BROOKLYN NETS FRANCHISE HISTORY
Previous Franchise Names: New Jersey Nets, New York Nets, New Jersey Americans
Best Season: 1974-75 (58-26, .690)
Playoff Appearances: 26
NBA Championships: 2 (1973-74 ABA, 1975-76 ABA)
One of four franchises to join the NBA as part of a merger with the rival American Basketball Association, the team now known as the Brooklyn Nets hasn’t known a lot of success since that change of leagues in 1976.
The franchise played its first season as the New Jersey Americans in the ABA’s inaugural campaign of 1967-68, but moved to Long Island the following season and rechristened itself the New York Nets.
They enjoyed their greatest success while playing at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the mid-1970s, winning ABA titles in 1974 and 1976 while led by the ABA’s greatest player, Julius Erving.
However, Erving demanded a raise after the merger and cash-strapped owner Roy Boe—who owed not only the $3 million entry fee to the NBA but an additional $3 million to the New York Knicks for invading the established club’s territory—sold the three-time ABA MVP to the Philadelphia 76ers shortly before the Nets began their first NBA season.
The sale price was a not-at-all-coincidental total of $3 million.
The Nets were a playoff team eight times in their nine ABA seasons, but have just 19 NBA Playoff bids in 49 years since the merger.
The high-water mark for the club as an NBA franchise came early in the 21st century. After trading for All-Star point guard Jason Kidd, the Nets reached back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, being swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002 and losing a six-game series to another former ABA club, the San Antonio Spurs, in 2003.
The Nets left Long Island in 1977 for the Rutgers Athletic Center and changed their name to the New Jersey Nets. They moved into the new Brendan Byrne Arena in 1981 and remained there until playing their final two seasons in New Jersey at the Prudential Center in Newark.
In 2012, the Nets moved back across the river to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center and took on the Brooklyn moniker.
Kevin Loughery, who was the team’s last coach in the ABA and its first in the NBA, still leads the franchise in wins, going 297-318 from 1973-74 until he was fired 35 games into the 1980-81 season. He also had a 21-11 mark in the playoffs (0-2 in the postseason after the merger).
Brooklyn Nets Career Leaders (as of 3/9/2016)
- Games, Buck Williams, 635
- Points, Buck Williams, 10440
- Rebounds, Buck Williams, 7576
- Assists, Jason Kidd, 4620
- Steals, Jason Kidd, 950
- Blocks, George Johnson, 863
Brooklyn Nets Retired Numbers
- 3, Drazen Petrovic
- 4, Wendell Ladner
- 5, Jason Kidd
- 23, John Williamson
- 25, Bill Melchionni
- 32, Julius Erving
- 52, Buck Williams
Brooklyn Nets Official Links
Brooklyn Nets Beat Writers
Mitch Abramson, New York Daily News, @nydnmabramson
Tim Bontemps, New York Post, @timbontemps
Roderick Boone, Newsday, @rodboone
Andrew Keh, New York Times, @andrewkeh
Brian Mahoney, Associated Press, @briancmahoney
Mike Mazzeo, ESPN New York, @MazzESPN
Alex Raskin, Wall Street Journal, @alexraskinnyc
Andy Vasquez, Bergen Record, @andy_vasquez
Related Brooklyn Nets Blogs and Links
Brooklyn Nets Logo History, courtesy of Chris Creamer’s Sportslogos.net
Salary Page: Brooklyn Nets Salaries at Spotrac
FanSided Brooklyn Nets: Nothin But Nets
SB Nation Brooklyn Nets: NetsDaily
ESPN TrueHoop Brooklyn Nets: Brooklyn’s Finest
HoopsHabit Brooklyn Nets Archive: Brooklyn Nets
Bleacher Report Brooklyn Nets Team Stream: Brooklyn Nets
RealGM Brooklyn Nets Page: Brooklyn Nets
Stats and retired number information courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com