Nets Owner Backs Team Leaders Amid Durant’s Reported Ultimatum | Big Indy News
Connect with us

Sports

Nets Owner Backs Team Leaders Amid Durant’s Reported Ultimatum

Published

on

Joe Tsai, the owner of the Nets, issued a statement of support for the team’s front office and coaching staff on Twitter Monday evening and added, “We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

The tweet appeared to be in response to a report from The Athletic that said the team’s star forward, Kevin Durant, was still insistent that the Nets meet a trade demand he made in June. Durant, one of the N.B.A.’s best players, met with Tsai in person over the weekend, The Athletic reported, and conditioned his staying with the team on the removal of Coach Steve Nash and General Manager Sean Marks. (Durant previously had publicly lauded Nash, who just completed his second year as the Nets’ coach, saying in the spring that the coach had handled the Nets “perfectly.”)

The Nets did not respond to a request for comment, and a spokesman for Durant’s company, Boardroom, declined to comment.

Tsai’s Twitter post was an unusual escalation of a simmering feud between Durant, 33, and the Nets. Tsai has rarely weighed in on basketball matters publicly, and just one year ago Durant appeared to be happily married to the Nets, having agreed to a four-year contract extension with the team he had signed with in the summer of 2019.

But much of Durant’s three seasons with the Nets haven’t gone according to plan and have been marked by tumult.

Durant, while recovering from an Achilles’ tendon injury, signed with the franchise along with his friends, the star point guard Kyrie Irving and the veteran center DeAndre Jordan. During the 2020-21 season, the Nets traded many of their young players, along with several draft picks, to Houston for James Harden, seemingly assembling one of the most fearsome star groups in N.B.A. history.

But injuries kept the three stars from seeing the court very often. They played only 16 games together and had a dominant record of 13-3. In the 2021 playoffs, the Nets lost in the second round to the Milwaukee Bucks, the eventual champions.

Last season, the Nets were once again optimistic that they would live up to their lofty expectations. But Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19 meant that he couldn’t play in home games until later in the season because of a New York City rule that was eventually lifted. A frustrated Harden asked the Nets for a trade, and the Nets sent him to the division rival Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons. And once again, Durant, as well as other players on the team, dealt with injuries, forcing Nash to push rookies into unexpected roles.

The Nets hit rock bottom in the playoffs, where they were swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics, an embarrassing outcome for a team that looked to be — on paper — one of the most talented teams of the decade.

Durant’s trade request was a bombshell that shocked many league observers. For one thing, the Nets were projected to enter training camp with a formidable roster that include Simmons, a three-time All-Star, and Irving, who opted into the final year of his contract. But a player of Durant’s caliber has almost never made a trade request like this with four years left on his contract.

Durant’s trade value, despite his résumé, is uncertain, in part because of how rare his request is and also because of Durant himself. In three years with the Nets, he played 90 regular season games of a possible 236 because of injuries. He will be entering his 16th season, a stage by which most players are already in steep decline. But when Durant has played, he has mostly looked like he always has: a generational talent.

Durant’s talent makes him a tantalizing risk for a team looking to put itself over the top, not the least of which is that when a team trades for him, he might not want to stay.



Read the full article here

Sports

Knicks vs. Bulls prediction: NBA picks, odds

Published

on

The NBA’s longest win streak is finally over after the Knicks suffered their first loss in nine games on Wednesday. Expect New York to start a new streak Friday against a team it dominated the last time they faced off.

The Knicks were playing like the best team in basketball during their lengthy win streak, posting the league’s best net rating (+17.3) with six double-digit victories in that eight-game run. That included a 23-point beat-down of the Bulls exactly a week ago, when New York drained 17 3s and saw three players score at least 22 points in an easy win.

Knicks vs. Bulls (7:30 p.m. Eastern) prediction: Knicks -5.5 (Caesars Sportsbook)

Risk Free First Bet up to $1,000 with NPBONUS

New customers only. Must be 21+. AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY only. (Welcome Offer not available in NY & PA) Full T&C apply.

Caesars Sportsbook Logo Square

First bet up To $1,250 On Caesars

New users only, 21 or older. NY, CO, DC, IA, IN, IL, MI, NV, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WV only. Full T&Cs apply.

No Sweat First Bet up to $1,000

21+. New customers only. AZ, CT, IA, IL, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, WV, WY only. T&C apply

That game marked the worst offensive showing of the season for Chicago (91 points), which has struggled with chemistry and spacing issues all year long. The Bulls rank dead last in 3-point attempts per game (28.8) and third-worst in offensive rebounding rate (23.6%), which leaves very few easy scoring chances for one of the NBA’s worst offenses.

Betting on the NBA?

It’s the opposite story for the Knicks, who boast three legitimate shot-creators and also rank among the league leaders in points in the paint. Julius Randle (31 points) relentlessly attacked this Chicago defense in their first meeting before allowing RJ Barrett (27 points) to lead the way in the second affair — his fourth of five straight games with at least 22 points. 

I don’t see this Knicks attack slowing down against one of the league’s most inconsistent defenses. And until Zach LaVine returns to his All-Star form, I’m skeptical of the Bulls’ offense showing up on Friday, too.

Knicks vs. Bulls pick: Knicks -5.5 (Caesars Sportsbook)

Read the full article here

Continue Reading

Sports

Devils vs. Bruins prediction: Bet on New Jersey to end slide on NHL Friday

Published

on

After starting the season 21-4-1, it looked like the New Jersey Devils were going to run away with the Metropolitan Division as one of the very best teams in the NHL.

Not only were the Devils cruising, but their underlying metrics were elite. New Jersey was the best 5-on-5 team through the first quarter of the season.

Three weeks and one six-game losing streak later, and the Devils have fallen back to earth and are now two points behind the Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division. 

The Devils were able to get off the schneid with a win over Florida on Wednesday, but the task doesn’t get any easier with the league-leading Boston Bruins in town.

New Jersey is a slight +102 home underdog against Boston starting at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and the NHL Network.  

Risk Free First Bet up to $1,000 with NPBONUS

New customers only. Must be 21+. AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY only. (Welcome Offer not available in NY & PA) Full T&C apply.

Caesars Sportsbook Logo Square

First bet up To $1,250 On Caesars

New users only, 21 or older. NY, CO, DC, IA, IN, IL, MI, NV, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WV only. Full T&Cs apply.

No Sweat First Bet up to $1,000

21+. New customers only. AZ, CT, IA, IL, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, WV, WY only. T&C apply

Tomas Tatar #90 of the New Jersey Devils
Tomas Tatar #90 of the New Jersey Devils
NHLI via Getty Images

Bruins vs. Devils prediction

Even though the Devils have struggled to get results over their last 10 contests, their underlying numbers don’t suggest there’s all that much wrong with how they’re playing. New Jersey isn’t posting the pace-setting numbers it did through Thanksgiving, but it’s still skating to the fifth-best expected goals rate and high-danger scoring chance rate in the league over its last 10 contests.  

Those numbers should help ease any sense of panic that New Jersey could continue to fall back further into the pack as we head toward the New Year. 

So if New Jersey is still tilting the ice in the right direction, what is the issue for the Devils? 

For one thing, the Devs are struggling to find the back of the net like they did when they were rolling. New Jersey has scored just nine goals in its last five games, and four of those tallies came in a 4-2 victory over Florida on Wednesday. Over their last 10 games, the Devils rank 25th in the NHL with a 6.56% shooting percentage. 

Additionally, the Devils are not getting the goaltending needed to stabilize them. New Jersey’s netminders were always thought to be the team’s biggest weakness, and that has started to show lately as the Devils rank 23rd in the NHL in 5-on-5 save percentage over the last 10 games.

Hampus Lindholm #27 of the Boston Bruins
Hampus Lindholm #27 of the Boston Bruins
NHLI via Getty Images

Betting on the NHL?

The Bruins, meanwhile, continue to roll. Boston is 7-1-2 over its last 10 contests and ranks third in the league over that span in expected goals rate and fourth in high-danger chance percentage. The Bruins pace the NHL with a +54 goal differential, which is 25 goals better than the team in second (Toronto). 

But as impressive as Boston has been over its first 31 games of the season, the Bruins are playing on a back-to-back on Friday, while the Devils were off on Thursday night. 

The Bruins are the better team in a vacuum, but this is a good buy-low spot on the Devils, who are still playing solid hockey but are just not getting the results.

Devils vs. Bruins pick

New Jersey Devils +102 (FanDuel)

Read the full article here

Continue Reading

Sports

At the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, a Female Crew of Two

Published

on

Kathy Veel has come a long way since 1989, when she first sailed in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race with an all-female crew on the Belles Long Ranger.

“It started off with four of us women — we figured, let’s give it a shot,” said Veel, 70, a retired teacher who lives in Bullaburra, about 60 miles west of Sydney, Australia. “We didn’t have a boat. We didn’t have any money. It was a real start from scratch. No one took us seriously.”

Not anymore. Veel is now back for her third Sydney Hobart, which starts on Monday, this time also breaking ground. She will be part of the only all-female crew competing in the race’s two-handed division on the Currawong, at 30 feet long the second smallest boat in the fleet. She will be sailing with Bridget Canham, 62, of Sydney, a veteran of several Sydney Hobart races.

Veel said that in 1989, there were doubts the crew of women could handle the grueling conditions of the race.

“We were kind of a token gesture,” she said. “There were a lot of people who didn’t think we were up to it. They would ask, what we were going to do when it’s blowing 30 knots and the boat is swamped? We’ll be doing pretty much what they’ll be doing — putting up sails and racing the boat.”

Their goal was to simply finish the race, which they did. “It opened the door for us,” Veel said.

“Women in sailing have come so far,” she said. “Most boats these days have got women on them. And that’s great.”

Canham, a retired nurse who volunteers as an emergency boat pilot, said sailing had indeed changed.

“Sailing is more of an integrated sport now,” she said. “Now, it’s just by coincidence that we are just two women on a boat. We’re just sailors. We don’t think of ourselves as anything different.”

The two-handed division, where a boat is raced by two sailors — as opposed to a large crew ranging from 6 to 25 — is now in its second year at the Sydney Hobart. For Veel and Canham, the draw of two-handed racing is access.

“Having a fully crewed racing yacht was way outside of my resources,” Veel said. “I’m retired. But now that they have the two-handed, we can do the race. It gives people the opportunity to sail in the race who aren’t on a fully crewed yacht.” Yearly maintenance on two-handed boats might be $10,000, while much larger yachts require millions of dollars to maintain.

Canham also said the sailors in the two-handed division were a tightknit group. “The two-handed community is just so supportive; it’s like we are all on the same team,” she said.

Veel and Canham generally split duties on the boat, taking turns on the sails and at the wheel, with Canham focusing on sails and Veel on navigation and race tactics.

“Bridget knows the wind and is good at getting the best out of the boat,” Veel said. “She’ll have every sail tweaked and tuned. She never takes her eye off the ball. She’s also extremely gutsy and strong-minded and determined.”

Veel and Canham have prepared for the event by sailing in four other races this year. Over that time, they realized the boat, a Currawong 30, built in 1974 with beaten 20-year-old sails, needed upgrades, but they’ve accepted its limits.

“We’ve been able to test out our boat in these previous races, but it really has felt that 90 percent of this race has been just getting to the start line,” Veel said. “We’ve just been focused on getting the boat ready. Now that we are there, and there are no more obstacles between us and the race, that’s when I’m starting to wonder what have I got myself into. Now it’s real.”

Canham heads into the race committed, but knows their limitations.

“No one is expecting us to do anything,” she said. “But I don’t think they realize just how determined we are.”

Read the full article here

Continue Reading

Trending