On Day One, the Nets talked like a legitimate championship contender.
They expressed confidence in themselves while showing respect to the league’s other top teams. They discussed the importance of meshing with one another and developing chemistry. They raved about new coach Jason Kidd and all the wisdom the former point guard will bring.
Most importantly, they made it a point not to run away from the title talk. In fact, the Nets embraced the sky-high expectations that are now as much a part of the organization as glitzy Barclays Center.
“Ultimately, our goal is to win a championship,” said newcomer Paul Pierce, one of the reasons there is so much optimism with this team. “We have the pieces in this locker room to get it done.”
From the moment general manager Billy King pulled off the coup of landing future Hall of Famers Pierce and Kevin Garnett and lethal reserve scoring guard Jason Terry from the Celtics and adding much-needed versatility and depth by bringing in Andrei Kirilenko and Alan Anderson, the new-look Nets have been the talk of the NBA.
Last April’s dismal opening-round playoff series loss to a depleted Bulls team feels like five years ago, and the days in the swamps of New Jersey when the Nets were either a laughingstock or an afterthought — or both — seems even longer.
The press room was packed, loaded with media, photographers, cameras and recorders documenting every word.
“They definitely went all-in, definitely opened their wallets to spend the money to get guys in here,” point guard Deron Williams said. “It’s definitely night and day compared to a couple of years ago when we were in New Jersey, the season whereBrook [Lopez] was hurt.”