Bojan Bogdanovic fully understands that.
Still, the rookie forward feels like he can come in and contribute right away for the Brooklyn Nets in 2014-15.
“It’s not gonna be easy,” Bogdanovic told reporters Monday during his introductory news conference at the team’s practice facility. “I have to make some adjustments -- especially because there’s a lot of games, a lot more than in Europe. But I am ready, and I think I can help the team immediately.
The Nets think highly of Bogdanovic, 25, whom they acquired in a draft-day trade three years ago. They finally signed him to a three-year, $10 million contract last week.
The Nets hope Bogdanovic, who will wear jersey No. 44, can help fill the void created when Paul Pierce inked a free-agent deal with the Washington Wizards.
“I am glad and very proud to come over and play for Brooklyn,” he said.
Bogdanovic ate dinner with his coach, Lionel Hollins, on Saturday. Hollins talked to him about what his expectations were. The two didn’t talk much about what his role would be. “I will fight for my minutes, but like I told him, I think I can help immediately,” Bogdanovic said.
Bogdanovic had lunch with Nets GM Billy King on Friday, while also receiving a tour of Barclays Center. “I was so impressed because it’s one of the best gyms in the world, and I was very excited,” Bogdanovic said.
Bogdanovic had been playing with Fenerbahce Ulker in the Turkish League. In 24 Euroleague games last season, he averaged 14.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 30.6 minutes. He is best known for his ability to stretch the floor with his long-range marksmanship.
Bogdanovic obviously admitted that he’s a shooter, but also pointed out that he feels like he’s improved in the physical part of his game, as well as his ability to play in the pick-and-roll.
Bogdanovic considered re-signing with Fenerbahce before ultimately joining the Nets. “I spent three years there, so I was planning to stay, but then Brooklyn called and now I’m finally here,” he said.
Bogdanovic looks forward to playing with the likes of Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and the rest of his Nets teammates. Bogdanovic and Mirza Teletovic are both from Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bogdanovic knows Williams because the point guard played in Turkey during the most recent NBA lockout. Bogdanovic has been following the team for as long as they’ve held his rights.
“I can’t wait to meet them and I can’t wait to start playing for the Nets,” he said.
New additions: PG/SG Jarrett Jack, PG Xavier Thames.
Returning/on roster: PG Deron Williams, PG Jorge Gutierrez, PG Marquis Teague.
Gone: PG Shaun Livingston.
The starter: Williams is the starting point guard unless new coach Lionel Hollins decides to go with a two point guard lineup like Jason Kidd did with Livingston and Williams. If that’s the case, Hollins could start Jack alongside Williams. Health remains the biggest question mark surrounding Williams, who hopes to come back stronger than before after surgery on his ankles.
The wild card: Jack. The guard saw his numbers dip last season to averages of 9.5 points, 4.1 assists and 41% shooting overall for the Cavs. But in 2012-’13, Jack averaged 12.9 points, 5.6 assists and 45% shooting while in Golden State. He also hit big shots in the postseason and was fearless for the Warriors. The Nets are hoping to get that Jack to replace the departed Livingston. Jack’s value also is that he is a scoring point guard who can start in case Williams isn’t healthy.
Outlook: The Nets’ season could very well be determined by their point guard play. The Nets need Williams to regain his health, confidence and All-Star game again. Losing Livingston in free agency was a major blow. And losing Kidd also has an impact on the point guard play as well since he could provide his future Hall-of-Fame vision from the bench. But if Williams and Jack can regain their former play and have a good season, the Nets will benefit greatly. This position is the most important position for the Nets this season.
Question: How big of a loss is losing Kidd and Livingston for the Nets' point guard play this season?
The Nets acquired Bogdanovic’s rights in a draft night trade back in 2011. Three years later, he’s finally in the NBA.
Expectations for most foreign players are usually quite high. This is a preseason reminder that you should probably temper yours. Making the transition from overseas leagues to the NBA takes time.
Below, I looked at the first-year statistics of some of the most successful foreign players in NBA history. I also looked at Bogdanovic’s teammate, Mirza Teletovic, who only recently made the transition himself.
As you can see, even for the best of the best, there was an adjustment period.
Drazen Petrovic (age 25): 12.6 min, 7.6 ppg, 48.5 pct FGs, 45.9 pct 3s
Drazen Petrovic (age 27): 36.9 min, 20.6 ppg, 50.8 pct FGs, 44.4 pct 3s
Peja Stojakovic (age 21): 21.4 min, 8.4 ppg, 37.8 pct FGs, 32 pct 3s
Peja Stojakovic (age 23): 38.7 min, 20.4 ppg, 47 pct FGs, 40 pct 3s
Manu Ginobili (age 25): 20.7 min, 7.6 ppg, 43.8 pct FGs, 34.5 pct 3s
Manu Ginobili (age 27): 29.4 min, 16.0 ppg, 47.1 pct FGs, 37.6 pct 3s
Toni Kukoc (age 25): 24.1 min, 10.9 ppg, 43.1 pct FGs, 27.1 pct 3s
Toni Kukoc (age 26): 31.9 min, 15.7 ppg, 50.4 pct FGs, 31.3 pct 3s
Mirza Teletovic (age 27): 9.4 min, 3.5 ppg, 38.4 pct FGs, 34.3 pct 3s
Mirza Teletovoc (age 28): 19.4 min, 8.6 ppg, 41.8 pct FGs, 41.8 pct 3s
Only time will tell whether Bogdanovic ever reaches the level of a Petrovic, Stojakovic, Ginobili or Kukoc. Maybe he becomes a star. Maybe he becomes a solid role player. Maybe he turns out to be a bust. Either way, if he goes through early-season struggles in 2014-15, there is no reason to freak out or make a rash judgment about how his career will end.
Last season, the Nets spent $197,398,845, when you factor in their payroll ($102,828,064), NBA-record luxury taxes ($90,570,781) and amnesty payment to Outlaw ($4,000,000).
That’s a difference of $63,398,836. (I went over these numbers, and the motivation behind it, in greater detail here).
The Nets are $17,216,708 over the 2014-15 luxury tax line, which is $76,829,000, meaning they must pay progressive taxes on the difference.
These totals, mind you, assume that the contracts of Jorge Gutierrez and Cory Jefferson become fully guaranteed by the end of the season.
Also remember, from ESPN salary cap guru Larry Coon’s blog: The total amount of luxury tax paid depends on a team’s payroll as of its final regular season game.
Point being, there’s a lot of time for things to change. Nevertheless, this is a solid look at where the Nets stand from a financial standpoint -- at least as far as projected payroll and luxury taxes are concerned.
A day after officially bringing over European prospect Bojan Bogdanovic, GM Billy King announced on Wednesday the signings of two of his three second-round picks -- Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown and Baylor forward Cory Jefferson.
The Nets acquired three second-round picks in June’s draft. They took Brown with the 44th pick and Jefferson with the 60th pick. San Diego State point guard Xavier Thames was the Nets’ other second-round pick at 59th overall.
Both Brown and Jefferson signed multi-year contracts.
The Nets are excited about Brown’s athleticism. The 6-3 Brown averaged 17.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists at Oklahoma State last season. Brown is the only player in school history to have 300 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocked shots in his career.
The 6-9 Jefferson averaged 13.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.30 steals and 1.30 blocks during his fifth and final season at Baylor. Baylor won a program-record 107 games with Jefferson.
The Nets’ roster now stands at Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic, Alan Anderson, Jarrett Jack, Andrei Kirilenko, Sergey Karasev, Bogdanovic, Brown, Jefferson, Jorge Gutierrez and Marquis Teague,
Brown and Jefferson provide the Nets with depth and two more young players to develop. Considering that Williams and Lopez are coming off surgeries and will take things slowly initially, Brown and Jefferson should have opportunities to show what they can do in training camp.
The team officially signed the Croatian forward to a three-year deal on Tuesday. The contract is worth $10 million, according to league sources.
The 6-foot-8 forward was drafted 31st overall in 2011 by Miami before having his draft rights dealt to the Nets.
"Having drafted Bojan in 2011, it is rewarding to finally welcome him to the Nets," general manager Billy King said in a team statement. "We obviously have a high regard for his game, and we are glad he will now bring that talent to Brooklyn."
Bogdanovic, 25, spent the last three seasons with Fenerbahçe Ülker in the Turkish Basketball League. He averaged 14.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 30.6 minutes per game during the 2013-14 Euroleague season.
The Nets passed on making an offer to re-sign Paul Pierce earlier this month largely because they felt they wouldn't win a title even if they brought Pierce back. The Nets could have paid Pierce -- who signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Wizards -- more than any other team.
But did the Nets sacrifice two major attributes that they seemed so intent on adding just a year ago? When Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were introduced as Nets seated alongside Jason Kidd in a press conference at Barclays last summer, Brooklyn felt it had added two critical missing ingredients -– leadership and toughness.
With Kidd and Pierce now gone, where will the Nets turn for the leadership and toughness when they need it most this season? It appears that the Nets will have rely heavily on new coach Lionel Hollins for both.
Remember, the Nets felt that they were a tad too soft and lacked toughness, leadership and experience with the core of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez after losing Game 7 in the first round to Chicago in 2013.
If Garnett returns, as the Nets expect, for a final season, he can provide the leadership and toughness. However, Garnett will be the first to tell you that he feels much more comfortable leading and infusing the team with toughness by playing on the court and playing well. And unfortunately for Garnett, the 38-year-old big man will likely be playing limited minutes and perhaps even limited games.
So who will provide it on the court for the majority of a game? The Nets are hoping that Pierce, Kidd and Garnett’s toughness and leadership rubbed off on Williams, Johnson and Lopez in the one season they all had together –- a disjointed season at that due to all the injuries to Pierce, Garnett, Williams and Lopez.
The Nets’ toughness will certainly be a question mark entering this season. Before Williams and Lopez can begin to push anybody back, they’ll need to have confidence that they can push off on their surgically-repaired ankles and feet, respectively. It could take a while to regain that type of confidence again.
After losing Shaun Livingston in free agency, the Nets did add Jarrett Jack, a hard-nosed guard who won’t back down and can rise in pressure-packed moments. Fellow role players like Andrei Kirilenko, Mirza Teletovic, Alan Anderson and Mason Plumlee also play with an edge.
And perhaps one of the new youthful additions -– Sergey Karasev, Markel Brown, Cory Jefferson or Bojan Bogdanovic –- will surprise and exceed expectations and offset some of their inexperience with some toughness.
But this is where losing Pierce hurts. While Pierce won’t average 20-something points nightly, the veteran set a tone on many nights for the Nets. Look no further than the regular-season games against the Heat that had a big-game feel to them along with the first-round series when Pierce came up big against the Raptors, particularly on the road when the Nets needed him most.
Johnson may be the Nets' best go-to option but Pierce was the guy they often looked to when the moment called for leadership or experience. Johnson displayed a quiet toughness last season with his stellar play but he’s not the vocal-type of leader to grab the team and take charge like Pierce could.
Kidd might’ve been inexperienced as a head coach last season but the players all respected his vast playing experience and he wasn't afraid to make some gutsy postseason moves such as putting Anderson in the starting lineup for Livingston against Toronto with the season on the line.
Hollins, though, brings a wealth of experience and he’s known as a tough, no-nonsense coach. He has to be the guy who provides the intangibles that Kidd and Pierce took with them to Milwaukee and Washington, respectively.
Garnett won’t be on the floor as much as he would like. Williams and Lopez will be on the mend and taking things slowly at the start.
It’s gotta be Lionel to provide the toughness and leadership. If not, this coming season might feel a lot like 2013 again.
McDermott, drafted by the Denver Nuggets with the 11th pick in last month's draft and then traded for two picks to the Bulls, was a first-team pick for the summer league all-star team along with second-year swingman Tony Snell. McDermott averaged 18 points a game and shot 44 percent from three-point range in Vegas.
Butler, 24, averaged a career-best 13.1 points a game last season, his first as a starter. The young Bulls duo will train with teammate Derrick Rose, who is expected to participate in Team USA practices.
"USA Basketball's Select Teams are critical for getting some of the game's brightest and most promising young players experience at the USA National Team level, and getting them into our pipeline," USA Basketball National Team managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. "Again this summer, as was done in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012, the members of the USA Select Team will play an important role in helping prepare the USA National Team for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
"Being chosen for the Select Team is an honor and an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball's National Team program in the future. In the past, current national team players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, as well as many other outstanding players got their USA National Team start through the Select Team."
The Select Team will train with Team USA from July 28-31 in Las Vegas. The FIBA World Cup runs from Aug. 30-Sept.14 in Spain.
Kushchenko, who is also the VTB league president, suggests he could use his dual role to set up games.
NBA exhibitions against VTB teams are "possible," especially if "those Brooklyn Nets" are involved, he told Russia's Itar-TASS news agency.
The last NBA team to play a Russian team was the San Antonio Spurs, which beat CSKA Moscow 95-93 last year.
The VTB league has 22 teams from seven countries, all but one of which were part of the former Soviet Union. CSKA is the reigning champion and one of 10 Russian teams in the competition.
The Nets are owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.
Kirilenko was quoted as being critical of Kidd in an interview with Russian tabloid newspaper SovSport in its Sunday editions. His comments were translated by multiple American media outlets.
“It’s tough to kind of judge him because he obviously came into a lot of pressure,” Kirilenko said. “New York is a city with a lot of legends and a lot of history, and every move you make is under a microscope. So I guess it’s easier for the coach to start [fresh] with a younger group of guys, with his own vision, in a smaller city where you don’t have that much pressure. And I think that’s what Jason’s doing now.”
Kidd was named head coach of the Nets last offseason just weeks after announcing his retirement as a player. The Nets, besieged by injury and struggling to adapt to Kidd’s system, got off to a 10-21 start. But they turned it around, going 34-17 the rest of the way and reaching the second round of the playoffs, where they were eliminated in five games by the Miami Heat.
In late June, Kidd approached Russian ownership about adding final say in player personnel decisions to his head coaching duties, but that request was denied. The Nets then granted Kidd permission to speak with the Bucks. Brooklyn ultimately traded Kidd’s coaching rights to Milwaukee in exchange for a pair of future second-round picks. The Nets quickly hired Lionel Hollins to replace Kidd.
Kirilenko signed a two-year contract with the Nets for $6.5 million, but he was plagued by injuries and sporadic playing time in his first season in Brooklyn. The 33-year-old, who gladly accepted a reserve role after being a starter throughout his career, missed 37 games during the regular season -- mostly due to back issues. He wasn’t able to have the same impact on the court that he did when playing for the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves.
“It’s tough when you’re sitting on the bench and you don’t have a chance to help your teammates,” said Kirilenko, who lives in Europe during the offseason. “But when I came to the team I was ready for this, and I spoke with Jason right at the beginning of the year, and I knew what I was sacrificing. We had a goal and all those veteran pieces came together, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Kirilenko, who opted into the second year of his contract for 2014-15, said he believes the Nets will be able to come back stronger this season.
“I think we still have the same goals,” Kirilenko said of the Nets trying to make a championship run. “I think we lost a key piece in Paul Pierce, but I still think with Brook [Lopez] healthy we can make that run.”
Kirilenko says he has not had much of a chance to speak with Hollins just yet, but spoke highly of his new head coach.
“[Lionel is] known as a defensive specialist,” said Kirilenko, who can guard multiple positions. “I know he was great in Memphis and built a great system, which they still play there with a lot of ball movement, using their bigs a lot, not just playing through the post but using them as passers kind of like what Chicago is doing with [Joakim] Noah right now. It’s very unselfish basketball, which I love to play. I like it, and hopefully we can do the same in Brooklyn.”
The USA Select Team will be training with the Men’s national team at its Las Vegas training camp
Plumlee’s brother, Miles, will also be on the USA Select Team.
Both Mason and Miles played for Men’s national team coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.
Mason Plumlee received All-Rookie First Team honors last season after a strong rookie campaign that saw him throw down 116 dunks.
The Nets hope Plumlee continues his development next season. This opportunity will certainly help in that regard.
Nets trade: Jason Kidd, Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston
Nets receive: Lionel Hollins, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev
Would you have considered it at the start of the offseason?
Obviously, the Nets did not make the trade above. But when you look at it, they basically did.
Out are Kidd, Pierce and Livingston. In are Hollins, Bogdanovic, Jack and Karasev.
On paper, it looks like the Nets got an upgrade at coach and a downgrade in personnel.
The games will have to be played, of course, to determine whether that is actually the case.
Early on, the Nets looked like a disaster last season. But then they got their act together, figured out who they were as a team, and began to thrive. Kidd, Pierce and Livingston all played a huge part in that. Kidd became a better coach with experience, Pierce’s leadership proved to be invaluable and Livingston was such a pivotal part of Brooklyn’s turnaround. It would’ve been nice if they all came back next season, with their system and identity already in place. But Kidd made his failed power play, and that was that.
Nevertheless, maybe Hollins will have an impact similar to a Steve Clifford or a Tom Thibodeau. Maybe Jack will revert back to being the dominant point guard he was in New Orleans and Golden State. Maybe Bogdanovic will live up to the hype.
We’ll just have to wait and see before determining whether this has all worked out in the end.
Question: How would you have viewed this “trade”? Let us know in the comments section below.
The Brooklyn Nets’ jersey is black with white trim and features the team’s alternate logo: a white basketball with a black “B.” The name on the back is under the number, which obviously deviates from the norm. And there are no sleeves.
One caveat here is that the 2014-15 schedule has yet to be released, so it’s unknown whether the Nets will play on Christmas. They have the last two seasons -- and been blown out both times.
Regardless, the Nets, one would think, will probably be wearing these alternate jerseys at some point this season.
Mirza Teletovic: Teletovic made quite the jump in his second year in the NBA. He didn’t play much early on, but got his opportunity as a result of injuries to some of his teammates. He took full advantage, shooting with confidence and displaying a swagger on the floor. Teletovic figures to be a nice asset for Hollins to have at his disposal.
Bojan Bogdanovic: The key here is patience. Expectations should be tempered. The 25-year-old will likely need an adjustment period as he transitions from the European game to the NBA. If he does, he’ll be another floor-spacing threat. As Cotton Fitzsimmons told Hollins, “You can never have too many shooters.”
Alan Anderson: Anderson should provide solid depth and toughness, along with D-and-3 ability. He’s another Hollins-type player. It will be interesting to see where Anderson figures into the rotation, given that Hollins has so many options. Still, Anderson is a veteran, so you have to figure Hollins will utilize him in different situations.
Jason Terry was traded to the Sacramento Kings in February as part of a deal with the Brooklyn Nets and he clearly wants out. Terry never reported to the Kings as he was still dealing with a bad knee and he decided to continue his rehab in Dallas. If Terry could have his way he would not leave Texas.
“I won’t rule out returning back to Dallas,” Terry, 36, told a Dallas radio station, according to The Sacramento Bee. “It’s my home and my heart,” Terry said. “I bleed blue. I’m a Maverick."