Another Nets first round playoff exit, ah yes, summer is finally here. The lockers are cleared out, the arena empty, the trash (at least what Barclays employees know of) has been thrown out, and the players are all headed their separate ways. Me? Well, this bird finally got that timeshare above the Nathan’s in Coney Island, after years of slumming above the franchise at 86th Street in Bensonhurst.
In March I jumped up the list after a few gulls met an untimely demise. Well, actually, it was quite timely for me. And just like that I was at the top of the waiting list, but there was still the issue of Mrs. Sasha, the sparrow that has been squatting there since the ’70s. She never leaves!
But on the first nice day of the year, as the story goes, she stepped out for a quick fly around the block, and bam! Flattened by the B36. They say she never saw it coming.
Anyway, I’ll be sitting talons up, crushing Thunderbirds and enjoying all the throwaways the Coney Island Boardwalk has to offer.
The players on the Nets, on the other hand, will not be enjoying any part of their summer.
When the series with the Hawks was tied 2–2, the Nets had the borough buzzing. But when the Hawks made quick work of the Nets in games five and six, everyone suddenly remembered the team with the NBA’s largest payroll was doomed to toil in mediocrity.
That is until mediocrity turns into crap, which it easily could this offseason. Brooklyn’s two best players down the stretch, Brook Lopez, our favorite flat-footed jumpers, and Thaddeus Young, the most athletic Net, might take their rich butts and fly a bit further south and west of Coney. They can both opt out of their current contracts and seek big paydays on the open market with a contender.
And really, can you blame them? Billy King has been trying to deal Lopez for the last three years. And you know the Big Lug reads all about it in the blogosphere. Even for a guy of his stature, the constant dangling as trade bait has got to cut to his core.
And Young doesn’t owe the Nets anything. He spent less than half the season in Brooklyn and has no real allegiance to the borough where I nest. At only 26 years of age, he should have plenty of suitors if he wants to play for a contender.
Joe Johnson and Deron Williams will be one year older, which, unless they find the fountain of youth or get on the Lance Armstrong diet, means the disturbing pattern of losing more games each year is more than likely to continue.
What about rookies, you ask? Well, as part of the Joe Johnson trade, the Hawks and Nets swapped first round picks this year, meaning the Nets pick 29th and the Hawks 15th. And picking 29th is like sitting behind Joey Chestnut at the hot-dog-eating contest on the Fourth of July in hopes of picking up some scraps — they are tough to come by.
By my calculations that would leave the Nets with aging one-time stars, departed actual stars, no draft picks, and no money to lure free agents.
You want the glass half-full outlook? Well, too bad. My bottle of Thunderbird is all the way empty.
So this summer, do me a favor. Pick up a forty for me and drop it under the Boardwalk near W. 16th Street. And don’t tell my cousin Sandy you left it there for me.