By Steve Lichtenstein
» More Columns
The journey begins tomorrow.
When the Nets tip off in Cleveland tomorrow night, they’ll start their marathon that will culminate in either an appearance on the ultimate reality show of the NBA Finals, or the disgrace of being labeled as the League’s most expensive fantasy team.
Those are the only two options for the Nets after another dizzying summer of roster upgrades engineered by general manager Billy King, with the generous support of owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s bank account.
Those $300 million-plus in long-term contracts doled out by Prokhorov in the summer of 2012? Tip money.
Prokhorov will spend about $189 million—on this season alone.
He has made it abundantly clear to everyone that he expects the Nets to win an NBA championship within a short window. I wouldn’t want to be around Prokhorov if the Nets fall short this season.
At least the Nets enter the season with the most talented and diverse roster in the franchise’s history. I never thought I would enjoy a group like those couple of years when Dr. J played with Larry Kenon back in the ABA, but this team has the potential to be off the charts, with far superior depth to support a starting five that has accumulated 35 All Star appearances.
The draft day trade that sent future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn from Boston generated the most buzz, but the Nets also quietly built a bench that can go three deep at several spots.
Which happens to be one of rookie coach Jason Kidd’s most pressing puzzles.