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Training Camp

By Siwale Chabala

Today marks the first day of training camp for the National Basketball Association otherwise known as the NBA. The New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets welcomed back the coaches and players into camp. The media buzzing around the gym asking redundant questions and getting on the coaches and player's nerves, and this is the first day. Imagine going through this after 82 games???? Now that's got to be an experience you can't forget.

We all know what the Knicks are going to do which is signing players to 1-year deals (David Lee and Nate Robinson) clearing up space for next year where they hope to get Lebron James ( cough ain't happening cough) or other free agents like Dwayne Wade, Yao Ming, Chris Bosh and a whole lot of free-agents. The Knicks are just hoping to be competitive or stay afloat for the regular season

But for the New Jersey Nets, lots of questions in the air.New Owner/Playboy/ Russian Gazillionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is commanding the ship. What's the over/under that we hear all sorts of jokes about the Nets being run by the russian mob??? This guy has so much money, everytime he walks its coming out of his pocket. Plus the women, lots and lots of women, so you know the Nets will have the most attractive cheerleaders, wink, wink. I wonder if Jay-Z is going to do an album in the russian language?? Only time will tell.

Another big question. Who is going to fill the void of Vinsanity aka Vince Carter. He got traded this summer to the Orlando Magic for Rafer Alston, play ground legend Mr. Skip to My Lou himself and Courtney Lee, best knowned for dunking on Lebron James not once but twice last season in the playoffs. Vince Carter was the only reason why the Nets were getting some fans at the arena. He brought that anticipation of excitement even if his best athletic years were behind him, it still drew a few fans to watch the New Jersey Nets. Now with that gone, the question is who is going to step up and be the face of the organization??

Devin Harris and Brooke Lopez will have to carry that torch for now, until 2010 that's when King James is free. Harris stepped up big time last year posting career highs in points, assists and Lopez was one of the better rookies this year but went unoticed because the Nets weren't on the playoff radar. Other players like Rafer Alson brings some stability to the Nets with his point guard skills and Courtney Lee is a young and talented player whose just learning the game. Yi Jianlian from China was said to have more potential than Yao Ming. I saw him play this summer and its all POTENTIAL. He has a lot of work to do. Chris Douglas-Roberts aka CDR is another player that has to step up for New Jersey this year.

This is going to be a very unpredictable year for the Nets. The product is going to be young and with youth there will be some growing pains. So New jersey fans should be patient and go support the Nets while they are in New Jersey because they will be moving to brooklyn soon. And in 2010, maybe, just maybe Mr. Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z will convince the King, Lebron James to come play for the Brooklyn Nets. And like they say out there, BROOKLYN STAND UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!