As one NetsDaily commenter suggested, the past two days have seemed like a smooth rollout of a new and improved product. “Producer” is Kyrie Irving.
Over the past week, we’ve seen Joe Tsai praising Irving with a one-word retweet after he’s been silent on all things Nets for a month. Then, on Thursday night, the Nets covered Irving’s “More Than Run” show at Keene College with posts, both still and video, on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Weibo (the Chinese social networking site) and their official website. Marketing awesomeness. Furthermore, at least five of his mates traveled to Central Jersey to root. There have also been reports of assistant coaches for this event.
It is no longer a matter of reading tea leaves or consulting Ouija boards. There is now no doubt that Irving not only has “every intention” to play for Brooklyn this season, a source close to him told Brian Lewis, but will be welcomed back. The Nets might get a hard-to-miss Irving show, but at this point, that doesn’t seem likely… for a number of reasons very familiar to Nets (and Lakers) fans.
Does this bode well for the return of Kevin Durant, too? There was nothing on the Nets’ level of interest in Irving that we saw other than one report that he and Joe Tsai were planning to meet last week. There was no information on whether the two met or whether the report was accurate. Tracking the two men last weekend, KD was in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera while Tsai was in Hong Kong. (A video posted in overtime, ironically a location partly owned by Durant, showing him and Ben Simmons in Los Angeles was from 2019).
But if Durant didn’t like the way Irving was treated in contract negotiations, among other things, that complaint appears to have been addressed at least in a small way. Is there more behind the scenes and is that enough? I do not know. Several reports in June and July suggested that Durant’s problems with the Nets were broader and deeper, and that he had “lost confidence” in the front office. It will take more than the Nets marketing team travel to Union, NJ for this to be rectified. But the beginning is the beginning.
Royce O’Neill is gaining fans
Royce O’Neill was all over the place last week, in two games of the New York Liberty, at the Kyrie Irving event at Kean University, at the Nets Academy of Basketball Camp at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn. He even attended the Red Bull game. Fans have noticed her and O’Neale has become a favourite.
The 6’5-inch 3 and D wing traded in the first round in 2023 on the same day Durant issued his trade order. So I got lost in the big news of the day. It’s been around ever since, coming to terms with the basketball and Brooklyn community scene.
We also learned this fun fact about the Baylor product. opens up.
Going through the NBA tracking data this morning. Top 5 players 3 of which are mostly open (at least 100 attempts), plus what percentage they shoot.
1. Royce O’Neill – 40.4%
2- Wes Matthews – 38.6%
3- Maxi Clipper 35.7%
4. Reggie Bullock – 39.9%
5- Dorian Finney-Smith – 41.1%
– Steve Noh (@StephNoh) August 1, 2022
Given Ben Simmons’ prowess at finding open 3-point shooters, that’s a good thing.
Here’s one more thing: As we noted, Jazz’s O’Neale was acquired for a first round with the Nets using the trade exception generated by James Harden’s trade. Now, the choice is the worst of Nets, Rockets, and 76ers Anthology. So with this trade and Andre Drummond signing with the Bulls and Paul Millsap likely to retire, here is the current state of the Nets-Sixers trade from February.
Networks get: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Royce O’Neale, and a protected Sixer pick in 2027. They still have two commercial exceptions for $2.1 million, the remainder from Harden TPE and $1.7 million, the equivalent of Millsap’s salary. It is unlikely that either will be used because they are both very small.
76ers get: James Harden.
Honoring Joe and Clara Wu Tsai
In the latest indication that Joe and Clara Wu Tsai are languishing in New York City, Lincoln Center and New York Philharmonic have named the main hall at Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fischer Hall) for the couple.
As The New York Times noted, this honor was in part the result of Tsais’ gift to the Philharmonic and Lincoln Center in the darkest days of the pandemic.
In late 2020, with coronavirus cases rising and cultural institutions shutting down, the fate of the renovation of David Geffen Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic, was uncertain.
Then came a $50 million gift from Joseph Tsai, the Taiwanese-born billionaire co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and his wife, Clara Wu Tsai, a philanthropist. The donation pushed the project forward, speeding up construction so the hall could reopen in October, a year and a half ahead of schedule.
So when the Philharmonic opens on October 7th with a presentation by Aaron Copeland “a commotion for the common man,” The city’s emergency medical staff and construction workers will enter the Wu Cai Theater. Also, named after Tsais, according to The Times, “a concert series intended to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the arts and to bring together performers of various genres.”
“My dream is to have a full auditorium of diverse audiences and to have programming there that truly showcases the diversity and flexibility that the auditorium is designed to offer,” said Clara, a member of the Lincoln Center Board of Directors.
The gift and honor are just the latest in Tsais’ participation in city life. They are funding $50 million for the Brooklyn Social Justice Fund; New York City Schools Program for the Study of the Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat; and Programs of the Asia Society. (The Basquiat curriculum will be shown at the Barclays Art Gallery on Mondays and Tuesdays.)
During the early days of the pandemic, of course, they spent millions of dollars buying and moving 2,000 ventilators, 1.5 million N95 respirators, 1.45 million surgical masks, and 170,000 eyeglasses, 65 percent of which went to Brooklyn hospitals. They also arranged for the Barclays Center to host food banks and opened the plaza’s entrance plaza for George Floyd protests. Both play at the Barclays Center whether the Nets or Liberty play … much more than the previous owners.
“My wife Clara and I have always felt very rooted in New York,” Joe said at the time of the ventilator shipments. “The people of New York are resilient, they are strong.”
In fact, the two met and married in the city when he was working at Sullivan & Cromwell, a large New York law firm, working for American Express. While they maintain residences in Hong Kong and La Jolla, California, they recently purchased two apartments, one of them the penthouse, in 220 Central Park South. They will be around.
as ours Chris Melhollen tweeted this weekThe Nets train their young players at the HSS Training Center, including many from the Nets Summer League roster. They do not limit themselves to the city’s industrial facility. In the recent past, we’ve seen Cam Thomas, Daeron Sharp, David Duke Jr., Kessler Edwards, Alonds Williams, and Raikwan Gray at one or more events, from Liberty Games to Kyrie Irving’s “More Than Race” to basketball academy events.
Three of their summer league teammates will not join them, having decided to play abroad: Taz More with BG Göttingen in the Bundesliga; Yves Pons with ASVIL in the Ligue 1 and Bryson Gresham with Larnaca AEK in the Cyprus League.
Ben Simmons Real Estate Clock
Earlier this season, we updated Ben Simmons’ digs, and how he sold his sprawling mansion in Moorestown, NJ, and put up for sale his Center City apartment in Philly and his Hidden Hills property in Los Angeles. So where does he live now? From a fan site dedicated to fiancée Maya Gama, it appears that the couple has apparently moved into an apartment in SoHo, judging from the standpoint…
This is apparently an apartment that has been under construction for months.
One last note
Other than the almost daily rumors about the condition of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, things are slow. The Nets haven’t moved on the roster in weeks. The last move was signing Edmund Sumner a month ago. The list remains the same: 12 fully guaranteed contracts, a partially guaranteed deal (Sumner) and two ways (Alounds Williams.) The Nets can bring up to 20 players into camp and should be 17-15 short of a record deal and two ways – the day before the night opening. There is a lot that could happen.
Speaking of opening night, expect the 2022-23 schedule to be released in just over a week.