TooAthletic Takes

Some still call Madison Square Garden “The Mecca” of basketball, an regardless of if that is still true or not, playing, and winning in New York City is still special to some players.  With Thursday’s trade with the Atlanta Hawks, the Brooklyn Nets are expected make some max offers in free agency this summer; and if players are smart, they will realize that it’s not “The Mecca,” but to Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center that is the best place to play basketball in New York.

Getting rid of Allen Crabbe’s $18.5 Million contact gives the Brooklyn Nets $46 Million in cap space heading into the free agency signing person next month.  This is enough for two max players or for one player and to resign D’Angelo Russell, who is coming off an All-Star season after being traded away by, whom else, the Los Angeles Lakers.  It already sounds like at least one free agent to be, Kyrie Irving, is seriously interested in joining the Brooklyn Nets after being linked with the New York Knicks off and on for more than a year.

With many players weary of playing for a dysfunctional franchise with a less than popular owner, “The Mecca” might prove for many players to be a nice place to visit; but NBA players may not want to live there.  Yet many players might notice that the bright lights of New York City reach across the East River and into Brooklyn; and with a solid organization, the Nets are, even for the most honest of Knicks fans, a better free agency destination.

Don’t discount how players around the league view Knicks’ owner James Dolan.  His highly publicized run-ins with fans and his treatment of New York fan favorite Charles Oakley made headlines and caught the attention of many players.  Yes, Dolan does employ many ex-Knicks as team ambassadors; however, his reputation around the league is that of a bully and dictator who keeps files on members of the media who ruffle his feathers and get under his thin skin.

With former Knicks second-round pick Sean Marks running the Brooklyn Nets as their general manager, the disaster that was the Billy King era is over and the franchise is finally beginning to rise from the ashes.  After proving that they have playoff level talent on their, the Brooklyn Nets are ready to add a start to lift the team into the top levels of the Eastern Conference standings and compete with Boston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Toronto.  The team has been on the right track for years and, this year, is ready to make its big move, and players should look to become part of winning in New York with the best team in the city, the Brooklyn Nets.

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