by Emmett Jones
The Nets are moving.
No, not to Brooklyn, at least, not until 2012. You’re New Jersey Nets have decided to seek some temporary housing until their 2012 move. Their new locale? Newark.
While they are still on schedule to move to Brooklyn at some point in 2012, the Nets likely will be playing in Newark the next two seasons after reaching a preliminary lease agreement with the Devils to play their home games at the Prudential Center, according to a source familiar with the team’s situation.
According to the source, the Nets and Devils reached a new agreement last week and are expected to sign it this week. It should reach Gov. Chris Christie’s desk soon after and it is expected to be approved.
The Nets and Devils, former co-tenants in the Meadowlands until the Devils moved to Newark in 2007-08, had already reached a lease agreement that was approved but not signed by former governor Jon Corzine. But when Corzine was unseated by Christie in November, that deal fell through, leaving the teams to start from scratch.
Under terms of that previously agreed-upon deal, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority would have waived a reported $7.5 million penalty that the Nets would have had to pay in order to break their lease at the Meadowlands. That penalty, which could be substantially lowered, according to one source, has apparently been a sticking point in the most recent negotiations. (via New York Daily News)
So…why the move? The Nets are probably hoping that moving into the more modern Prudential Center could attract some big profile free agents (*cough* LeBron James *cough*) in the star studded 2010 NBA offseason. Of course, it may take a bit more than a new building to attract some bigger talent.
The Nets had a 4-48 record heading into the all-star break.
So, the Nets are making a move to Newark less than 2 years before their move to Brooklyn. Some might be worried that the move might endanger the proposed Brooklyn relocation…but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Back in December team owner Bruce Ratner received favorable ratings on the bonds that he needed to sell to generate the money necessary to build a new arena and the New York Court of Appeals had already ruled the Nets could apply an eminent domain theory to allow for the taking of businesses and private property for the project.
East Rutherford to Newark to Brooklyn. It is your New Jersey soon to be Brooklyn Nets. Enjoy them while you can…cause they might not be there very long.