Trans. Sep 18 10:28 ET (Sep 18 10:28 ET ) Late in the 2013-14 season, before Donald Sterling hit and before recently-appointed NBA commissioner Adam Silver received sainthood status, The New Guy revealed in an interview with Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck that he might consider dumping the much-criticized sleeved jerseys that have dotted the NBA landscape over the last two years . You know the things, because even as a mild consumer of the NBA, you can’t help see the things. Their rollout with the Golden State Warriors in 2012-13 was widely covered. The next season, the NBA decided to outfit each of the teams playing on its Christmas Day-long national TV showcase in jerseys that could charitably described as “RUDDY AWFUL.” Dirk Nowitzki complained – on Twitter, during the middle of that showcase, for all of his one and a quarter million followers and lord knows how many re-tweeters to see. Mark Cuban complained . Beno Udrih complained . Smarmy writers complained . Jarrett Jack complained . Robin Lopez complained . Stephen Curry complained . Most importantly, LeBron James complained . Now, according to the two most important voices you listen to when it comes to such things (retailers, and those who cover the retailers to much acclaim), consumers are complaining. With their indifference, at least. As noted by Pro Basketball Talk , Uni Watch’s Paul Lucas spoke with “the buyer for a well-known chain of sporting goods stores,” who revealed that “the NBA’s sleeved jerseys are not selling well.” Well, yeah. They look terrible. NBA fans don’t buy the regular jerseys to wear on the court. They buy them as fashion statements, even if those statements have to go awry when the buyer has to figure out how to make a sleeveless and rather airy jersey go with a wintertime outfit when he attends an NBA game. By and large, though, you’re not going to see many players working in a crisp and very expensive Kyrie Irving jersey when actually going out to play ball. The NBA figured they could corner the actually on-court market by introducing something that could alternately be worn while playing ball, or at an NBA game. Or to school, even, because apparently those “ Real Men Wear Red ” shirts that we wore to school in the early 1990s just aren’t enough for today’s youth. (Because those shirts are, as we realized by the mid-1990s, incredibly stupid.) The sleeved jerseys, in a small but significant sample size, made absolutely no impact on shooting percentages last season , but that isn’t the point. NBA players are slavish to routine, from literal head to toe. They didn’t grow up wearing these sorts of jerseys, and they’re vocally uncomfortable about change this far into their careers. That’s usually the case, with most rich dudes. It was a noble retail attempt by the league until it decided to mess with the product that we tune in for (and, in many of our cases, pay quite a bit of money for ) on the court. Christmas Day games aren’t NBA Finals contests. And sometimes they’re quite terrible, despite all the hype and big names involved. Still, to cynically and greedily use what should be a reminder to the rest of the football-watchin’ nation that, hey, these NBA guys are incredibly good at what they do in order to sell novelty jerseys? That was a misstep. Now, if they’re not selling well in the face of both a heavily publicized rollout, a Christmas Day-long infomercial, and various other attempts to shoehorn these things onto the public via nationally televised games as the 2013-14 season moved along? What’s the point anymore? The NBA sells just about everything it can both online, at various retailers, and in its Manhattan store. From off-color baseball caps (in a sport with no baseball caps) to jackets with the logo of every team on it to bobbleheads of players that are two teams removed from the uniform the bobblehead is wearing, you can get anything and the NBA gets a cut. There’s a lot of great stuff out there, a lot of tasteful stuff out there, and a lot of silly stuff out there. We appreciate the NBA making it all available. There’s absolutely no shame in the NBA continuing to make, market, and sell sleeved jerseys. Some people still want to buy weird things. Some people, in that desirable 18-to-35 male demographic, even consume Cincinnati chili and jazz/fusion records. I’m one of those people. I’m weird. I also can’t stand playing basketball with sleeves on, even if I’ve no gun show to sell tickets to, and I can’t stand watching NBA players wear them in games when they seem clearly uncomfortable with the change to their routine. That doesn’t mean I speak for everyone, though, which is why the NBA should continue to produce the sleeved jerseys. Just stop making NBA players wear them during games. (Unless some weirdo NBA players ask to wear them in games.) - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
Where's Brooklyn at? That was the question everyone in NBA circles was asking as Brooklyn stumbled out of the gate last season before righting the ship and advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals — where it eventually lost to the Miami Heat. The Nets were supposed to be a legitimate title contender last season, going all in by trading for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry — just one year after acquiring former Atlanta star Joe Johnson. Brooklyn was supposed to steal the thunder from its cross-town rivals after snatching the retiring Jason Kidd to come and coach the franchise that he was responsible for making a force more than a decade prior. Kidd faltered early, star after star became injured, and Brooklyn's massive dreams suddenly became a fruitless reality. This offseason looked to be shaping up to be somewhat similar to the tumultuous regular season that preceded it. Kidd bolted for Milwaukee, Pierce left for Washington, and the East got stronger. But as the attention shifted toward Cleveland and eyes focused on the ugliness and drama the NBA has been forced to endure in Atlanta, the Nets have quietly been getting healthy and ready for their first season under new head coach Lionel Hollins. Deron Williams underwent ankle surgery, Brook Lopez has been rehabbing the foot that has caused him to miss so much time in his young career, and Mason Plumlee has accelerated his learning process by spending the summer surrounded by stars en route to winning FIBA gold. Healthy and focused, these Nets know this season will be different, mainly because their marquee player will participate in training camp and the preseason. "It’s definitely different this year,” Williams said at his Celebrity Dodge Barrage event in Basketball City in New York. “I was in great shape last year, but I had to take a month off in the middle of September. There’s a big difference between being in shape and being in basketball shape. “I practiced one time, played nine minutes in a preseason game and was thrown into the fire at 60 or 70 percent.” Williams, entering his 10th season in the league, knows the pressure that is on him as the franchise player. The Nets gave Williams a max deal just before they moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn, but the All-Star has failed to meet expectations, which will be even higher as he is presumed to be healthy. “We’ve got to step up, myself included, leadership-wise,” Williams said. “I think having myself healthy and Brook [Lopez] healthy, that makes up for a lot right there. Just talk about missing Brook, that’s losing 20 points a night and a big man who can score on anybody in this league. [Putting him back in the lineup] changes things.” Williams and Lopez aren't the only stars Hollins is going to look to for leadership and meaningful contributions on the court. Hollins said he will turn to Garnett to play the kind of basketball that will surely have him ending up in the Hall of Fame when he eventually retires. Hollins expects the 38-year-old forward to start for Brooklyn, if he is healthy enough to. "There is nobody in the gym that I would put in his place," Hollins said. "He has earned the right to have that opportunity to be the starter from Day One. Somebody has to knock him out, it's got to be like a heavyweight fight. I don't really see that happening.” While it's hard to believe that a roster that has five former All-Stars and plays in the world’s largest media market can fly under the radar, Brooklyn hopes to – and the plan is use it to their advantage. “I think [not having the attention] is very good,” Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko said. “I think last year we had too much pressure from the outside. I think this year we have the chance to step back before the season and then make that jump.” Of course the Nets will have to once again go through a LeBron James-led team if it hopes to make that figurative jump – only this time it’s the Cavaliers and Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving standing alongside the four-time MVP. “Anytime you put those three guys on a team, I don’t care who they have with them, they’re going to be a good team,” Williams said. “They have a great supporting cast as well. They’re definitely going to be a force this year in the East.” Despite the toned down expectations from outside the organization and the shuffling of rosters around the conference, theoretically, the Nets figure to still be in contention for a top-four spot in the East. In addition to having Hollins, a coach who helped lead the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals in 2013, the Nets have a deeper roster and can lean on newly acquired Jarrett Jack to spell both Williams and Johnson, as well as Plumlee as an emerging star to help keep Lopez and Garnett’s minutes down in the frontcourt. “Health is the number one issue for this team going in,” Hollins said. “If [our players] are healthy and we can create continuity and create a foundation of a group playing together, then I think things will fall into place.”
The Scoop:This isn't a surprise at all and Jack may get some run as the point guard with Deron off the ball. Jack hasn't been great in the past couple seasons on the whole, but he could get enough run with the Nets to produce low-end value in standard leagues.
A three-team trade that gave the Cleveland Cavaliers more NBA salary cap room to chase superstar LeBron James was among the deals confirmed Thursday as the official signing period began. The Cavaliers, who will be guided by new coach Dave Blatt next season, sent guard Jarrett Jack and Russian swingman Sergey Karasev to the Brooklyn Nets in a three-team deal that also involves the Boston Celtics. The complex transfer sends Nets guard Marcus Thornton and Cleveland center Tyler Zeller to Boston and gives Cleveland the rights to three players who have never played in the NBA -- Turkish big man Ilkan Karaman, Danish forward Christian Drejer and Bosnian forward Edin Bavcic.
The three-team trade that gave the Cavaliers salary cap space to possibly land LeBron James is official. The Cavs and Boston Celtics confirmed the deal on Thursday when the NBA moratorium on signings ended. Cleveland sent guard Jarrett Jack and swingman Sergey Karasev to Brooklyn and center Tyler Zeller and a first-round draft pick to Boston. Cleveland acquired a future conditional second-round pick from the Celtics and the draft rights to forwards Ilkan Karaman and Edin Bavcic from the Nets.