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September 30, 2014 Updates

A photographer’s assistant at one station, making small talk, asked Durant if he had already opened his birthday presents. “When you turn 26, you don’t get presents no more,” Durant replied. “It’s just texts.” Oklahoman

September 29, 2014 Updates

Now the specter of a pro-Palestinian protest at an Israeli sporting event is coming to the United States. This could happen next month when the most celebrated basketball team in Israel’s history, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, will return to the United States and play two NBA preseason games against the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers. As Euroleague Champions, this will be the fifth time in nine years that Maccabi has played in the United States. But coming on the heels of the summer bombardment of Gaza, there are many activists in New York City arguing that it can no longer be hoops as usual. The Nation

The Nets point guard, who admittedly struggled with his confidence a year ago, fell under heavy scrutiny last season because he went scoreless in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Miami. Bryant chimed in on the subject in a Sports Illustrated article last month, saying Williams “psyched himself out” because he only took nine shots that game and “I would go 0-for-30 before I went 0-for-9.” New York Daily News

“I understand Kobe and all those guys, ‘I’m going to do this, the next shot is going in.’ That’s great confidence but it doesn’t matter if you don’t make the next shot,” Hollins said. “I just want Deron to play good basketball. There are a lot of expectations on him. I don’t know the reasons why — the status he had when he was playing here, the contract. Whatever it may be, Deron Williams is a very good basketball player and Deron Williams is going to prove that this year with this team. And you guys are going to love him. Or respect him. “To say that nobody has doubt, nobody ever thinks that things are not gonna work out are untrue because we’re all human and we’re not perfect humans,” Hollins added. “So I really would hope that as we go along that you guys — we’re talking about embracing (expectations) or not embracing — I would hope you guys would embrace Deron for his play on the court and that be all it is without the expectations that he’s supposed to. New York Daily News

September 28, 2014 Updates

It’s a new year but the same problem for Andrei Kirilenko. The versatile Nets forward, after missing most of the preseason and 25 of the first 29 games last season with back spasms, sat out Sunday morning’s practice — the team’s second of the season — because of a tight lower back. Kirilenko called the back spasms a year ago “the worst of his career,” and they basically prevented him from being part of the team for the first two months of the regular season. He never seemed to get back on track afterward. New York Post

September 27, 2014 Updates

Though the 24-year-old says he’s not motivated by the slights, he is used to hearing them. (There was little criticism, however, when Nets general manager Billy King, who also played at Duke, selected Plumlee with the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 Draft.) “Honestly, especially being at a high profile program like Duke, you just learn to block it out,” said Plumlee on Saturday following the first morning practice of training camp. “I’m moreso out here for my teammates, for my family. There are bigger reasons to play the game and to play well then somebody writing an article about you.” New York Daily News

Kevin Garnett is trying his best not to copy Derek Jeter. Unlike Jeter, Garnett isn’t declaring this season — his 20th in the NBA — will be his last, despite plenty of speculation it will be. And he’s also hoping that, unlike Jeter, if this is his final year he won’t go out with a whimper. “I don’t like to [think like] that,” Garnett said when asked directly if this will be his final season during his media day interview session at the team’s New Jersey practice facility. “I like to come in each year and assess it. I’ve always said the days when I’m not feeling [passionate about] basketball…or when I don’t have the motivation to come in here, it’s time to move on. New York Post

But after spending yet another summer debating whether or not he should return to the NBA, Garnett seemed determined to try and enjoy what likely could be his final lap around the league, admitting the thought of retiring is always in the back of his mind. “It’s always somewhere in there, especially when you come up short for your goal for the year,” Garnett said. “So yeah, in the back of your mind you think about it. But the decision is either yes or no. It’s not like 50-50 I’m in the middle of the road or gray area. I’m a person that when you commit to something you commit to it. … It’s that simple. New York Post

September 26, 2014 Updates

In his first public comments since the Nets were still in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Garnett said Friday that he indeed contemplated retirement but has returned with a full commitment to 2014-15. "(The thought of retirement) is always somewhere in there, especially when you come up short for your goal for the year. But I must admit these last three years, I've thought about life and where basketball is as far as priority," Garnett said at Brooklyn's Media Day, which segues into the start of training camp Friday. "So yeah, in the back of your mind, you think about it. But the decision is either yes or no. It's not like 50-50 I'm in the middle of the road or gray area. I'm a person that when you commit to something, you commit to it. It's that simple." New York Daily News


Deron Williams and Joe Johnson move up a few spots in a list topped by their former head coach.


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