In 1977, the team returned to New Jersey and played as the New Jersey Nets from 1977 to 2012. During this time, the Nets won two consecutive Eastern Conference championships (in the 2001–02 and 2002–03 seasons), but failed to win a league title. In the summer of 2012, the team moved to Barclays Center, and took its current geographic name.
1967 to 1976 – The ABA years
The franchise was established in 1967 as part of the American Basketball Association, with trucking magnate Arthur Brown as the owner. Brown had operated several AAU teams in and around New York City, and was viewed as an ideal pick to run the league's New York franchise. The team was originally known as the New York Americans, and Brown intended for it to play at the 69th Regiment Armory on Manhattan's east side, but pressure from the New York Knicks forced the Armory to back out three months before opening day.
Brown found it difficult to find a suitable venue in New York. Some were booked solid, and others had owners who didn't want to anger the Knicks by opening their doors to a rival team. Since the team was scrambling for a venue, they had to finally settle on the Armory in Teaneck, New Jersey, and changed its squad name to the New Jersey Americans, though its franchise name remained the New York Americans. It would not be the last time the Knicks directly altered the franchise's future.
The Americans did fairly well in their first season, tying the Kentucky Colonels for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Division. However, the Armory was booked, forcing the Americans to scramble for a last-minute replacement. They found one in the Long Island Arena in Commack, New York.
However, when the Americans and Colonels arrived, they found a bizarre scene. The floor had several missing boards and bolts, and was unstable in several areas (one player claimed to have seen one side of the floor come up when he stepped on another). There was no padding on the backboards or basket supports, and one basket appeared to be higher than the other. There was also a large amount of condensation from a hockey game the previous night. After the Colonels refused to play, league commissioner George Mikan ruled that the Americans had failed to provide acceptable playing conditions and forfeited the game to the Colonels.
For the second year, the team opted to stay at the Long Island Arena, where it changed its name to the New York Nets. The team was renamed to "Nets" to rhyme with the names of two other professional sports teams that played in the New York metropolitan area at the time: Major League Baseball's New York Mets and the American Football League's New York Jets. "Nets" was also a nickname that related to basketball in general, since it is part of the hoop.
The team finished last in its first New York season and drew a paltry 1,108 a game – about half of what it had drawn a year earlier. They posted a hideous 17–61 record, and shuffled 23 different players on and off the roster. Brown sold the team to clothing manufacturer Roy Boe after that season. Boe got busy right away during the 1969 off-season. After failing in their pursuit for UCLA star Lew Alcindor, who was drafted and then signed by the National Basketball Association's Milwaukee Bucks, the team acquired Rick Barry from the Virginia Squires and the Island Garden in West Hempstead became their new home. The Nets finished in third place and in the playoffs in 1969–70, and attendance went up threefold to 3,504. After more than two years at the Island Garden, the team moved to the new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale for the end of the 1971–72 season.
In 1972, two years after the acquisition of Barry, the Nets advanced to the ABA finals. However, they could not overcome the Indiana Pacers and lost the series four games to two. Barry left after that postseason, sending the Nets into rebuilding mode. The 1972–73 season was one of disappointment, as the Nets only won 30 games.
The 1973–74 season saw the Nets finally put all the pieces together. The key event of the season though would come in the 1973 offseason, however, as the Nets acquired Julius Erving from the Virginia Squires. With Erving, who was affectionately known as "Dr. J", the Nets ended the season with a franchise record 55 victories. After Erving was voted the ABA's MVP, the Nets advanced in the playoffs and won their first title, defeating the Utah Stars in the 1974 ABA Finals.
The success continued into the 1974–75 season as they topped the previous season's win record by winning 58 games —a record that still stands to this day. The Nets, though, were eliminated four games to one, by the Spirits of St. Louis in the first round of the 1975 ABA playoffs.
The Nets continued their winning ways in the 1975–76 season—the final season for the ABA—with Erving leading them to a successful 55-win season; he also was named MVP again that year. After a grueling series with the Denver Nuggets, the Nets won the last ABA championship series in league history in six games, giving the Nets their second championship in three years.
1976 to 1980 – Move to the NBA and back to New Jersey
The summer of 1976 saw the ABA-NBA merger finally take place. As part of the merger agreement, four teams from the ABA—the Nets, Nuggets, Pacers and San Antonio Spurs—joined the NBA. The Nets and Nuggets had actually applied to join the NBA in 1975, but were forced to play a lame-duck season in the ABA by court order. Prior to their first NBA season, the Nets traded two draft picks to the Kansas City Kings for guard Nate Archibald. The Nets appeared to be poised to pick up where they left off in the ABA.
However, they got a rude surprise when the NBA forced the Nets to pay an additional $4.8 million directly to the Knicks for "invading" the New York area. Coming on the heels of the $3.2 million that the team had to pay for joining the NBA, this left Boe short of cash, and he was forced to renege on a promised pay raise for Erving. Erving refused to play for the Nets under these conditions, leaving Boe no choice but to sell Erving to the Philadelphia 76ers for $3 million—roughly the same amount they had to pay for NBA membership.
Without Erving, the Nets wrote off the season as a lost cause. However, they lost all semblance of respectability when Archibald broke his foot in January. The team finished at 22–60, the worst record in the league. The team did set one record of sorts; in February 1977, they became the first NBA team ever to have an all-left-handed starting lineup, with Tim Bassett, Al Skinner, Bubbles Hawkins, Dave Wohl, and Kim Hughes.
Prior to the 1977–78 season, Boe moved the franchise back to New Jersey, renaming the team the New Jersey Nets. While the team awaited the completion of a new arena at the Meadowlands Sports Complex, they played four seasons at the Rutgers Athletic Center (later renamed the Louis Brown Athletic Center) on the Kilmer Campus (now "Livingston" Campus) of Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ. In 1978, Boe sold the team to a group of seven local businessmen (led by Joe Taub and Alan N. Cohen) who became known as the "Secaucus Seven". (The name was a reference to the John Sayles movie Return of the Secaucus 7, which itself was a pun on the 60s radical group the Chicago Seven.) The first four years in New Jersey were disappointing, as the Nets failed to post a winning season.
A promising start to the decade (1980–85)
The team moved into the Brendan Byrne Arena (known as the Continental Airlines Arena starting in 1996, and renamed the Izod Center in October 2007) in 1981 and experienced modest success with four consecutive winning seasons. In 1982–83, while coached by Larry Brown, the Nets were having their best season since joining the NBA. However, Brown accepted the head coaching job at the University of Kansas during the last month of the season and was suspended for the rest of the season. The Nets would never recover from the coaching change and would lose in the first round of the playoffs to their Hudson River rival New York Knicks.
In the 1983–84 season, the Nets fielded what was believed to be their best team since joining the league. Led by Darryl Dawkins, Buck Williams, Otis Birdsong, and Micheal Ray Richardson, the team won their first NBA playoff series, defeating the defending champion 76ers in the first round of the 1984 NBA Playoffs before falling to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals in six games.
Injuries plagued the team during the 1984–85 season, but the Nets still managed to win 42 games before being eliminated from the playoffs by the Detroit Pistons in three games. New Jersey would not have a winning record until another eight seasons (1992–93).
Injuries and other misfortunes (1986–89)
Newly hired head coach Dave Wohl helped lead the Nets to a respectable record at the beginning of the 1985–86 season, posting a 23–14 start. New Jersey's promising start dissipated with the loss of two of its top scorers. All-Star Micheal Ray Richardson flunked a drug test for the third time and was banned from the league for life, and star center Darryl Dawkins only played 39 games due to a back injury. Long-time Nets veterans Buck Williams and Mike Gminski filled in the gap and powered the club on both offense and defense, helping the Nets earn the 7th seed in the 1986 NBA Playoffs before being swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. (The Nets would not qualify for the playoffs until the 1991–92 NBA season).
New Jersey acquired Orlando Woolridge and drafted Dwayne "Pearl" Washington in hopes of strengthening the faltering team, yet the season only brought more misfortune to the Garden State. Dawkins slipped in his bathtub and suffered another back injury, effectively ending his career. Birdsong played in only seven games while nursing a shin stress fracture and Washington had a shoddy rookie year performance. A formerly solid backcourt soon became plagued with injuries and contract disputes. The Nets ended the 1986–87 season with a 24–58 record, the club's worst finish since 1980.
Hoping to maximize the team's health in the upcoming season, the Nets traded injury-plagued Dawkins in a three-way deal that brought John Bagley and Keith Lee to New Jersey. The Nets selected Dennis Hopson (over Scottie Pippen, Reggie Miller and Kevin Johnson) as the third pick of the 1987 NBA draft in hopes of re-establishing a stable backcourt . However the injury bug bit again when Bagley, Lee and reserve Tony Brown became hurt at the start of the upcoming 1987–88 season. New Jersey axed coach Wohl after 15 games, going through three coaches, in what would be the franchise's worst record since entering the NBA, finishing with a second-to-last place league finish.
Hopson was never able to live up to the organization's expectations and the subsequent first round draft picks of Chris Morris (1988) and Mookie Blaylock (1989) failed to prevent the team from earning the worst record in the NBA and in team history by the turn of the decade.
During the early 1990s the Nets began to improve behind a core of young players. New Jersey drafted forward Derrick Coleman with the first pick of the 1990 draft and then took guard Kenny Anderson with the second pick of the following draft. The Nets later added Dražen Petrović in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. Although the Nets did not finish with a winning record in the 1991-92 season, they finished sixth overall in the conference and qualified for the playoffs. The Nets lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round, three games to one, and coach Bill Fitch left after the season.
Chuck Daly era (1992–94)
The team improved significantly in 1992–93, led by the emerging trio of Petrovic, Coleman and Anderson. Chuck Daly, who had been let go by the Detroit Pistons following the 1991-92 season, was hired by the Nets and immediately paid dividends. However, injuries to both Anderson and Petrovic toward the end of the season sent the team into a 1–10 slump to end the regular season. The Nets finished the season at 43–39, which again earned them the sixth seed and a date with the Cavaliers in the first round. With Anderson out with a broken hand and Petrovic playing on an injured knee, the Nets lost a tough five-game series.
The Nets experienced tragedy in the offseason, as Petrovic was killed in an auto accident in Germany. Still, the team managed to win 45 games during the 1993–94 season. Anderson and Coleman made their only All-Star appearances this season. The Nets again qualified for the playoffs as the East's sixth seed, but were eliminated by the New York Knicks the first round of the 1994 NBA Playoffs, three games to one.
Butch Beard era (1994–96)
After the 1993-94 season Daly resigned and Butch Beard was hired to be the team's head coach. The Nets struggled through the rest of the decade. During the mid-1990s the NBA's main image problem was that of the selfish, immature athlete and if one wanted to see a team that embodied that image, all one had to do was look at the Nets. In 1995, Coleman was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the poster child of the selfish NBA player, but with Anderson, Benoit Benjamin, Dwayne Schintzius and Chris Morris also on the roster, there were plenty of candidates for SI to choose from. The team's image was so poor that in an effort to shed its losing image, management considered renaming the team "Swamp Dragons" or the "Fire Dragons" in 1994, but rejected the idea. In both the 1994–95 and 1995–96 seasons, the Nets finished with identical 30–52 records. Beard was fired after the second of those two seasons.
Calipari era (1996–99)
In an effort to start anew, Coleman and Anderson were both traded during the 1995–96 season and New Jersey hired UMass head coach John Calipari to coach the team. Kerry Kittles was selected in the 1996 NBA Draft and midway through the 1996–97 season, the team traded for Sam Cassell. After a 26–56 win–loss season, the Nets made a major draft-day trade in June 1997, acquiring Keith Van Horn, Lucious Harris and two other players for Tim Thomas. The only player from the early 1990s that the Nets retained was Jayson Williams, who was developing into a rebounding specialist.
The 1997–98 season saw several changes for the Nets. The first saw the discarding of the team's previous logo in favor of the current logo the team still has. The second was the team's style of play, which resulted in the Nets staying in playoff contention for most of the season. The team played well under Calipari, winning 43 games and qualifying for the playoffs on the last day of the season. Power forward Jayson Williams was selected as a reserve in the 1998 NBA All-Star Game. The Nets were seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference and lost to the Chicago Bulls in the 1998 playoffs in three straight games. The Nets played well and came close to taking the first two games.
End of the "Secaucus Seven" (1998–99)
The "Secaucus Seven" sold the team in 1998 to a group of local real estate developers led by Raymond Chambers and Lewis Katz, who called themselves the "Community Youth Organization" and had an intent of moving the team to Newark, New Jersey. The next year the group signed an agreement with New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to form YankeeNets, a holding company that would own the two teams along with increasing leverage in future broadcast contracts by negotiating together. After getting offers from numerous broadcast partners, including what was their current rights holder Cablevision, YankeeNets decided to launch a new regional sports television called YES Network.
The 1998–99 season was delayed for three months due to an owners' lockout of the players. When the abbreviated 50-game season began, the Nets were a fashionable choice by experts as a surprise team after their previous run. However, Cassell was injured in the first game and the team started poorly. With the Nets underachieving at 3–15, the Nets traded Cassell to the Bucks, while the Nets acquired Stephon Marbury from the Minnesota Timberwolves. After two more losses, Calipari was fired and replaced by assistant coach Don Casey. The team never recovered from its poor start to finish at 16–34. With the Nets already eliminated from playoff contention in April, Marbury collided with Williams in a game against the Atlanta Hawks; Williams broke his tibia, the second time he had suffered such an injury in two years, and would never play in the NBA again.
In 2000, the Nets hired as the team president Rod Thorn, a longtime NBA executive best known for drafting Michael Jordan while he was the Bulls' general manager. Immediately, he began to assemble the components of the franchise's most talented team since the ABA champions of the mid-1970s. He started by hiring former NBA star Byron Scott as coach. With the first pick in the notoriously weak 2000 Draft, the Nets selected Kenyon Martin from the University of Cincinnati. Stephon Marbury and Keith Van Horn had become stars in New Jersey. Marbury made the All-NBA 3rd Team in 2000 and his very first All-Star Game in 2001. But despite his individual efforts, constant injuries hindered the team's chemistry and the Nets failed to reach to the playoffs in each of Marbury's seasons as a starter. On the night of the 2001 Draft, they traded the rights to their first round selection (Eddie Griffin) to the Houston Rockets for Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Brandon Armstrong, and selected Brian Scalabrine in the second round. The trade was widely considered a smart move by the Nets as they needed to get younger and clear out much of the dead weight that was on the bench, as the Nets had the lowest scoring and oldest bench in the league the previous season.
2001–04: Jason Kidd era
Just one day after the 2001 Draft, Thorn made his boldest move. He traded all-star Marbury and role player Johnny Newman to the Phoenix Suns for all-star/All-NBA point guard Jason Kidd and center Chris Dudley (whom the Nets later released). The move gave the team something it had been lacking for practically its entire NBA existence, a floor leader who also made his teammates better. The Nets also signed former 76ers center Todd MacCulloch, who at the time was considered to be a rising center in the league. That season, the Nets had their best season in their NBA history and in the process became one of the most exciting teams in the league. The team won its first Atlantic Division title, finishing the regular season at 52–30 and were seeded first in Eastern Conference and faced Indiana in the first round of the 2002 NBA Playoffs.
After losing the first game at home, the Nets then went on to win the next two games, before losing game four on the road. In front of a sellout crowd, the Nets played one of the more memorable games in NBA Playoff history in game five. The Nets led by nine points with five minutes remaining in regulation, however Reggie Miller made a 35-foot three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. After Miller sent the game into double-overtime with a driving dunk, the Nets pulled away for a 120–109 victory. It is the only game in NBA history to end every quarter—the first quarter, first half, third quarter, second half, and first overtime—tied.
In the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, they defeated the Charlotte Hornets four games to one to advance to the Eastern Conference Championship for the first time facing the Boston Celtics. This series is remembered for Kidd having his left eye swollen shut diving for a loose ball in game, he received 32 stitches. After winning game one versus the Celtics, the Nets lost game two at home. In game three, the Nets led by 21 points going into the final period, but a tremendous Celtic comeback gave the Celtics a 94–90 victory and a 2–1 series lead. In game four played on Memorial Day afternoon in Boston, the Nets led most of the way but once again the Celtics found a way to tie the game with a minute remaining. However, in this game the Nets made enough plays at the end of the game to win it—Harris made two free throws with 6.6 seconds left and when Paul Pierce missed two free throws that would have tied the game with 1 second left, the series was tied at two games each. In game five, the Nets went on a 20–1 run early in the fourth quarter to coast to a 103–92 victory and a 3–2 lead in the series. In game 6, the Nets trailed by 10 at halftime, but rallied in the second half to take the lead. Van Horn's three pointer off a Kittles pass with 50 seconds left in the game clinched the Nets their first Eastern Conference Championship, four games to two.
Before the 2002–03 season, the Nets traded Van Horn and MacCulloch to obtain Dikembe Mutombo from the 76ers. The move to improve the team did not work out as Mutombo sat out most of the season with a wrist injury, but received little time in the playoffs due to differences with coach Byron Scott. Despite Mutombo's absence, the Nets finished with a 49–33 record and repeated as Atlantic Division champs. Kidd in the process had his best season ever and contributions from Kenyon Martin, Richard Jefferson, and Sixth Man of The Year Runner-Up Lucious Harris soften the load. In the 2003 NBA Playoffs, the Nets won their second consecutive Eastern Conference championship. They defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs four games to two, then swept the Celtics and Detroit Pistons in consecutive series to advance to the 2003 NBA Finals, this time facing the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs. They split the first four games in the series. At the same time, the Nets' home court hosted the New Jersey Devils third Stanley Cup celebration in 9 years, following their 3–0 win over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. However the Nets played erratically in a Game 5 loss at home to go down in the series three games to two. In Game 6, the Nets led the Spurs by 10 points on the road with 10 minutes remaining, but the Spurs went on a 19–0 run to take the title in six games, which denied the state of New Jersey the distinction of having both NBA and NHL titles in the same year.
Following the 2003 Finals, Kidd became a free agent and the Spurs pursued signing him away from the Nets. However, Kidd re-signed with the Nets, stating that he had "unfinished business" in New Jersey. Another factor in Kidd's decision was the signing of free-agent Alonzo Mourning. But Mourning's tenure with the Nets would be disastrous, as he missed most of the 2003–04 season due to a kidney ailment.
During the 2003–04 season, New Jersey performed poorly early in the season, and in late December head coach Byron Scott was fired. Lawrence Frank became the interim head coach on January 26, 2004, succeeding Scott, after serving as an assistant coach with the team since the 2000–01 season.
However, the Nets rebounded from this early season lull, and again won the Atlantic Division title, and swept their crosstown rival Knicks in the first round. However, their run of conference championships was halted in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals by the eventual NBA champion Detroit Pistons. After the teams split the first four games, each won large routs at home, the Nets took Game 5 in Detroit in triple-overtime, only to fall short in Game 6 in New Jersey. The Pistons won Game 7 in a rout and took the series 4 games to 3. Jason Kidd, playing on an injured knee that eventually required surgery after the season, was held scoreless in Game 7.
2004–08: Kidd and Carter duo
After the season, The Nets were forced to revamp the team. They traded Kerry Kittles and Kenyon Martin to the Clippers and Nuggets respectively and released Rodney Rogers and longtime Net Lucious Harris, because new owner Bruce Ratner was unwilling to pay the remainder of their contracts. They received only draft picks in return for two key players in the team's recent success. Unbeknownst to New Jersey however, was the fact that Kittles went under the knife for the fifth time to correct his knee, and Martin would need microfracture surgery in both knees. The 2004–05 season looked gloomy at first for the Nets. Their star Kidd was recovering from his own microfracture surgery and the young Richard Jefferson was handed the reins for New Jersey. The team got off to a 2–11 start, and even with Jason Kidd returning from injury, the outlook was bleak. However, the Nets made a major deal by obtaining disgruntled star Vince Carter from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Mourning, who was released by the Raptors (and subsequently rejoined the Miami Heat), Eric Williams, Aaron Williams and draft picks. Mourning himself had become disgruntled, saying the Nets "betrayed" him and that New Jersey's progress to that point was not what he "signed up for". This move made the Nets major players again, as they featured one of the top 1-2-3's in the league with Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson respectively. However, it was short lived, as Jefferson was injured in a game against the Detroit Pistons, and would require season ending surgery.
However, this would not doom the Nets entirely. Teamed with Kidd, a rejuvenated Vince Carter rallied the team from being more than 10 games out of the playoffs to gain the final seed in the Eastern Conference with a win in the last game of the season. However, the Nets could not overcome Shaquille O'Neal again even with Jefferson back from his injury and were swept by the Heat in the first round of the 2005 NBA Playoffs.
During the offseason of 2005, the Nets actively pursued a starting-quality power forward through free agency. They had drafted Antoine Wright, a 6' 7" swingman because all the talented power forwards were taken in the draft, and still needed to fill the void left by Kenyon Martin.
Eventually settling on Shareef Abdur-Rahim, they actively courted him and gained his approval even though they could only offer him the mid-level exception. In order to get him a larger, more lucrative contract, the Nets pursued a sign-and-trade with Portland. There, negotiations hit a snag because Portland demanded a first-round draft pick, which the Nets adamantly refused to part with. Eventually, the Nets agreed to give Portland a protected first-round pick and their trade exception acquired from the Kerry Kittles trade. This allowed the Nets to keep their mid-level exception for signing other players. However, Thorn decided to void the Abdur-Rahim trade when he failed his physical examination because of a pre-existing knee injury. Abdur-Rahim would vehemently deny any injury and said he felt like "damaged goods". He would need surgery at the end of the '07 season. To fill Abdur-Rahim's slot on the roster, the Nets acquired Marc Jackson from the Sixers.
They used part of the remaining mid-level exception to re-sign Clifford Robinson for two years in response to Brian Scalabrine's departure. A back-up to Kidd was also sought and they actively courted free agents such as Keyon Dooling before eventually signing Jeff McInnis. McInnis was a non-factor in the Nets' season due to injury and eventually was traded.
The Nets started the 2005–06 season slowly, struggling to a 9–12 record in their first 21 games. However, behind strong play by Carter, Kidd, and Jefferson the team won their next 10 games (their final 8 games in December and first two games in January) to surge to top of the division. After the winning streak, the Nets returned to their earlier mediocre play (winning only 13 of their next 29 games), but starting on March 12 the Nets won their next 14 games in a row—the longest winning streak in the NBA that season and matching the franchise record set in 2004. The streak ended on April 8, 2006 when the Nets loss to the Cavaliers 108–102 at home. However, they also set a team record with 20 road victories that season.
The Nets finished the 2005–06 regular season with a 49–33 record. They clinched their 4th Atlantic Division championship in the last five seasons and the 3rd seed the Eastern Conference playoffs, playing the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the 2006 NBA Playoffs. It seemed they had returned to their elite status of a few years back. They defeated the Pacers and advanced to the second round where they played the Heat, in a rematch of 2005's first round Eastern Conference loss. On May 16, 2006, the Nets lost the best-of-seven series 4–1 to the Heat. Nets fans were left to wonder what might have been as Cliff Robinson, one of the team's key defenders against Shaq, was suspended following Game 1 of that series for failing a drug test.
Highlights of the season include the naming of Vince Carter to the All-Star Team in 2006. Originally named as a reserve, an injury to Jermaine O'Neal elevated Carter to a starting position. Kidd, meanwhile, was named to the NBA All-Defensive team at the end of the season.
The 2006–07 NBA season fared poorly for the Nets but finished on a bright note, as they suffered a barrage of injuries starting in the preseason to mid-December. Many experts predicted they would win the Atlantic easily (Charles Barkley went as far as to say the Nets would win the Eastern Conference), but the season did not turn out as hoped. The Nets finished the regular season at .500 (41–41) and lost the Atlantic Division title to the surprising Toronto Raptors. The early-season loss of Nenad Krstić to a freak knee injury and the two-month absence of Richard Jefferson caused by an ankle injury caused the Nets to stumble mid-season. However, Jefferson went back into action on March 9 against Houston and helped the Nets regain a winning momentum, allowing them to win 10 of their last 13 games. Among the highlights of the regular season were the naming of Kidd and Carter to the '07 East All-Star team and Kidd's selection to the 2007 All-Defensive 2nd Team. New Jersey finished with the 6th seed in the East and faced the 3rd seeded Toronto Raptors, feeding their newly developed rivalry. The Nets beat the Raptors in six games thanks in part to the fourth quarter heroics of Richard Jefferson on both ends of the floor lifting them to a one-point victory. Many sportswriters picked the Nets to beat Cleveland and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, but their playoff run ended in the following round as they fell to the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers 4–2 in the best-of-seven series. During their runs for the NBA title, New Jersey had been eliminated by three of the last four Eastern Conference champs, two of whom went on to win the title. In the 2007 NBA Draft, the Nets used the 17th pick to pick "troubled" Boston College player Sean Williams.
For the 2007–08 season, fans were excited for the upcoming season. With Krstić returning from injury and the additions of All-Star center Jamaal Magloire & 1st round pick Sean Williams (who was regarded as the best shot blocker in his draft class), the Nets were anticipated to remain a contender in the East. But it resulted in what many Nets fans considered the most disappointing season of the decade. Early injuries to Vince Carter and Nenad Krstić disrupted the Nets season from the get-go. With little bright notes, the season was a complete mess: a 9-game losing streak for the Nets, the Jason Kidd "headache", trading their franchise player, and not making it to the post season for the first time in 7 years. On February 19, 2008, Jason Kidd, Malik Allen, and Antoine Wright were traded to the Dallas Mavericks for future Nets All-Star Devin Harris, Keith Van Horn, Maurice Ager, DeSagana Diop, Trenton Hassell, $3 million, and 2008 and 2010 first round draft picks. However, despite young players like Josh Boone and Sean Williams becoming major contributors and Marcus Williams showing progress, there were few bright notes. Other noteworthy feats included Richard Jefferson's rank as number nine in scoring for the season, Vince Carter's emergence as the leader of the Nets, and Carter's average of at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists a game, an season accomplishment unique to him, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James. After failing to make it to the playoffs, team president Rod Thorn promised changes would be made, while Coach Lawrence Frank vowed that "a season like this will never happen again" under his tenure.
2008–09 season: Departures of Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter
The following offseason proved to be very busy for the Nets. On June 26, 2008, Richard Jefferson was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. Jefferson's departure, along with that of Jason Kidd earlier that year, marked the beginning of a new era in the Garden State. The Nets signed draftees Brook Lopez and Ryan Anderson, along with Chris Douglas-Roberts. The Nets filled out their youthful roster by signing veterans Eduardo Najera and Jarvis Hayes, and trading for Orlando point guard Keyon Dooling. The Nets finished the season with their second straight 34–48 record, tied for 11th in the Eastern Conference with the Milwaukee Bucks. Devin Harris made his 1st All-Star team and narrowly missed winning the NBA Most Improved Player award, and Brook Lopez finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting.
On September 24, 2009, Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia's 2nd richest man according to Forbes, confirmed his intention to become majority owner of the Nets. Prokhorov sent an offer to the team owners requesting that the control shareholding of the basketball club be sold to his company, Onexim, for a symbolic price. In return, Prokhorov would fund a loan for the construction of a $700 million arena in Brooklyn and attract additional funds from Western banks. Prokhorov stated that he initiated the deal to push Russian basketball to a new level of development.
After a 16th straight loss (against the Sacramento Kings) to start the 2009–2010 NBA season, the Nets fired head coach Lawrence Frank. Assistant coach Tom Barrise stepped in as a temporary replacement. He lost his first two games heading the team, an away game against the Los Angeles Lakers and then to the Dallas Mavericks at home, to set the mark for worst start to a season in NBA history at 0–18 (one more than the previous record holder, the 1988-89 Miami Heat). Kiki Vandeweghe replaced him as head coach on December 4, with Del Harris hired as his new assistant. The duo won their first game at home against the Charlotte Bobcats, 97–91, to break the Nets arduous 19-game losing streak stretching from the final game of the 2008–09 season, and to keep the record for worst start to a season at 18 straight.
On February 18, 2010, the Nets finalized a deal that would move them to the Prudential Center in Newark until the Barclays Center opens in Brooklyn.
On March 29, 2010, the Nets beat the San Antonio Spurs for the first time since the 2003 NBA Finals. The win was their 10th of the season, keeping them out of the record books for the worst season of all time, a distinction held by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers season. Still, the Nets finished with a 12-70 record, only the fifth team to lose 70 games in a season, shared by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers (9-73), 1986-87 Los Angeles Clippers (12-70), 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks (11-71) and 1997-98 Denver Nuggets (11-71).
Arrival of Deron Williams
On February 23, 2011, the Nets made a deadline deal to acquire two time All-Star point guard Deron Williams. The trade involved sending Devin Harris and rookie Derrick Favors to the Utah Jazz including draft picks and cash considerations.
Brooklyn Nets (2012–present)
In 2004, after failing to secure a deal for a new arena in Newark, New Jersey (eventually a new arena, the Prudential Center, was built in Newark for the New Jersey Devils), the YankeeNets sold the franchise to a group headed by real estate developer Bruce Ratner for $300 million, beating out a group led by Charles Kushner and Jon Corzine. While Kushner and Corzine wanted to keep the Nets in New Jersey, Ratner planned to move the team back to New York. In 2005, the Nets announced plans to locate the team in the Prospect Heightsneighborhood of Brooklyn. One of the members of the ownership group is rapper and Brooklyn native Jay-Z, who owns less than one-fifteenth of one percent but has been an outspoken face of the ownership team. The new arena, later named Barclays Center, would be the center of an extensive redevelopment project called the Atlantic Yards being constructed by Ratner's real estate development company. The new arena would be located across the street from the site that Walter O'Malley wanted to use for a new stadium for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the early 1950s. That plan was rejected and resulted in the team's relocation to Los Angeles in 1958. The Nets would be the first major professional sports team to play home games in Brooklyn since the departure of the Dodgers.
After numerous delays to the project, Russian businessman Mikhail Prokhorov agreed to a $200 million deal on September 23, 2009 to become a principal owner of the Nets and a key investor in the team's proposed home in Brooklyn, bringing in much needed funding and finally allowing for the new arena to be built. After the dismissal of major pending lawsuits, groundbreaking for Barclays Center occurred on March 11, 2010.
Brooklyn Nets secondary logo, 2012–present
On September 26, 2011, Jay-Z, the Nets' minority owner, announced that the team's new name after the move to Brooklyn would be the Brooklyn Nets.The team officially became the Brooklyn Nets on April 30, 2012. The team's new colors were announced to be black and white, and two official logos designed by Jay-Z were unveiled. The primary logo is a shield depicting the team name 'Nets', along with a basketball with an overlaid "B". The secondary logo is the same "B-ball" surrounded by a black circle with the text "Brooklyn" and "New York". The new logo's typeface and colors are meant to evoke New York City Subwayrollsigns from the 1950s when Brooklyn last had a major league sports team. This rebranding of the team led to a drastic increase in merchandise sales for the team. On the first two days that the new merchandise was available, total sales from the NBA Store were 10 times that of a typical year when the team was in New Jersey, and in the initial months of the 2012–13 NBA season, the Nets led all NBA teams in apparel sales.
In the 2012 NBA Draft, Brooklyn selected İlkan Karaman, and traded for the duo of Tyshawn Taylor and Tornike Shengelia for cash. On June 29, 2012, Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic met with the Magic's new General Manager Rob Hennigan in Los Angeles and demanded a trade to the Brooklyn Nets. However, once again the trade was not able to materialize, and the Nets reportedly pulled out of trade discussions on July 11, 2012. Instead, the team traded for six-time All-Star Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks. In return, the Nets sent Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, DeShawn Stevenson and a draft pick previously acquired from the Houston Rockets to Atlanta. On the same date, Deron Williams signed a five-year, $98.7 million deal to remain with the Nets. In addition, the Nets re-signed Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace to four-year deals. Together, Williams, Johnson, Wallace and Lopez were marketed by the team as the "Core Four".
The Brooklyn Nets played their first game on November 3, 2012 in a 107–100 home victory over the Toronto Raptors. The first game was to be against the crosstown New York Knicks; however, that game was postponed to November 26 due to effects of Hurricane Sandy and the rescheduled game was won by the Nets in a 96–89 overtime victory in front of the soldout crowd at Barclays Center.
The Nets started the season strong, going 11-4 in the month of November, and as a result Avery Johnson won Coach of the Month for the,2013. Eastern Conference. However, in an abrupt turn of fortunes, a rough stretch in December in which Brooklyn went 3-10 led to Johnson being fired as head coach, with assistant coach P. J. Carlesimo being named interim head coach until a replacement is hired. Johnson's firing proved to be a spark for the team as Brooklyn caught fire once more, going 11-4 for the month of January, and heading into the All-Star break with a record of 31-22. Center Brook Lopez was selected to his first All-Star Game as the Nets' lone representation at the game.
Riding a strong second half of the season from Deron Williams, the Nets clinched their first playoff berth since the 2006-07 season on March 21, 2013. On April 3, 2013, Brooklyn ended an eight-game road trip by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-95 for the team's 21st road win, clinching the first winning road record in the franchise's time in the NBA.
Brooklyn played its first ever playoff series in the borough versus the Chicago Bulls. After defeating the undermanned Bulls in a blowout in Game 1, the Nets then proceeded to lose Games 2 and 3 before giving up a 17-point lead in the final minutes of the 4th Quarter in Game 4 and losing in overtime. The Nets would manage to win the next two games, only to lose Game 7 in Brooklyn. With the season over, the Nets announced that P. J. Carlesimo will not return as head coach.
Radio and television
The television home of the Nets is currently the YES Network, which the Nets joined after the merger of the operations of the Yankees and Nets (under the corporation banner YankeeNets). After the dissolution of YankeeNets and Bruce Ratner's purchase of the team, YES signed a long term deal to keep broadcasting Nets games. The sale to the Ratner group did not include the percentage of YES that was previously owned by the Nets, which remains with the pre-merger Nets owners. Prior to that the Nets' TV home was Fox Sports Net New York and SportsChannel New York.
The current flagship radio station of the Nets is WFAN, who took over the radio rights to the Nets after losing their basketball contract with the Knicks (who moved to WEPN). Prior to that, Nets games aired on WNEW-AM, WMCA, WVNJ-AM, WNBC-AM, WQEW, and WOR.
In the club's early ABA years, some Sunday road games were televised in a package carried by WPIX-TV. The team's later ABA tenure featured more frequent road telecasts on current broadcast partner, WWOR-TV. Known then as WOR-TV it continued airing road games for a time once the team joined the NBA in 1976.
Marv Albert and Ian Eagle share television duties for the Nets. Albert calls a majority of the games; Eagle subs when Albert is not available due to other commitments. Chris Carrino is the radio voice for the Nets. He also calls select games on television whenever Eagle and Albert are unavailable. Mike Fratello and Jim Spanarkel also share the YES color analyst duties (Fratello on the majority of the games; Spanarkel on games when Fratello is on TNT), with Tim Capstraw providing analysis on the radio.
Other broadcasters who have worked for the Nets include Howard David, Bob Papa, Bill Raftery, Kelly Tripucka, Albert King, Mike O'Koren, Spencer Ross, Mel Proctor, Joe Tait, John Sterling, Mike DiTomasso, WFAN update man John Minko and Mark Jackson.
During the club's ABA years, announcers included Marty Glickman, Marv's brother, Steve Albert, baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson, Bob Goldsholl, as well as Sterling and DiTomasso. The latter two joined the club's move into the NBA.
- Teaneck Armory (1967–1968)
- Long Island Arena (1968–1969)
- Island Garden (1969–1972)
- Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (1972–1977)
- Rutgers Athletic Center (1977–1981)
- Izod Center (1981–2010)
- Prudential Center (2010–2012)
- Barclays Center (2012-present)
Basketball Hall of Fame players
- Nate Archibald – played one season with Nets, 1976–77, the last season on Long Island
- Rick Barry – played for the Nets only while the team was a member of the ABA
- Julius Erving – played for the Nets only while the team was a member of the ABA
- Dražen Petrović – played 3 seasons for the Nets, died in a car accident after Nets were eliminated from 1993 NBA Playoffs
- 3 – Dražen Petrović, G, 1990–93
- 4 – Wendell Ladner, F, 1974–75 (Not in the rafters)
- 23 – John Williamson, G, 1973–80
- 25 – Bill Melchionni, G, 1969–76
- 32 – Julius Erving, F, 1973–76
- 52 – Buck Williams, F, 1981–89
- Rod Thorn – 2002
- Jason Kidd – 2002, 2004
- Jason Kidd – 2002, 2006
- Bernard King – 1978
- Buck Williams – 1982
- Derrick Coleman 1991
- Keith Van Horn – 1998
- Kenyon Martin – 2001
- Brook Lopez – 2009
- Chris Morris – 1989
- Kerry Kittles – 1997
- Richard Jefferson – 2002
- Nenad Krstic – 2004
- Marcus Williams – 2007
- MarShon Brooks – 2012
New York Knicks
The Knicks are considered New Jersey's biggest rival due to their close proximity, being partly responsible for the Nets having to sell one the franchise's greatest players, Dr. J, and receiving more notoriety in the media, no matter how the two teams are faring. Julius Erving was sold because the Nets were considered "encroachers" on the Knicks territory once the team transferred to the NBA. Additionally, as New Jerseyans are typically subject to jokes about where they live from New Yorkers, this provides more fuel to the rivalry. Although for most of their respective histories, the Nets and Knicks traded dominance in the NY area, the rivalry began to heat up in the early 2000s. With the trade of Stephon Marbury for franchise savior Jason Kidd, the Nets became the class of the Eastern conference. Due to the long-noted discrepancy in media coverage between the New York and New Jersey ball clubs, upon being signed Kidd promised the Nets would no longer play second fiddle to the Knicks. Over the next few years the Nets handily defeated the Knicks in the majority of their games (20–4). The rivalry was again turned up a notch, when Stephon Marbury, the once vilified point guard in New Jersey who was traded to Phoenix for Kidd, was traded to the Knicks in 2004. Marbury and Kidd had a rivalry of their own and with Marbury declaring himself the league's best point guard, both teams were motivated to prove their worth. Some members of the Knicks went so far as to say that they wanted to face New Jersey (the reigning two time Eastern Conference champ at the time) in the playoffs. The Nets swept the Knicks in the first round in 2004. Though both teams have been on the decline in recent years, the rivalry between the two teams and their fans is still fierce. When the Nets play the Knicks at home, cheers and boos can be heard for both teams. This is because the teams are only separated by the Hudson River, and it was comparatively cheaper for Knicks fans to see their team at the Prudential Center rather than Madison Square Garden. Currently, the rivalry is tied at 81-81.
The Boston Celtics became rivals of the Nets in the early 2000s due to their respective locations. Bill Walton said at the time that Nets-Celtics was the "beginning of the next great NBA rivalry" during the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002.Template:Citation needed Kenyon Martin said "Our fans hate them, their fans hate us." Although the Celtics are currently one of the best teams in the East and the Nets are rebuilding, the fact that both are in the Atlantic Division and the New York–New England dynamic maintain the Nets-Celtics rivalry.
- Logos Gallery - A gallery of this organization's logos.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "New York Americans" (PDF). http://www.remembertheaba.com/TeamMaterial/NewJerseyMaterial/AmericansArticlePart1.pdf. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- ↑ "1967-68 ABA Regular Season Standings". remembertheaba.com. http://www.remembertheaba.com/PlayoffPages/1968Playoffs.html. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 http://www.remembertheaba.com/PlayoffPages/1972Playoffs.html
- ↑ "1972-73 ABA Regular Season Standings". remembertheaba.com. http://www.remembertheaba.com/PlayoffPages/1973Playoffs.html. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
- ↑ http://www.remembertheaba.com/PlayoffPages/1975Playoffs.html
- ↑ "1975-76 Regular Season Standings". remembertheaba.com. http://www.remembertheaba.com/PlayoffPages/1976Playoffs.html. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
- ↑ Pluto, Terry, Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association (Simon & Schuster, 1990), ISBN 978-1-4165-4061-8, p. 425
- ↑ "New Jersey Nets: Where Badness Happens". espn.go.com. November 24, 2009. http://espn.go.com/blog/sportscenter/post/_/id/4095/new-jersey-nets-where-badness-happens.
- ↑ "Fashionable New Name for Arena", The New York Times, October 5, 2007. Accessed October 11, 2007. "On October 31, when the Nets open their season against the Chicago Bulls, the Meadowlands arena named for Continental Airlines for 12 years will be rechristened the Izod Center. Izod will pay $1.4 million a year in cash for the first two years of the five-year agreement, which will be cut to $750,000 annually in 2009 when the Nets are expected to move to Brooklyn."
- ↑ "1985 NBA Playoff Summary". Basketball-Reference.com. http://www.basketball-reference.com/playoffs/NBA_1985.html. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 "Basketball-reference.com: New Jersey Nets Franchise Index". Sports Reference LLC. http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/NJN. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Goldaper, Sam (1987-11-05). "The 1987-88 Nets; New Season, Same Old Problems". New York Times: p. B13. http://www.nytimes.com/1987/11/05/sports/the-1987-88-nets-new-season-same-old-problems.html. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- ↑ Surgery for Dawkins. New York Times, 1987-02-19.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Emmons, Donald (1987-06-23). "Jackson a Knick, Nets pick Hopson; Big plans for Ohio Star". New York Times: p. A25. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40715F83F580C708EDDAF0894DF484D81. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
- ↑ "Basketball-reference.com: 1987-88 NBA Season Summary". Sports Reference LLC. http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_1988.html. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- ↑ Brown, Clifton (1990-06-27). "Nets Continue to Deal, Trading Hopson to Bulls". New York Times: p. A20. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30612FD3C5E0C748EDDAF0894D8494D81. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- ↑ "Complete First Round Results — 1990-99". NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/history/draft_round1_1990s.html. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- ↑ "Lawrence Frank". Nba.com. http://www.nba.com/coachfile/lawrence_frank/. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- ↑ "2005-06 New Jersey Nets Schedule and Results". http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/NJN/2006_games.html. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- ↑ "ESPN - Nets send top scorer Jefferson to Bucks for Yi, Simmons - NBA". Sports.espn.go.com. 2008-06-27. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/draft2008/news/story?id=3462210. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 "NBA General Managers - Rod Thorn". HoopsHype. http://hoopshype.com/general_managers/rod_thorn.htm. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- ↑ "Nets send Vince Carter to Magic in 5-player deal". Sports.yahoo.com. http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=At2lm3x2326USMfME_CNIzq8vLYF?slug=ap-nets-magictrade&prov=ap&type=lgns. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- ↑ "Mikhail Prokhorov Buys New Jersey Nets to Build Them New Arena". Pravda.ru. 2009-09-24. http://english.pravda.ru/business/finance/109479-0. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- ↑ "New Jersey Nets fire coach Lawrence Frank - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2009-11-30. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4697789. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- ↑ Wojnarowski, Adrian (2010-07-28). "Streak sends Nets careening into history - NBA - Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-netsstreak120209&prov=yhoo&type=lgns. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- ↑ 12:18. "The reluctant interim: Kiki Vandeweghe - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN". Espn.go.com. http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/11080/the-reluctant-interim-kiki-vandeweghe. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- ↑ "Charlotte Bobcats vs. New Jersey Nets - Recap - December 04, 2009 - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2009-12-04. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=291204017. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- ↑ " "Billy King Named New Nets GM". gothamist.com. July 14, 2010. http://gothamist.com/2010/07/14/nets_announce_billy_king_as_new_gm.php".
- ↑ " "Nets name King general manager". espn.com. July 14, 2010. http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/nba/news/story?id=5379705".
- ↑ http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/nba/news/story?id=6150419
- ↑ Garcia, Julian; Lawrence, Mitch (February 2, 2010). "New Jersey Nets nearing move to Newark, will play in Prudential Center until move to Brooklyn". Daily News (New York). http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/2010/02/02/2010-02-02_netting_newark.html. Retrieved 2010-07-27.