Small Steps

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Eddie Castro Sports

Who says it’s too early for a basketball article? Yes, we have the Yankees preparing for the Wild Card game on October 3 and we have football approaching Week 4. Heck, Tiger Woods won his first tournament in five years over the weekend. It’s definitely an exciting time to be a sports fan as we kick off the fall season, but when basketball is set to return in about a month and a half, allow me to give you the local team story with a big potential ahead perhaps. I’m talking about the Brooklyn Nets.

By now, it is well-documented of the mess that former Nets General Manager Billy King created when he traded away about 4 years of the team’s future in a gamble for a championship run about 5 years ago. With media that’s coming and going this past week, the whispers have already begun when it comes to the Nets and them being “buyers” when it comes to the free agent class of 2019. As far as that goes, it appears the team as a whole is simply trying to simmer down that noise and focus on taking small steps in getting better as far as the present goes. The team is looking forward to improving from their 2017-18 campaign in which they had a win-loss total of 28-54. Why was there more buzz at the team’s media day than usual? Next summer, the team will have enough salary cap space to sign two key players to max contracts.

The team will be entering its third season under the Sean Marks (General Manager) and Kenny Atkinson (Head Coach) regime. The team has won a total of 48 games out of 164, which included an eight-win increase last year (20 to 28). This current Brooklyn roster is quite young. In fact, the team has 10 of their 19 players with 5 years or less NBA experience, including 5 players whom are rookies. During this off-season, the team did tweak the look of the roster just a bit by adding veterans such as Kenneth Faried, Jared Dudley, Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier. Brooklyn will also be bringing back point guards DeAngelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddle, who thrived as the team’s best player during Russell’s absence. The Nets are projected to have anywhere from $50 to $70 million in cap space next year and on top of that, the team has a first-round pick and perhaps a pick from Denver if they fall from 13-30 in the draft order. The team also has two second-round picks. I think it’s pretty safe to say although they’re still growing pains to deal with during the upcoming season, if the front office continues hitting some right buttons as far as bringing players that can mesh well together, we can be talking about another step forward for the team. That will only lead to more winning and a brighter future.

Sports Notes: (Football) The Jets will try to dust themselves off after a tough loss to the Cleveland Browns. The team will look to snap their 2-game losing skid, but it will not be easy as they face a very good Jacksonville Jaguars team. The New York Giants picked up their first win of the season defeating the Houston Texans. The team will head back home to face Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.