MEXICO CITY — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently joked at a town hall meeting that the Nets’ move from New Jersey to Brooklyn hasn’t panned out very well. But NBA commissioner Adam Silver took strong exception to that characterization during a news conference Thursday night before the Nets faced the Thunder as part of the NBA Global Games at Ciudad de Mexico City Arena.
De Blasio’s remark was made to a man he spotted in the audience wearing a black-and-white Nets jacket. “I’m from Brooklyn, too, but this Brooklyn Nets idea has not been working out as it was planned,” he said. “So I admire you for sticking with them.”
It was all in fun, but Nets fans reacted on social media and so did Silver when questioned about the mayor’s comments. “I believe the Brooklyn Nets have exceeded all expectations in terms of the move from [New Jersey] to Brooklyn,” Silver said. “The area around the Barclays Center in terms of restaurants and development. In terms of the team, they’re on their way.”
Referring to an ill-fated decision by owner Mikhail Prokhorov to trade several No. 1 picks to the Celtics in 2012 for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in a misguided attempt to win a title, Silver added, “The owners made rookie mistakes. They went for it. But I have enormous confidence in [Nets general manager] Sean Marks. As New Yorker and as commissioner, I couldn’t be happier with what’s happening with the Nets.”
Earlier in the news conference, Silver said the NBA is exploring the possibility of locating a G League franchise that would be league-owned in Mexico City. He also announced plans to establish an NBA Academy in Mexico City that would be the first in Latin America and seventh in the world.
If the league decides to run a G League franchise, it would be with an eye toward future NBA expansion to Mexico City, Silver said, citing the largest city in the western hemisphere as what makes it an attractive market.