Brooklyn Boro

Winds of change continue to blow for Nets

Struggling Franchise Could Be on the Verge of Major Changes

January 27, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Lionel Hollins could be out of Brooklyn soon if the Nets don't stop getting embarrassed on the court. Associated Press photo
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The Brooklyn Nets may be on the verge of cleaning house, or at least re-renovating, as their third season here in our fair borough continues to produce disappointing results.

Coming off back-to-back losses in Los Angeles and Utah by a combined 74 points, Brooklyn received a brief reprieve from its current 2-10 slide Monday night as its game against visiting Portland at the Barclays Center was postponed and rescheduled for April 6.

Who knows what the Nets (18-26), slated to return to action Wednesday night in Atlanta against the league’s hottest team, will look like by then?

Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has already revealed that he is at least “listening” to offers for the franchise he purchased from Bruce Ratner back in 2010, if not actively looking to unload the team for the current estimated price of $1.5 billion.

Foundation-type players such as Deron Williams, currently out with fractured rib cartilage, Brook Lopez and now even Joe Johnson have heard almost-constant rumblings that they are on their way out of town as soon as general manager Billy King can orchestrate the right deal prior to the Feb. 19 deadline.

Forward Mirza Teletovic was recently diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs that will sideline him for the rest of the season, if not the remainder of his career.

And Lionel Hollins, the Nets’ fourth head coach in their two-plus seasons here in Downtown, is apparently being reevaluated by upper management due to the team’s lack of consistent effort and resilience in the face of adversity.

Suddenly, the Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlesimo and, yes, even the Jason Kidd era isn’t looking so bad by comparison, considering Hollins is in the first season of a recently inked four-year contract.

Despite being just a half-game behind Charlotte for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Nets look more like a team headed for the NBA Draft Lottery, even though they traded the rights to that pick to Atlanta three seasons ago.

Second-year center Mason Plumlee, viewed as one of the few brights spots during this thus-far dismal campaign, made perhaps the most damning statement regarding the Nets’ current state of affairs following Saturday night’s embarrassing 108-73 loss in Utah.

”Collectively, we need to put more into the game effort-wise,” Plumlee admitted. “It’s not really a strategic thing anymore, we just need to give more.”

Effort is the one thing every individual player can control, and for Plumlee to suggest its lacking for the team with the NBA’s highest payroll is an indictment not only of the club’s inability to carry out Hollins’ gameplan, but also speaks to the collective malaise that has infected this squad.

“I’m glad it’s over,” Hollins admitted after the Nets’ worst loss of the season, a 123-84 debacle against the Clippers last Thursday night.

“We just got to keep grinding,” added Johnson, who could be on his way to Charlotte for Brooklyn-born forward Lance Stephenson, according to various print and web reports.

“It’s not pretty right now. It probably won’t be pretty, so we just got to fight through it.”

With 38 regular-season games remaining, the Nets will undoubtedly have to continue fighting to avoid the embarrassment of falling out of the playoff picture all together.

The only question now is, who will be left to forge that fight?

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