As longtime Newsday staffer Mark Herrmann astutely noted one day recently, it's been 36 years since Newsday covered the Nets on a full-time basis, something that coincided with their move from Nassau County to New Jersey in 1977.
That's about to change soon.
With the Nets' move to Brooklyn complete and the franchise set to begin play in the $1 billion Barclays Center in the fall, they're once again in play for us and it's time to get back into the game.
So welcome to Newsday's brand spanking new Nets blog, which we hope to make your one-stop shop for everything Nets related. Sure, the generic name "Nets blog" may be a little lame. But don't worry. We aren't going to go with that forever. We'll find a nice catchy name eventually, and you can feel free to offer your suggestions.
Over the next few weeks, there's sure to be a lot of news surrounding the Nets.
First off, there's the draft a week from today. The Nets' sixth pick goes to the Blazers as a result of the Gerald Wallace deal, so they won't have a first-round selection unless they acquire one via trade. They currently hold just one pick: No. 57 in the second round (from Miami).
Deron Williams is set to become a free agent on July 1 after he opts out of his contract. The Nets can re-sign the talented point guard to a max deal at five years, $108 million, but he's obviously going to have several suitors. Williams said he won't drag the process out because he wants to have a contract in place before the Olympics begin a little over a month from now.
With Wallace, he's opted in to the final year of his deal and will become a free agent. Both sides seem amicable to getting a new deal done, however, and GM Billy King knows how vital it is to re-sign the swingman given he surrendered such a high pick for Wallace. King maintains he believes Wallace is better right now than any player the Nets could have selected with their first-round pick in this year's draft.
Of course, there's also the Dwightmare and answers could be forthcoming sooner than later with that whole situation now that Orlando has a new GM in 30-year-old Rob Hennigan. There are rumblings that despite opting into the final year of his deal just before the trade deadline, Dwight Howard wants out. So we'll see how that unfolds over the coming days and weeks.
Yes, it should be an interesting offseason leading into the Nets' inaugural campaign in Jay Z's neck of the woods and it's going to be fun to see if the Nets-Knicks rivalry cranks up a notch.
David Stern thinks it can be a hot one.
"Why not?" the NBA commissioner said at the draft lottery a few weeks ago. "You know what's interesting? It's Brooklyn, New York, but I consider it could be Brooklyn, USA. If it were just Brooklyn, it would be like I think the fifth-largest market in our league, so there's a lot of -- and the Brooklyn Diaspora is incredible, at all levels of corporate society and life, and there are lots of people who are looking forward to going back to a game in their home borough, so to speak.
"So I think there's going to be a real conversation, and there are lots of baseball fans that see the Brooklyn Nets as a legitimate successor to the Brooklyn Dodgers. So, yes, I think that we are going to have a great rivalry."
Go ahead and bookmark this page and, please, come on back frequently.