- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
SNYDER: Will Nets be the next team we love to hate?
Brooklynites faced a major dilemma this year when the Nets crossed the Hudson River and relocated downtown in New York City’s most populous borough, near the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic. Playing their home games in the brand-new, splendiferous Barclays Center, the Nets are minutes from the team that has owned Big Apple hearts since 1946.
The New York Knicks, one of the NBA’s marquee franchises, have the history, memories, championships and Madison Square Garden, aka the “World’s Most Famous Arena.” But they don’t wear “Brooklyn” on their chests. That gives the Nets a prime opportunity to siphon allegiance among the proud residents and natives who have lacked such specificity in a rooting interest since the Dodgers relocated to Los Angeles in 1958.
Will they make a distinction between two teams that, ultimately, represent New York City? Which team should they root for in border skirmishes, a la the Lakers-Clippers annual grudge matches?
That last question probably has NBA commissioner David Stern all atwitter, flush with anticipation as he pleads silently within himself, “Yes, yes, please be yes!” As evidenced by the Heat’s TV ratings, road attendance, media coverage and ability to spark fiery debates, “hate” pays a heap of bills.
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers long ago proved how well the formula works, boosted by outsized stars and multiple championship runs. (There are exceptions: The Chicago Bulls had Michael Jordan, which essentially inoculated them from malevolence, while the San Antonio Spurs with Tim Duncan were simply too boring to generate much emotion.)
But adding the disenchanted Howard to a mix that already includes All-Star point guard Deron Williams, All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson and versatile swingman Gerald Wallace would move Brooklyn into rarefied air as a “super team.” The Nets instantly would become playoff contenders and arguably the Eastern Conference’s biggest threat to Miami.
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and minority partner Jay-Z couldn’t hope for a better housewarming gift for their state-of-the-art, $1 billion arena. They helped the Nets retain relevancy by re-signing Williams when it appeared he might be lured by his hometown Dallas Mavericks.
With Howard, the Nets wouldn’t just upstage the Knicks. They’d upend the league. And though the Knicks, small-market fans and proponents of parity would disagree, the move would be a blessing for the NBA.
It would create dramatic tension within the nation’s biggest media market and spread among the conference powers in Chicago, Boston and Indiana. It would raise Brooklyn to the status of Public Enemy No. 1A, positioned right behind Miami if not side by side. And it would give Stern maximum bang as Howard’s dreadful soap opera comes to a close.
You certainly could question Orlando’s wisdom if it trades Howard to Brooklyn, creating a team that the Magic would have little chance of beating for several years. The same can be said for any Eastern Conference team that opts to partner with Orlando and Brooklyn in sending Howard to the Nets.
Maybe that’s why Cleveland reportedly is a potential participant; sound judgment isn’t the Cavaliers’ strong suit.
The Knicks haven’t been the best-run franchise, either, relegated to an NBA afterthought for more than a decade. They made a splash the past two years by signing Amar’e Stoudemire, trading for Carmelo Anthony and discovering Jeremy Lin. But serious questions remain about the team’s ability to contend.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Deron Snyder is an award-winning journalist and Washington Times sports columnist with more than 25 years of experience. He has worked at USA Today and his column was syndicated in Gannett’ 80-plus newspapers from 2000-2009, appearing in The Arizona Republic, The Indianapolis Star, The Detroit News and many others. Follow Deron on Twitter @Its_Ball_Good or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- SNYDER: With John Wall’s return, Wizards’ blueprint beginning to unfold
- SNYDER: RG3, Junior Seau evidence of NFL’s negligent culture
- SNYDER: Alabama’s excellence built to last under Saban
- SNYDER: Russell Wilson beats RG3 at his own game
- SNYDER: Terp tested: Turgeon has team ready to take on ACC
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- NYC alarms with notice: Immediately surrender your rifle
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Global economy, the civilizing power of markets and public morals.
News and opinion from a Millennial Urbanite with Southern sensibilities,
Notes from a running nerd: musings and more on all things running.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow