Garnett and Pierce, introduced as Nets, did not utter the word “Knicks”

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2010-01-01 00.00.00-6BROOKLYN — Two significant things about today’s Brooklyn Nets news conference — what was said, and what wasn’t said.

First, the latter: The word “Knicks” was not mentioned one single time. It would have been like being at a wine-tasting, and uttering the word “Thunderbird.” No bigger sign of disrespect than treating an adversary as though it does not exist.

Because in the new world of the Nets, the only other team that merits mention, the only other team that is in their crosshairs are the two-time defending champion Miami Heat (and a couple other legitimate Eastern Conference contenders.)

The Knicks will be a mosquito to these Nets. The Heat will be a spider. Or a swarm of gnats.

SH Blog: Smith Injury (And Contract) Nothing New For Knicks

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JR SmithIn today’s NBA, in order to evolve, you have to understand your weaknesses.

Avoid stretching into a place where you’re just not very strong.

Focus on what you do well and fill in the blanks.

Teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets are a few prime examples of this theory in action. Big market or small market, they’ve each had sustained levels of success — whether it be moderate or extreme — over the past 10-15 years. 

Tweet of the Day: Stu Jackson steps down

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After more than 13 years on the job, it has been confirmed that executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson will be stepping down from his post.

Hubbard: For Howard, the Sacrifice is Less Greed

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moneyWhile Dwight Howard was meditating on the great mystery that was his future, NBA veterans were reminded of one of the tenets of free agency that comes in the form of a saying.

It is a little raw, even for a writer-friendly site like this one, but to paraphrase, the saying is: “Easy women and greed are undefeated in the NBA.”

To be fair, that is pretty much true for all sports, particularly as it relates to cash. Athletes often talk about how nothing is more important than winning a title, but ultimately they end up with whoever offers them the biggest contract.

Howard proved on Friday there are exceptions, but before we get too flowery with praise, it should be noted that in his career, Howard has already made more than $102 million. So even with the paltry $88 million he will get the next four years in Houston, he’s a lot closer to $200 million than most of us.

StatBox Free Agency Breakdown: Smith returns to Knicks, Kings move on from Evans

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A happy Fourth of July to you from everyone here at Sheridan Hoops, where analysis doesn’t take a day off (though analysis will be chilling out with some burgers and beers later). Let’s quickly get to the latest breaking news and information with, as usual, a statistical bent.

JR SmithSmith back with Knicks, Prigioni too
The Knicks ultimately got its secondary scorer back. J.R. Smith is returning on a four-year contract worth $24.7 million, as first reported by Frank Isola, the highest monetary amount the Knicks could give him. Based on other contracts given out to similar players like O.J. Mayo and Kyle Korver (we’ll get to them later), Smith probably could have gotten bigger money offers elsewhere, but his loyalty to the team is clearly evident in this contract.

Smith is a player of extremes, either providing elation or sheer frustration, but there’s no question that Smith had his best season in 2012-2013. The 6th Man of the Year played a career high 33.5 minutes per game and had career best point (18.1), rebound (5.3) and Win Share (6.7) totals to go with his best PER (17.6) since the 2007-2008 season.

Smith’s playoff performance was disappointing, but he actually hadn’t shot better than 40 percent from the field in a postseason since 2008-2009. Maybe those struggles should have been expected.

Prigioni featured imagePrigioni gets a three-year deal worth about $6 million, which is certainly a bargain for the elderly Argentine’s production. He only averaged about 16 minutes per game off the bench, but shot 45.5 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from three, to give him a very strong 116 Offensive Rating and a very healthy .123 Win Shares per 48 minutes (.100 is the league average). As long as Prigioni stays healthy, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be a nice asset for the team.