Sunday, July 26th, 2009 at 11:05 pm  |  38 responses

Nets for Sale, BK in Doubt

by Ben Osborne

Every time we link to another story on the Nets planned move to Brooklyn, I try to chime in with a negative comment, chiding the Nets’ owner for his land-grab of a move, and stating the increasingly obvious, that the Nets should leave the run-down Meadowlands Arena in the shadow of Xanadu, and move to Newark…

I’ve never taken the time to do my own column on the topic, however. Thankfully, Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger did. A day after his colleague, Dave D’Alessandro, wrote the news story about how Ratner is trying to find investors (from Russia) to become part (majority?) owners of the team and then still shepherd them to a borough that doesn’t need them and much of which doesn’t want them, Politi let loose in Saturday’s paper with a calm and reasonable destruction of the Nets’ shady owner, who bought a basketball team for real estate purposes and is watching that investment crumble.

Some highlights:

There is no blueprint for his arena. There is no world-class architect designing the complex. There is no financing in place for the project, and there is still the messy matter of the Court of Appeals hearing that, if lost, would sabotage the entire Atlantic Yards deal once and for all.

Other than that, it’s a great investment.


Ratner never cared about owning a basketball team, and now it has become clear that he cares little about destroying one, either, so long as he finds a way to complete his real estate deal.

Funny, but looking back, it was Alonzo Mourning who recognized his intentions from the very beginning, and the former Nets center was vilified and run out of town for it.

Remember what Mourning said after meeting Ratner?

“I asked him, ‘Other than your investment for financial purposes, what’s the reason you bought this team?’ And you can ask anybody in there: He said, ‘To move it to Brooklyn.’ I didn’t hear ‘To win a championship.’ I didn’t hear that come out of his mouth.”

To think, the Nets were a few victories away from that championship when Ratner bought them, and six years later, the idea is laughable now. Look at what they have become.

The star-free roster. The bottom-barrel payroll passed off as cap space when it is really just the remains of a fire sale. The team is even removing the “New Jersey” from the road uniforms, as if it could possibly insult fans more. But hey, plenty of season tickets are available.

As a former Net fan, I say the whole thing is pretty sad. As a member of the basketball media, I say I wish I could have written such a perfect piece. And as a former resident of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn and a current resident of Essex County, NJ, I’ll pre-empt my usual trip to the comment section on this one; just move to Newark!!!

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  • sheanvic


  • J.C.

    negative comment

  • D12FSU

    LeBrons gonna buy them and be a player/owner/coach….

  • bbaby

    One of the best articles I’ve read in a while. Y’all definitely know how to shed light on things that really need the spotlight.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Yeah, but Xanadu’s gonna be awesome.

  • Joe

    Jay Z will rush-record some more albums to make them some money.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Burger King is in doubt?!

  • Wesley-David

    I’ve been a nets fan for along time and coming from a small town in north jersey we don’t have much the nets devils a few minor league baseball teams and two nfl franchise that play there but we can’t even have one of our own ha they need to keep it real ny don’t need another team for one and there isn’t much in pro sports that hold us down and before building a new stadium how about building a roster the nets just need to get some freshness back.

  • NJ4Life

    Politi did an excellent job voicing the feelings of Nets fans and NJ/BK. When you have an owner who comes in and dismantles a contender, than tries to sell the fans on a team he’s trying to take away from them, you know it’s doomed from the start. I mean, as much as IZOD is a piece of you-know-what, it’s still NJ. And that’s what important to the Nets fans that haven’t been alienated by Ratner. I, as much as anyone else, am embarrassed that my team has been sunk back to pre-kidd form. And as far as the free agent game, all the Nets fans I know would rather the team play in NJ and never win a ring, then go to BK and sign LBJ. Let’s get this team to Newark, asap.

  • g

    bk is brooklyn lol

  • Wesley-David

    PS: as much as I love VC it was time for him to bounce I want a rebuild they need to bomb and get a top 5 pick oh yea and c-lee is gonna do work orlando’s loss

  • http://slamonline.com Negetivekreep

    Great article, Sad to see all the Nets talent shipped across the league, helping quite a few teams inch toward finals aspirations, leaving the fans in NJ with nothing to cheer about. Being from the west coast the thought of a team in History and culturally rich Brooklyn is cool. But the reality of the situation ain’t looking all that great.And it really sucks when loyal fans who’ve stuck it out and supported a franchise lose “their team”.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Well, as sh*tty as this all is, imagine how the Bobcats must feel. Their owner scheduled the last 7/10 games on the road for the ‘Cats, so he could rent out the stadium… for his daughter’s horse jumping show!
    The cats were a game above the 8th placed playoff team at that stage… and finished 2 or 3 games out of the playoffs.
    And where the hell is Newark? Never heard of it except for ‘move to Newark!’ all the time haha.

  • Hubert

    Just move to Newark! Hi Ben

  • chintao

    Hursty needs a Redman album in his collection. Brick City is the largest metropolitan area just across the river from NYC. It was wonce a vibrant industrial town. Now, it’s a struggling urban environment looking to attract or develop new business and fighting to emerge from decades of neglect, corruption, and mismanagement. The Nets currently inhabit an arena that is in the middle of a suburban swampland. Honestly, Newark and the Nets probably need each other right now. Combining hard work and optimism with the unique gifts and needs of each, the team and the town might be able to help one another significantly. Initially, I was enthusiastic about the Nets being in Brooklyn, but I can’t say the same now. In fact, I am convinced that it will be a disaster for all concerned if the team ends up there.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Apparently I do Chintao. I just figured there was NYC and NJ. Google would’ve helped too.

  • Bobbo

    Imaginary conversation, July 2010.

    Lebron: “Hey DWade, I was thinking maybe signing with the Nets who are moving to NEWARK! Man, I have always wanted to play in NEWARK!!!

    DWade: “Yeah, screw this Miami sun and fun. I’m going to NEWARK! I can remember growing up and thinking If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.

    Lebron: “So it’s a done deal. See you in NEWARK.”

    DWade: “Oh yeah and dont forget to pack some heat (laughter)”

    The naivete, ignorance and bias in this one thread is staggering.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    LMAO @ Bobbo. BAHAHAHAHA!!

  • Danny W UK

    I love Burger King’s Burgers, but don’t really feel their fries. For fries I prefer Maccy D’s. Is it the same in the States?

  • Danny W UK

    Oh wait sorry, Basketball? Didn’t Vince switch off the lights and lock up when he left?

  • http://slamonline.com Alan Paul

    Nice job Ben. Amen.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Free Devin Harris!

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    I’m a Nets fan, and being a dutchman, I’m proud that for some reason I still am a fan. Because there’s no reason for me to be fan of this ball club when you see what’s happening. To whom it may concern: within a few days Glen Davis will be a Net. Not sure if that is a good thing. Move to Newark. Apparently, there are some fans there that would love to see the Nets coming.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Double R

    People get on Mark Cuban because of how hands-on he is with his team but at least he cares whether they win or lose. If I was a player I’d take that over someone who only owns the team for investment purposes any day

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Ben, I really like your take on this. It’s amazing that I grew up down the road from the Brendan Byrne arena and never could get completley on board as a fan of the team. Sure, I always had a soft spot in my heart for the likes of Mike Gminiski, Mike O’Korean, Michael Ray Richardson, Kenny Anderson, DC & Drazen but they were always run so hapharardly that they were hard to be taken seriously 20 years ago, let alone today. It was nice to see their back to back Finals appearances and the promise of the team of the future on a SLAM cover so many years ago…..but to think that hoping a team would relocate to Newark someday…….anyday……is just amazing to me. i know things have changed for the better over the years, but as someone who had family that were part of the Newark riots back in the day….that stigma doesn’t seem like it will ever go away.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy


  • Exile

    Sucks to be a Nets fan right now. My condolences…. cause even though I was never a fan… No-one wants to see a team managed like the Indians in Major League…

  • Exile

    Seriously… can Harris be the “Wild Thing?” He’d have to work on his haircut…..

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Eboy, check out the Rock and you won’t be so amazed. Awesome arena.

  • DW24

    Living in Newark for 2 years I have to say I love that city but maybe it’s just me but I still see slot of promise in Newark and I think the Nets could help that city. Devon Harris, Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams, Insert PF here, and Brook Lopez is a good young high talent line up. Give them a couple years and people will line up for them. Go to Newark.

  • ClydeSays

    Newark would be a great move. The team would pull more ppl from Jersey AND from NY/Bklyn/Queens.

    Ratner really screwed this up badly.

  • nevada

    the nets suck
    why would anybody want to buy that team or be a player

  • chintao

    I can’t see a team based in Newark drawing fans from Brooklyn and Queens. It is particularly unlikely in the event that the team there remains no more competitive than the woeful Knicks.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Zo Knows. Nobody hating him this time. But haters don’t pay attention to correct proclamations. I too thought Zo was just being stubborn about the Jersey trade denial and then would subsequently be featured in a nice write for SLAMADAMONTH when Vince threw down on him, the bigger star actually accepting a trade to New Jersey – then getting back to his bang on you – no matter your NBA (big man shot block) reputation – form. Didn’t happen, but lots of Newark mentions. – It worked out for Vince moving from extreme nonstop hate and vitrol as well as complacency to a more quiet location to fine tune his game, without worrying about the team’s status or future under such an owner. He’s now moved for salary reasons and a better offer future for himself, and the Nets are still stuck in real estate limbo. Sucks for Devin Harris, unless like those MLB DH’s he gets a move to the bigtime rival club in the same division. Not anytime soon of course but Devin + D’Antoni offense?! NYC relevant + vs Cuban and vs PHX games = Coach Mr. Pringles the evil mastermind smiling all along the way.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Devin Harris – Designated Hitter, isn’t that bad a nickname either. He’s pretty clutch. Will need help though with Vince gone and a miracle Arena move to spark fan & National exposure interest in the team. Guess I can’t complain too loudly about crazy Chris Cohan’s wheelings and dealings when there’s a Bruce Ratner out there. But they’re linked in that fans want them to sell the teams, yesterday.

  • JUFU

    I and every other nets fan really hate Ratner. He f’ed up the nets by trading away the big three! goddammit!!!!!!! he messes up one more time, and i swear, he’ll be chased out by a mob. calling all nets fans.

  • Anony Mous

    The big three had to be broke up. Their just lucky they were able to get Harris and Lee out of it.. Those two with Lopez is at least something to build around. Throw in that foreign guy with your lottery pick next year and if T-Will pans out and you have an okay lineup.

  • http://slam donald

    Forget Newark, Forget Brooklynn, Keep them at The Meadowlands. At least you will be able to get in and out easily with the new roads.