With a picturesque view of the lower Manhattan skyline glistening through the windows not far from him, Billy King was on a podium inside a building on 39th street in Brooklyn when he summed up what this officially announcement meant.
“This will be the only team to play and practice in New York,” the Nets general manager surmised Thursday, “because there's another team that doesn't do that.”
After splitting time cross-crossing the Hudson River these past two years, the Nets are truly about to be all-Brooklyn all the time come a year from now. They announced their plans to build a privately-funded, new state-of-the-art training center in Brooklyn, one complete with panoramic views of New York Harbor, and a rooftop entertainment area.
Named the Hospital for Special Surgery Training Center, it’ll occupy 70,000 square feet on the eighth floor of a waterfront warehouse in Industry City and is expected to serve as the team’s practice site starting with the 2015-16 season. The Nets still train at their facility in East Rutherford, N.J.
Their new home, which reportedly cost $45 million, will have two full basketball courts, two hydro pools, weight room, training pool, and a 18-seat multimedia theater.
“I think they’re creating a place where guys are going to want to be here,” Mason Plumlee said. “I mean, yeah as basketball players you want to be in the gym anyway, but there will be no reason to leave. We have chefs and all that. Really, you’ll be here in the offseason, you’ll be here in season. It’ll be awesome.”
In listening to Irina Pavlova, president of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment, it was an exhaustive process. There were a number of boxes that needed to be checked off in order for it to be just the right place the Nets were searching for.
“We went to a lot of sites to find something that had all of this space for two side-by-side courts, that would help with public transportation access and highway access and is in Brooklyn was very important to us. So it took a while to find the right spot.”
The Nets also believe setting up shot in a brand new environment with all the bells and whistles should aid them when trying to lure prospective free agents. It’s something they’ll be more than happy to show off as they give their pitch of joining the franchise.
“When you look at the tools of different things, it definitely can help,” coach Jason Kidd said. “This is a tool that you look at. The practice facility, you look at Barclays arena, it’s what you stand for, and you are talking about first class, so I think it definitely helps.”
As will having both of their home venues within a short distance of each other.
Currently, most of the players either live in Manhattan or in New Jersey, mostly so they can access their facility in East Rutherford with the least amount of hassle possible. Anyone who drives across any of the metropolitan area’s bridges bouncing from borough to borough or state to state knows all too well about the unpredictability — and unforgiving nature — that comes along with it, particularly when pertaining to commuting during the morning or evening rush hours.
No wonder why Plumlee plans on living in Brooklyn once the facility is fully operational.
“Even though I haven’t experienced free agency," Plumlee said, "when you go through the draft process, I worked out for 15 teams so I had a good feel like, ‘Oh, when I’m a free agent I probably don’t want to go to this city.’ This team has a brand new state of the everything. The city has a lot to do with that, but then also where you are going to go to work everyday has a lot to do with that.
“I mean, who wouldn’t want to work in a place like this?”