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November 25, 2009

Nets Have Dug a Big Hole, but Their Foundation Is in Place

The New York Times
by Jonathan Abrams

The Nets have lost their first 14 games in a start that is threatening to make their season irrelevant before the calendar turns to 2010. The long-term future, however, looks a lot brighter.

The final challenge to their plans to build an arena in Brooklyn was denied Tuesday, increasing the likelihood of the Nets’ opening the 2012-13 season there. No matter where they play that season, their two budding stars — Brook Lopez and Devin Harris — give them the building blocks for an improved on-court product.

NoLandGrab: Final challenge? The decision was a blow for project opponents, to be sure, but four lawsuits challenging the project are still unresolved.

New York’s Court of Appeals dismissed a challenge over the use of eminent domain in constructing the long-planned and long-delayed Atlantic Yards project near Brooklyn’s downtown and ushering in a new arena for the Nets.

The ruling was the last major hurdle in the groundbreaking process.

NLG: Last major hurdle? Hardly. Ratner still needs to sell $700 million worth of arena bonds, for which there may not be a market, in the next five weeks.

The present is not quite as promising. Coach Lawrence Frank and the Nets flew to Denver for their game against the Nuggets on Tuesday night barreling toward the worst start in N.B.A. history with a four-game trip in their forecast.

Their 101-87 loss dropped them to 0-14, the effects of a raft of injuries and salary purging over the last two seasons. The trip ends in Los Angeles against the Lakers on Sunday, and if the Nets return home winless, they will have matched the 1988-89 expansion Miami Heat and 1999 Los Angeles Clippers for worst start in league history.

If so, history will not reflect the injuries, the long hours of Frank, whose job is on the line, or the cost-cutting demands from the current owner, Bruce C. Ratner. Instead, the Nets may stand as holders of the league’s worst start if they lose to the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 2.

After Tuesday’s court ruling, the future appears much brighter, but how to bridge that gap is still uncertain. Ratner purchased the franchise in 2003 for $300 million, originally planning to transplant the Nets from New Jersey in time for this season.

NLG: This season? No, when he announced the Atlantic Yards project in 2003, Ratner said the Nets would begin playing in Brooklyn in 2006.


NLG:Could it be that The Times doesn't realize that Bruce C. Ratner runs the company that was the development partner for their eminent domain-abusing headquarters building? They seem to have omitted that fact from this article.

Atlantic Yards Report, No, Ratner didn't buy the Nets in 2003 to move them in 2009

NoLandGrab's Eric McClure reminds us that the original move date was 2006 and also points out some other miscues.

Would you believe that some bloggers in Brooklyn have a heck of a lot more institutional memory than the Paper of Record?

Posted by eric at November 25, 2009 12:50 PM