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New practice facility has Nets coach Lionel Hollins beaming

Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins talks to

Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins talks to media during a tour of the Hospital for Special Surgery Training Center in Brooklyn on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

If the Nets bring in any free agents next summer, looking to lure them into the organization, they can take them to the top of their new multimillion dollar practice facility in Brooklyn and let them gaze at the picturesque landscape framed by lower Manhattan's breathtaking skyline.

Or so that's the plan, anyway.

Scheduled to open its doors in February, not in time for the 2015-16 season as initially anticipated, the Nets' 70,000-square foot practice venue in Sunset Park is slowly progressing. Located a short distance from New York Harbor with a price tag near $45 million, the HSS Training Facility is expected to boast luxurious qualities that could catapult it to among the best in the league.

"To have a facility like this is always nice," coach Lionel Hollins said Tuesday after a tour of the site. "So when you go to show a beautiful arena, you show the city, you show a beautiful practice facility where you are going to work every day, it always enhances the feeling of, 'What's it going to be like if you were to sign here?'

"Just about every team in the NBA is building one or already has one. Some older, some newer. I think it's great."

Everything is supposed to be state-of-the-art, especially when compared with the Nets' outdated facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Two hydro pools, a training pool, spacious weight room, rooftop entertainment area, 18-seat multimedia theater, 3,000-square foot players' lounge space and two full length basketball courts headline the new facility's amenities.

Originally, the hope was that it would be finished in time for training camp this fall. Delays backed things up considerably, however.

"This is New York," said Irina Pavlova, the president of Onexim Sports and Entertainment Holding USA. She serves as a conduit between team management and Mikhail Prokhorov's ownership brass, and was responsible for finding the site. "And actually, now that we are dealing with this, it gives me a sense or appreciation that we opened Barclays on time.

"There's just so many little things that delayed the project. It wasn't one big event. Permits took longer, access took longer. Everything just took a little longer and it added up."

Hollins recalled his playing days in the '70s and '80s, flashing back to how he continually had to have a mental Rolodex to keep up with where practice was going to be held on a particular day.

"I remember practicing in four or five facilities when I played in the league -- in one city -- and you had to know where you were going to be that next day and what time practice was," Hollins said. "So, to have a facility like this that you know every day you can come, you can come any time at morning or at night when everybody is gone and you'll have access to come work out, it's a great thing."

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