2011-present)

Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena (1985-99); STAPLES Center (1999-present)

Los Angeles Lakers 

Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena (1961-67); The Forum (1967-88); Great Western Forum (1988-99); STAPLES Center (1999-present)

Memphis Grizzlies

Pyramid Arena (2001-04); FedExForum (2004-present)

Miami Heat

Miami Arena (1989-99); American Airlines Arena (1999-present)

Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee Arena (1968-74); The MECCA (1974-88); Bradley Center (1988-2012); BMO Bradley Center (2012-present)

Minnesota Timberwolves

Metrodome (1989-90); Target Center (1990-present)

New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans

New Orleans Arena (2002-present)

New York Knicks

Madison Square Garden (1947-present)

Oklahoma City Thunder

Ford Center (2008-09); Oklahoma City Arena (2009-10); Chesapeake Energy Arena (2010-present)

Orlando Magic

Orlando Arena (1989-99); TD Waterhouse Centre (1999-2006); Amway Arena (2006-present)

Philadelphia 76ers

Convention Hall (1963-67); The Spectrum (1967-94); CoreStates Spectrum (1994-96); CoreStates Center (1996-98); First Union Center (1998-2003); Wachovia Center (2003-10); Wells Fargo Center (2010-present)

Phoenix Suns

Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum (1969-92); America West Arena (1992-2007); US Airways Center (2007-present)

Portland Trail Blazers

Memorial Coliseum (1971-95); Rose Garden Arena (1995-2013); Moda Center (as of Tuesday)

Sacramento Kings

ARCO Arena (1985-09); Power Balance Pavilion (2009-12); Sleep Train Arena (2012-present)

San Antonio Spurs

HemisFair Arena (1973-93); Alamodome (1993-2002); SBC Center (2002-06); AT&T Center (2006-present)

Toronto Raptors

SkyDome (1995-98); Air Canada Centre (1998-present)

Utah Jazz

Salt Palace (1979-91); Delta Center (1991-06); EnergySolutions Arena (2006-present)

Washington Bullets/Wizards

Capital Centre (1974-93); US Airways Centre (1993-97); MCI Center (1997-2006); Verizon Center (2006-present)

Courageous Collins Breaks Barrier


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Jason Collins displayed his courage routinely as a big man whose specialty was fighting for space under the rim against the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard. So the journeyman center, who played for both the Celtics and Wizards this season, had nothing to prove to me, you or anyone else when it comes to courageousness.

Jason Collins played for both the Celtics and Wizards last year, his 12th season in the NBA (Brian Babineau/NBAE)

Jason Collins played for both the Celtics and Wizards last year, his 12th season in the NBA (Brian Babineau/NBAE)

Yet Monday, he showed an entirely different type of bravery when he came out as the first openly gay athlete in a major American sport.

“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

Those 12 words he wrote in a piece for Sports Illustrated will not only change the course his life but the lives of his friends, family, teammates and coaches (past, current and perhaps future). They will change everyone else involved with the NBA. Now that this barrier has been broken, Collins will forever be linked to this groundbreaking moment and what comes after.

I cannot think of a man better equipped to deal with this new reality. Collins always has been regarded as the ultimate professional, one of the smartest players of his generation and a teammate willing to give it all up for his team. No one spends 12 years getting cracked in the face by the sharp elbows of some of the best big men in NBA history without being willing and able to withstand some pressure.

Collins  always has been one of my favorite players to talk to about basketball and beyond. Catch him in the locker room before a game and bring up almost any topic and he could educate you on a thing or two.

So for every person who has an issue with Collins coming out — and there are sure to be plenty of them — there will be just as many who support him and have his back, folks who commend him for his courage and his refusal to fear the foolish reactions of some.

When you have as many friends in high places as Collins does …

… support should not be a problem.

“As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”

Collins is a wealthy Stanford graduate with options galore  and seemingly no need to share his truth with the judging masses. Yet he does, unflinchingly. Collins explaining himself is refreshingly honest:

Why am I coming out now? Well, I started thinking about this in 2011 during the NBA player lockout. I’m a creature of routine. When the regular season ends I immediately dedicate myself to getting game ready for the opener of the next campaign in the fall. But the lockout wreaked havoc on my habits and forced me to confront who I really am and what I really want. With the season delayed, I trained and worked out. But I lacked the distraction that basketball had always provided.

The first relative I came out to was my aunt Teri, a superior court judge in San Francisco. Her reaction surprised me. “I’ve known you were gay for years,” she said. From that moment on I was comfortable in my own skin. In her presence I ignored my censor button for the first time. She gave me support. The relief I felt was a sweet release. Imagine you’re in the oven, baking. Some of us know and accept our sexuality right away and some need more time to cook. I should know — I baked for 33 years.

When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.

I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, “Me, too.”

It takes a brilliant mind to articulate thoughts as meticulously and honestly as Collins has here. It takes an understanding of who and what you are, at your core, to do this knowing that there are so many people still willing to give into the prejudice that is sure to come.

It takes true courage to do this without worrying about the repercussions. And courage is something Collins has in surplus, both as a basketball player and as a man.

He wants to march for tolerance and acceptance and understanding. He wants to take a stand.

I’d march with him any time. I’d stand with him.

Good Night, New Jersey





NEWARK – The Nets played their final game in New Jersey on Monday.

So … whoop-de-damn-doo?

It’s been an eventful, but not so successful 36 years (one as part of the ABA, the last 35 in the NBA) of Nets basketball in the Garden State. Only 12 winning seasons and 16 trips to the playoffs. More disappointments than successes. And no championships, of course. Their ABA titles came on Long Island.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie says “good riddance.” And given the Nets’ attendance over the last several years, you’d assume that they won’t be missed much.

But among the 9 million Jersey residents, there’s still a pocket of passionate Nets fans. And among those 36 years of Nets basketball in the state, there are plenty of great memories.

Those fans and those memories came together Monday, as the Nets sold out the Prudential Center and celebrated their New Jersey history by bringing back several retired players for a halftime ceremony.

(more…)

Nets’ Brooklyn Dream Is A Reality

BROOKLYN – It’s been eight years since Bruce Ratner bought the New Jersey Nets with plans to move them to Brooklyn. Eight years of lame-duck status in the Garden State, with the last few being particularly ugly in terms of the basketball product.

But now, the Nets have just four more games in the state they’ve called home for the last 35 seasons. At the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, Barclays Center will be completed in September.

On Tuesday, with Ratner at his side, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov toured his new arena for the first time in over a year. And then met with the media, saying “I’m sure it will be the best arena in the world.”

There’s no question that the move to Brooklyn will usher in a brand new era for the Nets. But there are plenty of questions regarding the players who will wear “Brooklyn” on their chest. And the questions start with point guard Deron Williams, who has promised to exercise the early termination option in his contract and become a free agent this summer. Prokhorov said he met with Williams on Monday.

“We have, I think, a very good discussion,” Prokhorov said. “He really wants to win. And I want to win maybe even more.

“I think [at] this stage, we’re on the same page.”

The question is how quickly the Nets can become a winning team in Brooklyn. When he bought the team in 2010, Prokhorov promised Nets fans a championship within five years. And after a fifth straight season out of the playoffs, a title doesn’t seem to be the horizon.

“The Nets, like the arena, is still under construction, still in the building stage,” Prokhorov said. “And I will keep my prediction on the championship. So I’ll do my best, together with my friends, together with my partners, and we will make the Brooklyn Nets the champion of the NBA. I am very committed to this.”

If Dwight Howard didn’t change his mind that one last time before the trade deadline, the Nets’ future might be a lot brighter. And despite Howard’s decision, Prokhorov made it sound like he still wants to go the superstar route in building his team, saying, “I think every owner wants to have a great player.”

“We need to be really, very patient, because it is easy to have a good team, a playoff team,” he said. “And it’s very difficult to make a championship team. So we need to be very patient. We need to go slow, step by step, to find the best pieces for the team.”

That doesn’t mean that this year didn’t bring some promise. Prokhorov mentioned young players MarShon Brooks and Gerald Green, as well as the addition of Gerald Wallace, as keys going forward.

“Now we are slowly coming to the more or less adequate situation,” Prokhorov said. “And of course, if it hadn’t been for the crazy injuries this year, I’m sure we would have been in the playoffs. That’s for sure.”

 

Nets Pick Up Pieces Left Behind By Dwight



ORLANDO – It was a schedule-maker’s cruel idea, putting the Nets in Orlando the day after Dwight Howard officially broke their hearts. But there they were, unloading themselves from the team bus for the morning practice, stepping inside Amway Center feeling a bit emptier, and certainly in no hurry to see Howard on the home bench later in the evening.

“We’ll survive,” said Nets coach Avery Johnson.

Had Dwight had a change of heart for the 4,576th time Thursday and refused to return to Orlando for at least one more year, the scene at the Amway Center would be totally different. The building, not even two years old yet, would resemble … well, Prudential Center in Newark, the soon-to-be vacated home of the Nets. Without Dwight, the energy surely would’ve been sucked from a team that’s sitting in third place in the East, and a franchise that’s one of the best-run in the NBA.

Basically, the Magic would’ve turned into the Nets.

One player made all the difference. (more…)

Nets Get Wallace From Blazers

NBA.com Staff Reports



Dwight Howard waiving his early termination option took him off the trade market and out of the free-agency pool for 2011-12. That put a kink in the rebuilding plans for New Jersey, which was on Howard’s preseason draft “wish list”.

The Nets didn’t leave trade deadline day empty handed though, as they swung a deal for Gerald Wallace from the Blazers, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo!Sports:

The Portland Trail Blazers have agreed in principle to trade Gerald Wallace to the New Jersey Nets for Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams and a protected first-round pick, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

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Dwight Will Stay … For Now Anyway




HANG TIME ORLANDO BUREAU — OK, it’s over. Move along. Nothing more to see here.

Dwight Howard went from being the face of the trade deadline to being an innocent bystander. He signed away his Early Termination Option, meaning he’ll be with the Magic at least until the summer of 2013 (at a cost to Orlando of $19.4 million). It ended a weird week in which Howard changed his mind several times, before giving the Magic at least one more chance to convince him to sign long-term.

Howard initially was only open to staying with the Magic this season, saying the team had to “roll the dice” on him this summer. And that was an upgrade over his stance at the start of the season, when he gave the Magic a list of three teams — Mavericks, Nets and Lakers — to trade him to. In truth, Howard was always cool to the idea of signing with the Lakers, and was only interested in the Nets and hooking up with Deron Williams, also a free agent this summer.

In a sense, by only guaranteeing one more year in Orlando, the Dwama will start all over again this summer. Until Howard inks a long-term deal, there’s always a chance of him leaving the Magic. But by signing the ETO, Howard has left the door open for an extension. It’s the surest sign that he can see himself in Orlando for the immediate future, if not the rest of his career.

(more…)

Magic Waiting On Dwight’s Signature





The Orlando Magic are now “expecting to get” a signed “opt in” amendment from Dwight Howard and his agent this morning that will keep the All-Star center in Orlando for the 2012-13 season, according to two sources.

Howard told RealGM.com early Thursday morning that he had, for the third time in less than 24 hours, changed his mind and now wanted to opt in for 2012-13, which would take him off of the free-agent market. Howard has been expected for the better part of a year to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Magic and become a free agent, allowing him to sign with the New Jersey Nets, long believed to be his preferred team, where he could play with fellow All-Star Deron Williams. At the least, Howard had officially asked to be traded from Orlando to one of three destinations — New Jersey, the Lakers or Dallas — and the Magic have been in trade discussions with those and several other teams for weeks.

On Wednesday, Howard had initially told teammates in San Antonio following the Magic’s shootaround there that he had changed his mind and planned to opt in and stay in Orlando next season, which would give the Magic a year to surround Howard with players good enough to compete with Miami and Chicago in the Eastern Conference.

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Blogtable: Is Dwight Staying Or Going?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Who will Dwight Howard be playing for after Thursday’s deadline? And why do you think so?

Steve Aschburner: Orlando. Why? The Magic don’t want to lose him, now or later, and haven’t been wowed by the offers to do a deal now. Owner Rick De Vos would prefer that Howard re-up with his team now and for the rest of his career, and any chance of making that happen ends the moment Dwight gets traded. His passive-aggressive statement Tuesday about wanting to stay for the rest of this season – likely intended only to stop his destination team (Brooklyn?) from gutting itself the way the Knicks did for Carmelo Anthony – still fuels some false hopes in central Florida.

Fran Blinebury: Orlando.  In the absence of a Pau Gasol-Andrew Bynum package from the Lakers, I believe the Magic front office will look at what is available in trade from the likes of New Jersey or Dallas or Golden State or Houston or whomever and conclude that they’re willing to try to draw to an inside straight by holding onto Howard and convincing him to re-sign over the summer.  It’s a high-risk move, for sure. But with the exception of a Lakers two-fer, everything else merely dooms Orlando to mediocrity.

Scott Howard-Cooper: The Magic have been betting on having Howard for years, not months. They’re prepared to play it through to July and their ability to offer him the most money in the only professional home he has known. (more…)

How Does Lopez Injury Affect Howard?





HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Deron Williams scored an NBA season-high 57 points Sunday night in Charlotte, but the bigger story coming out of the Nets’ win was an injury to Brook Lopez, who would be the centerpiece of a trade for Dwight Howard.

The Nets said Monday that Lopez suffered a sprained right ankle and will be out for three weeks. The bad news is that the trade deadline is in just 10 days, and after playing every single game in his first three seasons, Lopez has suffered two injuries with his team’s sights set on Howard.

The good news is that the injury, though it’s the same foot, is unrelated to the broken bone that forced Lopez to miss the first 32 games of the season. No injuries are good, but this one isn’t too bad.

So does it affect the Nets’ ability to acquire Howard before the deadline? Not really.

Whether or not Howard gets traded still comes down to Magic owner Rich DeVos and president Alex Martins. If they decide in the next 10 days that they can convince Howard to stay in Orlando beyond this season, they’re not going to trade for Lopez, healthy or not.

But if the Magic realize that Howard’s time in Orlando is definitely coming to an end, they have no choice but to make a deal, so that they can get what they can (players, picks and cap relief) for their star. And if Howard and agent Dan Fegan make it clear that Howard will be playing in Brooklyn no matter what next season, the Magic have little choice but to make a deal with the Nets.

Even with Lopez hobbled, the Nets can still offer a decent package. In addition to Lopez (there’s no restriction on trading for an injured player), they have rookie MarShon Brooks, a bevy of first-round picks, and enough expiring contracts to absorb the contract of Hedo Turkoglu (owed at least $17.8 million after this season) or Glen Davis ($19.4 million) in a trade. The ability to offer Orlando salary relief is an asset in itself, one that New Jersey has been sure to maintain as it has struggled through a 12-26 season.

If Orlando decides to keep Howard, the Nets will wait, hoping to sign him as a free agent in July, an option that would allow them to keep Lopez and their other assets. But they’d surely jump at the chance to trade for Howard in the next 10 days.

Lopez’s latest injury shouldn’t really affect that scenario, because the possibility of a trade is really about what the Magic believe regarding Howard’s long-term intentions, and not about Lopez’s short-term health.

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