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Is Richard Jefferson Gonna Have to Choke a Bitch?

May 9, 2008 1 comment

Apparently not. The New Jersey Nets star disputes the account of the man who accuses Jefferson of assault at a Minnesota nightclub:

Speaking on Sirius satellite radio late Wednesday, Jefferson said he was attending a birthday party for teammate Vince Carter when he was approached in the hotel bar by an individual he described as “very rude and very disrespectful.”

Jefferson said “an altercation broke out” but no punches were thrown.

“They were saying there was choking. It was more of a getting your space,” he said. “This individual doesn’t have a scratch on him. There was no mark. There was no blood. There was no anything.”…

The documents say Jefferson entered the area and got angry when he was asked to leave. He is accused of grabbing the victim, shoving him to a bench and choking him with both hands.

“You know, it is unfortunate,” Jefferson said. “I’ve never been involved in an incident in my life. I don’t even think I’ve ever been thrown out of a basketball game. But some drunk individual wants to come up and, you know, then, of course, when they start telling their side of the story we’re the big bad athletes that think they can get away with everything and then they’re some innocent individual that has never made a mistake in their life.”

Categories: Nets, player issues, Sports

Your Atlantic Yards Update

May 9, 2008 Comments off

Less ambitious than previous designs, and missing that Green Roof and public space Craneso lovingly touted in the initial brochures (pdf), Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development seems to be hitting some… snags, like every other large scale development in the sputtering economy.

…concerted efforts [to stop Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards development] proved largely unsuccessful, key components of the development are now on hold — not because of public outrage, but rather due to increasing construction costs, a slowing economy sliding toward recession and a tightening credit market.

To different degrees, the very same economic challenges facing Atlantic Yards confront real estate projects both big and small throughout the five boroughs.

As the economy turns toward recession, developers, community groups and city officials alike are questioning whether these projects will go through at all — or at least in the way many had previously imagined.

While much of Atlantic Yards project is sliding to the back burner, the $950 million arena is moving forward and slated for completion in 2010 for one main reason: The financing for it is already in place. Unlike the private financing needed for the commercial and residential buildings, Forest City Ratner already has secured $670 million in tax-free bonds to cover the costs of the arena’s construction beyond the $200 million in subsidies already in place ($100 million from both the Empire State Development Corporation and the city).

Additionally, unlike the commercial tower centerpiece known as Miss Brooklyn, the stadium already has its anchor tenant lined up (the Nets) and Barclays has ponied up a reported $400 million specifically for the stadium’s naming rights.

Miss Brooklyn has been redone and renamed “B1″; it now looks like lego blocks, all twisted:
Atlantic Yards
Furthermore, investors are generally wary of mixed-use projects as the Atlantic Yards was designed to be – arena, high and middle-income (“affordable”) housing, and commercial space. Sole use properties are easier to get loan funding for; the easy money, fast-development days are over.

B1 aka Miss BrooklynWhere are the tenants for these buildings going to come from? The athletic part of the equation is easier to figure out; the funding is pretty much in place. But is the stadium a viable project for the developer without the money-making residential and commercial space? Let alone new Governor David Patterson’s opposition stance on eminent domain when he was a state senator.

For his part, Bruce Ratner will not speak of how the project might be scaled down. Instead, in this editorial in last week’s Daily News, he chooses to speak of difficulties and obstacles:

In recent weeks, some have rushed to write the obituary of Atlantic Yards, the multi-billion dollar, 22-acre development my company is building near downtown Brooklyn.

But rumors of Atlantic Yards’ demise, stirred by opponents, have been greatly exaggerated. The project is moving forward in its entirety, and in the coming years it will bring jobs, housing and an improved quality of life to Brooklyn.

…the delays have pushed us into a time when the economy has slowed, and both financing and tenant commitments are more challenging to obtain. But contrary to rumors, large deals are still getting done, and in the past year alone we have closed on the two largest construction financings in our company’s history, totaling over $1.3 billion. Atlantic Yards will be no different.

The stakes are high. As other major developments around the city face challenges, Atlantic Yards has become even more important to our economy than when we first announced it. That’s why we have tried so hard to work through each obstacle we’ve confronted. If more unforeseen hurdles appear, we will tackle them with the same resolve. Working with our public sector partners, I am confident we will continue to overcome all obstacles to complete this project.

So, what’s next?

Our first goal is to break ground on the Barclays Center later this year. Shortly after that, we will break ground on the first residential building, which includes a significant amount of affordable housing.

An aside on rhetoric: I like how he uses “rumors… stirred by opponents.” You’re either with us, or with the economic terrorists (who live in Brooklyn and have issues with the project).

As for the project; breaking ground doesn’t mean “finished” by 2010? The infrastructure – covering the existing train yards – hasn’t even been done yet! Opponents call his time estimates “not credible.” And let’s talk about the costs of the Barclays Center:

…the estimated cost of their proposed new building — the Barclays Center in Brooklyn — has soared to $950 million, or more than twice the price of any pro basketball or hockey arena ever built in the United States.

And where in the world would they find much of the money to build that arena?

Europe, it turns out.

Nets Chief Executive Officer Brett Yormark has just returned from London and Turin, Italy, where he has begun attempts to entice foreign companies into becoming major contributing sponsors for the new Brooklyn arena.

Yormark already stunned the sports business world last year, when he persuaded British-based Barclays Bank to pay an unprecedented $20 million annually for naming rights to the Nets’ planned new home. That’s four times the amount that Prudential is paying for naming rights at the $380 million home of the Devils hockey team in Newark.

Renowned architect Frank Gehry — who is designing the Barclays Center — is revered in Europe, Yormark said. Gehry’s creations include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the “Dancing House” in Prague, the Czech Republic.

“We’ve never pitched this as an arena — we’ve pitched it as a landmark,” Yormark said.

That sounds like some wishin’ and hopin’ to me. What would entice foreign sponsors to invest? Because the dollar is weak? The “landmark” building? Outside of Barclay, where will their names be seen and spoken? As far as landmarks go, they are nice to have – and if there is an arena, it would be interesting to have an architecturally interesting one – but that landmark isn’t going to pay anyone’s bills, is it?

Inside Barclays Arena

And in fact, the Nets might move a little closer to their Meadowlands home

Nets are currently losing an estimated $40 million a year playing in the Meadowlands, and are stuck there at least another two seasons before a Brooklyn arena could be ready. And they’re facing an increasingly tougher financial road there as well, despite heavy public subsidies. As George Zoffinger, former head of Jersey’s sports authority, told the Star-Ledger: “When you start to spend north of $500 million for an arena, you can’t generate the cash flow necessary to generate a decent return on the investment. If the number is $900 million, it’s absolutely, positively not viable from an economic standpoint.”

The NJ Sports and Exposition Authority might waive the penalty in the Nets’ contract that previously did not allow them to move within the Garden State. But a NY arena might bring in more fans (more central location than Newark’s Prudential Center, where the Nets would move if they stayed in Jersey), and more importantly, might attract more investors and luxury box purchases by simply being in NY and close to the financial district.

By the way, about that architect Frank Gehry… the incoming head of the Port Authority has some misgivings about sticking with him.

Chris Ward, due to take over the Port Authority this month, suggests to us that he thinks Bruce Ratner should consider recruiting architects other than Frank Gehry for the Atlantic Yards. “Flatbush and Atlantic is a totally underused area and a major transportation hub, and I hope we don’t lock ourselves into a design that does not allow other architecture or public space,” says Ward. That design is entirely Gehry’s; even after Ratner admitted his multi-tower vision might not attract financing, public officials have kept the architect front and center…. this warning should hearten the project’s opponents: Ward will have a lot of influence over state spending if the developer needs a cash influx.

I highly doubt that this scale of project will come in under budget. And the aspects of the plan that are not being talked about – dealing with traffic and congestions, water provision and electric load issues, will probably be costly as well… and those will come out of the state’s pocket in one way or another; Forest City Ratner is already asking for more subsidies.

AY Renderings from the New York Daily News

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Jason Kidd Trade Update: Now With More Van Horn!

February 19, 2008 1 comment

From Sports Illustrated, an update on the Jason Kidd trade, that was blocked by stipulations in the Devean George contract:

The long-anticipated trade of Jason Kidd to the Mavericks may have cleared its final hurdle.

Keith Van Horn has agreed to terms on a sign-and-trade with the Dallas Mavericks, SI.com has confirmed. Van Horn will be sent to New Jersey along with guard Devin Harris, swingmen Trenton Hassell and Maurice Ager, center DeSagana Diop, two first-round picks and cash considerations in exchange for Kidd and forward Malik Allen.

In a separate trade, New Jersey will send swingman Antoine Wright to Dallas for the Mavericks’ $1.6 million trade exception.

It is believed that Van Horn, who hasn’t played since the end of the 2006 season, will report to New Jersey for a minimum of 30 days. For reporting, Van Horn will be paid $4.3 million for the remainder of the season.

Keith Van Horn with New JerseyFull disclosure: I fell in love with the Nets again when they picked up Van Horn in the draft– the offense to Jayson Williams’ defense and rebounding and trash talking. The Petrovic teams were nice, but I wasn’t following pro basketball or sports as much then, at the end of high school. But when I was near the end of college, and there was that Van Horn kid with the sweet game… whoo, man.

I always thought he was wildly underutilized, though also really shy about taking shots and demanding the ball. His low post turnaround move– the one that got stripped about 5 times a game, and I’m not joking, I counted– needed to be scrapped. But a defense stretching 4, who could get you some rebounds? I think, if healthy, he’s made for the current NBA. His game fell off a little, for sure. But what if he has a little bit of it back?

He’s Bostjan Nachbar with more height and rebounding ability! Certainly, his career suffered from being before the new-Euro invasion, suffered for being pre-Nowitzki, suffered for being kind of soft, and suffered from being picked just after Tim Duncan.

But it’ll be good to see him on the court again.

Categories: Nets, pro basketball, Sports, trades

Jason Kidd Traded! Or, we Finally Got DeSagana Diop!

February 13, 2008 1 comment

Jason Kidd and Malik Allen were traded today for:

- Devin Harris (niiice)
- DeSagana Diop (strong + expiring contract)
- Jerry Stackhouse (can we buy him out? We already have a North Carolina shot-taker)
- Devean George (expiring contract)
- Maurice Ager
- $3 million in cash
- 2010 first-rounder

WHEW. They’re buying out Stackhouse, and he’ll likely rejoin the Mavericks. And Antoine Wright might go to the Mavs for a second round pick. I’ll Miss ‘Toine Wright.

Kidd gets what he wants. The team looks entirely different today; the Nets have been officially blown up. Will Devin Harris be the future at the point or will Marcus Williams? Will Carter and Jefferson be able to coexist without Kidd slinging passes? Will the Nets tank the rest of their games and try to get Michael Beasley? Will fans come to games before the Nets move to Brooklyn?

Categories: Nets, pro basketball

Jason Collins traded for Stromile Swift

February 4, 2008 Comments off

Jason Collins and Tim Duncan in an intimate NBA Finals momentJason Collins, it was a nice run as an unoffensive center, a fine man, and the beginning of a tradition of Twin Centers from Stanford. You held up to Shaq in the finals, and when a role player gets traded, it’s usually near the end—the next team never knows what to do with one team’s role player. Unless that role player can do something more than set screens. You’ve bricked a lot of free throws, but you were part of the Jersey resurgence; no one can giggle when they hear the name Nets now; that treatment is reserved for the Knicks.

Enjoy Memphis, now that you have been traded for F/C Stromile Swift, disappointing #2 overall pick from LSU. Who is part of a line of disappointing young players from LSU (see: Thomas, Tyrus).

I used to get excited about Stromile Swift in a Nets uniform– he’s been a rumor coming here forever– but after 7 years, if you’re not making waves in the Association, you never will.

Categories: Nets, pro basketball, Sports, trades

Jason Kidd Comes With the Truth: He Wants to be Traded

January 29, 2008 4 comments

From NJ.com and ESPN, Jason Kidd states:


“I’m not mad at anybody,” Kidd told the Web site. “Sometimes, when you ride a wave, you get to the end and that’s all there is. That’s where we are.”

“It used to be if I got a triple-double, that was an automatic win,” Kidd said. “That’s just not the case now. We tried to make this work. We’ve found out it doesn’t. It’s time for us all to move on.”

This has been “does he want to be in Jersey” question has been dragging out for a long time.

Jason Kidd- worried?More:

Kidd is not exactly being treated like a pariah, but word spread quickly among his teammates about his trade request — even though the team deliberately didn’t pass out the daily press clips — and one teammate found it odd that he was seen eating breakfast alone yesterday at the team’s hotel.

A letter from a reader to the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro on Jason Kidd, the rumors of his petulant behavior and off-court life, and this article from Charley Rosen, which talks about Kidd halfway down:

Hi, Dave: Who is the real J-Kidd? With such awesome virtues displayed on the court — i.e. selflessness, composure, max effort, competitiveness, sacrifice, desire, awareness, vision, anticipation — I assume that he’d be kinda similar in ‘real’ life. If you didn’t see it already, check out Rosen’s 2 paragraphs on Kidd: What a nasty picture painted. Despite Hall of Fame caliber play, he’s been traded from every team he’s played on (and counting), the numerous past and current personal problems, issues with so many of his coaches, the migraine strike. . . .Hmmm. Who is this guy?
Rich Wong


RW: The short answer? Don’t know, don’t care. Great player, good guy, but that’s where my interest really ends. There are certain things even public figures should keep private, and the rest of us have to accept that you can’t know someone unless they let you in; that you can’t know a people, a place, a family, an individual, a process, or anything until you know precisely the forces that shaped their motives and spirit. So the truth is, the only people who know the guy are the ones who know the secret handshake. And since that’s the case, we reach for the impertinent crap that we think defines his character – stuff such as tantrums in the boss’s office (inane – he wasn’t even in the office that day), his girlfriend’s pregnancy (also totally untrue), crotch-grabbing at 2 a.m. (can’t wait to read that court transcript), the great migraine strike of ’07 (which will forever be unsubstantiated), and oh, dear diary, I can’t wait to read what tomorrow will bring. The point being: This has been a really stupid two years, Kidd has been engulfed by the trappings of fame or victimized by a public thirst for the sensational (take yer pick), and rest of us are sick of playing How’s Jay’s Head every two weeks. His amazing real-life adventures don’t really have any impact on his team, and he is tired of being in the presence of those who believe the opposite to be true. Which is why he hasn’t spoken with the media in a week and may not do so until the last ding-dong of eternity.

One MORE Post

January 14, 2008 Comments off

Thanks to Kelly Dwyer’s blog on Yahoo’s NBA Experts section, I have now seen Richard Jefferson give the Atlanta Hawks’ Shelden Williams the poster dunk. Extra points for having the ball bounce off of the former Duke player’s body, recovering on the ground.

Categories: Nets, tv
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