Monday, July 13, 2009

Blast From the Past - Nets Town Hall Meeting, 2/11/08

Here is a (slightly-edited) post from a Nets "Town Hall" Meeting, on 2/10/08. To set the stage: the team sucked, and Kidd wanted out. The Nets senior management (Thorn, Ratner, Brett Yormark, and newcomer Kiki Vandeweghe) held an open forum for Nets ticket holders. The meeting was held at the Nets practice facility in East Rutherford. Seeing as I bitch and moan online, I thought it would be disingenuous not to say anything to their faces when given the chance. Here is my recap. It is funny, unique moments like this that first put the idea of starting a blog into my head. More Random Nets Crap next week.

Rod Thorn mentioned 4 main topics in his "State of the Team" address.

1. His regrets about not resigning Mikki Moore. He said he wanted a "do-over". I had never heard this publicly stated before, and thought "hm, this could be interesting, maybe I'll learn something new."

2. Lawrence Frank: He supports the coach, and would fire Frank if he thought coaching was the problem with the team. The players like him and do not complain. Basically same old same old. I support Frank, so I didn't have much of an issue here. It's not Frank's fault that the team is poorly constructed.

3. Jason Kidd: Again, more of the same about not trading him for the sake of trading him, looking for the best deal. Sky is still blue, grass still green, Rod Thorn still not trading Kidd unless he gets a great offer.

4. Vince Carter: Thorn addressed that some people thought his contract was bad, and battled back using the typical pure numbers argument. Vince was the leading scorer, and the team was 0-5 without him. He did not address MY issues - that there was no market for Vince last summer, hence he was overpaid.

So they turned to the audience to ask questions. It was pretty cool, as you sat literally next to Rod Thorn, like if you went to a movie theater with him. On your right was Chris Carrino, the Nets radio voice and emcee. On your left was Thorn, followed by Bruce Ratner (owner), Kiki Vandeweghe (Rod's assistant), and Brett Yormark (head of marketing). The majority of the questions focused around the topics Thorn already addressed - i.e. Coach Frank, Jason Kidd, finding a big man, etc.

I wasn't going to ask a question until I heard a few. After the first ones were basically deep tissue massages for management (I honestly believe a few had to be planted), I figured I should go up - this is my chance to complain TO ROD - it'd be disingenuous if I go back on the Internet and complain without having the guts to saying anything to his face. So I go up there, and I must've looked really dorky - I'm a skinny white kid and my face was beat-red (I was nervous). Anyway, here's a rough transcript:

"Hey Rod. I've been a fan for a long time, and I'd be really remiss if I didn't get to ask a question. This is my first time at the Town Hall meeting, and after my question, it might be my last time. I was going to go up here and rip you about Mikki (note: this is true, I made sure to look up Mikki's and Magloire's stats before going), but you already apologized for that. And I accept your apology - everyone makes mistakes, that's why pencils have erasers.


Could I get an apology for Jamal Magloire, Jeff McInnis, Chris Childs, Ron Mercer, Scott Padgett, selling the 2004 draft pick, trading Korver for nothing..."

I trailed off, as I was trying to think of the ones I forgot (Wright over Granger, dammit!) but the crowd had already started applauding and the management was laughing. After it settled down (and I heard Ratner mumble something about selling the 04 pick - maybe not his fault? The Goldman Sachs investors? I forget how the story went), Rod went onto explain how sometimes things work, sometimes things don't, how they all looked good when it happened (I had to bite my tongue, because none of those did in my mind). Kiki added that if you aren't making mistakes, you aren't trying. I wish they would print THAT in the media guide. Chris Carrino made a joke as I went off stage, saying that security has my picture.

A couple questions later, an the angry European guy came on and ripped into the team, saying he used to take his kids to the game as a reward, now he uses it as a punishment. He left them speechless.

Overall, it wasn't anything new, but I didn't expect it to be. When your boss calls you out at work for all your mistakes, you never own up - you just bullshit and beat around the bush. This was similar. My friend thought I should've asked a more "answerable" question - but I decided to stick with something jokey, like a pie-in-the-face. If I went up there and did a "here's what I would've done with the team" and played fantasy GM, I think their eyes would've glazed over and they would've given more of the same type answers. At least now they'll remember my question.

Well, that's it. At least I remember my question. It is worth noting that after this, they traded Jason Kidd later in the week. I like to think my question was responsible for that move.

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