New owner, new arena, new state...and new name. Mikhail Prokhorov has filed the paperwork to get started on changing the name of the team.
It's just a formality, as NBA rules require a 25-month heads up on any changes. So if their new arena is ready for the 2012 season, the Nets had to register their intentions now to avoid being the New Jersey Nets, playing in Brooklyn.
But what's not clear is what exactly will be changing. This filing is necessary just to change the name to Brooklyn Nets, so it's not a given that the "Nets" name is on its way out. Though it should be.
Yes, the Nets go back to the '60s, and are one of four remaining links to the ABA days. But a long history does not equal a storied history. Remember that time they had to forfeit a playoff game because the only arena they could get had baskets of uneven height? Remember when they sold Dr. J because they couldn't afford the cost of joining the NBA? Remember those 432 games below .500, in just 34 years in the league?
Some aren't quite ready to quit the abusive relationship. Daily News beat reporter Stefan Bondy writes:
Stern held a 30-plus minute conference call on the subject and basically said Prokhorov wanted the Nets to play overseas - both in London and in China for two preseason games - to increase the global awareness of his team. This is why the name-change makes little sense.
If they go to London and China as the New Jersey Nets, how are potential fans overseas going to correlate that to the Brooklyn Raccoons?
Oh, yes, how on earth will the fine people of Beijing, Guangzhou and London ever reconcile this change with their lifelong loyalties to the New Jersey Nets?