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Avery welcomes Isles to Barclays

UNIONDALE -- Call it a weird coincidence.

Hours after Isles owner Charles Wang announced he's moving his team to Brooklyn beginning in 2015, the Nets hit the old court at Nassau Coliseum to take on the Knicks in their preseason finale. This, of course, was the Nets' home until they moved to New Jersey in 1977. 

"I’ve heard that the Nets played here," Avery Johnson said before the game. "The irony of it all with what’s going on with the Islanders and how they’ll be moving to the Barclays Center ... I guess this day is meaningful to a lot of people, especially with the Islanders moving. But [it's] also a sad day for people that are in this community and been a part of the Islanders fan club for a long period of time.

"But I know we have history in this building. But I’m looking forward to the regular season when we play at the Barclays Center and when we play the Knicks at the Garden."

Many of the Nets have openly talked about how their $1 billion arena was specifically built for basketball, unlike their previous stops at multi-purpose facilities in East Rutherford and Newark. But that won't be the case when they make some adjustments to the Barclays Center's configurations to improve the hockey sightlines, etc.

Still, Johnson has no qualms with sharing the building with the Isles.

"No," Johnson said, "no concerns. I think it’s good. At the end of the day, I’ve often used college football as an example. We are the college football program, so even though a university has other sports, we are the major tenant and we are the driving force. But at the same time., the building needs to produce revenue and now they’ve got 40-some odd more dates a year.

"I think it’s great. But at the end of the day, the focus of the whole Barclays Center project  is Nets basketball. Then, you can talk concerts and hockey and all that stuff."

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