NetsDaily Off-Season Report – #14

As one NetsDaily commenter suggested, the past two days have felt like the smooth rollout of a new and improved product. The “product” being Kyrie Irving.

Over the past week, we saw Joe Tsai praising Irving with a one-word retweet after being silent on all things Nets for a month. Then on Thursday night, the Nets covered Irving’s “More than a Run” at Kean College with posts, both photos and videos, on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Weibo (the Chinese social media site) and their official website. A marketing extravaganza. Additionally, at least five teammates traveled to central Jersey to support him. It was also reported that assistant coaches were on hand for the event.

It’s no longer about reading tea leaves or consulting Ouija boards. There is no longer any doubt that not only does Irving have “every intention” of playing for Brooklyn this season, as a source close to him told Brian Lewis, but he will be welcomed back. Maybe the Nets get an offer for Irving that’s too hard to pass up, but at this point, that doesn’t seem likely … for a number of reasons all too familiar to Nets (and Lakers) fans.

Does this bode well for a Kevin Durant return as well? There’s nothing on the scale of the Nets’ attention to Irving that we’ve seen other than a single report he and Joe Tsai were planning to meet with last week. No word on whether the two met or if the report was accurate. To follow the two men at the end of last week, KD was in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera while Tsai was in Hong Kong. (A video posted on Overtime, ironically a site partly owned by Durant, showing him with 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 to a lesser extent. Is there more behind the scenes and is it enough? I do not know. Multiple reports from June and July indicated that Durant’s problems with the Nets ran deeper and deeper, that he had “lost faith” in the front office. It will take more than the Nets marketing team traveling to Union, NJ for this to be rectified. But a start is a start.

Royce O’Neale wins fans

Royce O’Neale has been everywhere last week, in two New York Liberty games, in Kyrie Irving’s event at Kean University, in a Nets Basketball Academy camp at St. Joseph’s College from Brooklyn. He even attended a Red Bull game. He was noticed by fans, and O’Neale became a favorite.

The 6’5” 3-and-D winger was traded for a 2023 first-round pick the same day Durant issued his trade request. So he got lost in the big news of the day. It has been around ever since and has become acclimated to the Brooklyn basketball scene and community.

We also learned this fun fact about the Baylor product. It opens.

Considering Ben Simmons’ prowess at finding open 3-point shooters, that’s a good thing.

Here’s another thing: As we noted, O’Neale was acquired from the Jazz for a first round with the Nets using the trade exception generated by James Harden’s trade. Right now, the pick is the worst pick of the Nets, Rockets and 76ers. So with that trade and the signing of Andre Drummond to the Bulls and Paul Millsap likely to retire, here’s the current status of the Nets-Sixers trade as of February.

Nets get: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Royce O’Neale and a protected Sixer pick in 2027. They still have two trade exceptions for $2.1m, the rest of Harden TPE and $1.7m, equal to Millsap’s salary . Neither are likely to be used as both are so small.

76ers get:James Harden.

Joe and Clara Wu Tsai honored

In the latest indication that Joe and Clara Wu Tsai have settled in New York, Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic have named the main auditorium at Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fischer Hall) for the couple.

As The New York Times noted, that honor was partly the result of the Tsais’ donation to the Philharmonic and Lincoln Center during the darkest days of the pandemic.

At the end of 2020, as coronavirus infections rose and cultural institutions closed, the fate of the long-delayed renovation of David Geffen Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic, was uncertain.

Then came a $50 million donation from Joseph Tsai, a Taiwanese-born billionaire co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, and his wife, Clara Wu Tsai, a philanthropist. The donation moved the project forward, accelerating construction so the hall could reopen in October, a year and a half earlier than planned.

So when the Philharmonic Orchestra opens on Oct. 7 with a performance of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” the city’s emergency medical personnel and construction workers will enter the Wu Tsai Theater. Also, named after the Tsais, according to the Times, “a concert series aimed at increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the arts and bringing together artists of different genres.”

“My dream is for us to have a room full of diverse audiences and get programming there that really showcases the versatility and flexibility that the room was created to offer,” said Clara, board member of administration of Lincoln Center.

The gift and the honor are just the latest in the involvement of the Tsais in the life of the city. They fund a $50 million social justice fund for Brooklyn; a school program in New York to study the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat; and Asia Society programs. (The Basquiat program will be presented in an art gallery at Barclays Center on Monday and Tuesday.)

At the start of the pandemic, of course, they spent millions of dollars acquiring and airlifting 2,000 ventilators, 1.5 million N95 respirators, 1.45 million surgical masks and 170,000 medical goggles, 65% of which went to hospitals in Brooklyn. They also arranged for Barclays Center to host food banks and opened the arena’s entrance plaza to George Floyd protest rallies. Both Tsais are staples at Barclays Center, whether it’s the Nets or Liberty playing… far more so than previous owners.

“My wife Clara and I have always felt very deeply rooted in New York City,” Joe said at the time of the fan deliveries. “New Yorkers are resilient, they’re tough.”

Indeed, the two met and married in the city while he worked at Sullivan & Cromwell, the large New York law firm, and she at American Express. While they maintain residences in Hong Kong and LaJolla, California, they recently purchased two apartments, including a penthouse, at 220 Central Park South. They will be there.

Hiring abroad

Like our Chris Milholen tweeted this week, the Nets train their young players at the HSS Training Center, including several on the Nets Summer League roster. They are not limited to facilities in Industry City. In the recent past, we’ve seen Cam Thomas, Day’Ron Sharpe, David Duke Jr., Kessler Edwards, Alondes Williams, and RaiQuan Gray at one or more events, from Liberty games to Kyrie Irving’s “More than a run.” through Basketball. Academy Events.

Three of their Summer League team-mates will not join them, having decided to play abroad: Taze Moore with BG Göttingen in the German League; Yves Pons with ASVEL in the French league and Brison Gresham with Larnaca AEK in the Cypriot league.

Ben Simmons Real Estate Intelligence

Earlier this offseason, we updated Ben Simmons’ digs, how he sold his sprawling mansion in Moorestown, NJ, and put up for sale both his Center City condo in Philly and a Hidden Hills property in Los Angeles. . So where does he live now? According to a fan site devoted to his fiancée Maya Jama, the couple has moved into what appears to be an apartment in SoHo, judging by the view…

This is apparently the apartment that has been under construction for months.

Final remark

Other than the almost daily rumors about the status of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, things are moving slowly. The Nets haven’t changed rosters in weeks. The latest move was the signing of Edmond Sumner a month ago. The list remains the same: 12 fully guaranteed contracts, one partially guaranteed deal (Sumner) and one two-way (Alondes Williams.) The Nets can bring up to 20 players into camp and need to be whittled down to 17 – 15 standard deals and two round trip – the day before opening night. There’s a lot more that could happen.

Speaking of opening night, expect the 2022-23 schedule to be released in just over a week.

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