EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — They have the third-worst record in the league, and they don’t have a first-round draft pick this summer. And now, they don’t even have a general manager or a permanent coach, after coach Lionel Hollins was fired and GM Billy King reassigned within the organization on Sunday.
But the Nets will have $40 million available under the salary cap come July and Thaddeus Young said on Tuesday that he and Brook Lopez already have begun trying to convince some potential free agents to take some of that money.
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“Me and Brook have been trying to talk to guys that we think we would want to play with and just get them to take a look at us,’’ Young said after the Nets practiced for the first time under interim coach Tony Brown.
While it would be tampering for anyone in management to attempt to recruit players on other teams before free agency opens July 1, players are free to try and recruit one another any time. However, at 10-28 entering Wednesday night’s game against the Knicks at Barclays Center, Young and Lopez have to be creative in their sales pitches. They talk up the state-of-the-art arena, as well as the new practice facility that the team intends to open this season, and they talk about how great it is to play for an owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, who is willing to spend money.
“We’ve been talking to a lot of different guys, whether it’s ‘Hey, there’s a condo available right next to mine, you might want go on and stop through and start picking out a spot,’’’ Young said with a laugh.
Young said he believes if the Nets can land a superstar in free agency, and a few other solid players, they would be able to turn things around quickly. He wouldn’t say what players he and Lopez have talked to, but said they are focusing in on players who are roughly the same age as they are (both are 27). Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City star who is the grand prize in free agency this summer, is also 27.
“We’re trying to potentially bring a championship to Brooklyn,’’ Young said. “So I think it’s more buying into the fact we want to win basketball games and we want to get back onto that winning side of things.’’
Notes & quotes: Joe Johnson did not practice. Brown said he was given “a rest.’’ . . . Young who is from Memphis, said Kentucky coach John Calipari, considered the Nets’ No. 1 choice to take over as coach, recruited him in high school while he was coach at Memphis. He said it was “hard’’ not to go to play for Calipari, but ultimately he chose to leave home and went to Georgia Tech. “I’m not sure,’’ he said when asked if Calipari’s recruiting skills and coaching methods would work in the NBA. “I’m pretty sure with him if he was to come here or he was to go anywhere he would do great just because of his support system and how he runs his programs.’’