Despite the Nets’ move to Brooklyn, local fans remain loyal

by Connor Smith
The National Basketball Association’s Nets have made the move out of New Jersey’s Prudential Center and into Brooklyn’s new 700-million-dollar Barclays Center. Students now face a longer commute to see their favorite team. But for most New Jersey fans, the new beginning of the franchise makes the trip worthwhile.
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The Nets record through 20 games is 11-9 compared to last year at this time when the team was 5-12. This 180-degree turn is attributed to an $81.8 million payroll, a brand new venue geared toward basketball, and an energized  New York City fanbase.
“It doesn’t frustrate me that the Barclays Center is farther away because the Barclays Center is a much nicer arena, plus the commute is only about 20 minutes extra,” said sophomore Chris Turso, about the trip to Brooklyn compared to the trip to Newark.
For fans like Turso, the monetary investment in the franchise has paid off in the form of an improved roster.
What does $81.8 million dollars buy? Brooklyn added star point guard Deron Williams in 2010,  shooting guard Joe Johnson in a trade from Atlanta in the 2012 offseason, and small forward Gerald Wallace in a trade from Portland. These players have meshed with returning Nets such as Brook Lopez (four years $61 million) and Kris Humphries (two years $24 million).
“Moving to Brooklyn allowed the salary cap to increase, which permitted the Nets to sign several players (like Lopez and Humphries), and Williams is healthy. They’re quality players and have helped the team,” said senior George Leavitt.
Another factor in the Nets change is shedding the burden of the Prudential Center. Last season, Deron Williams told The New York Post, “It just doesn’t feel like our home arena. I don’t know why. It just doesn’t feel like it.”
Williams is now in love with the new Brooklyn fan base. The Brooklyn chant that is often heard during games was invented by Williams, who seems very settled in his new environment.
Despite all the positives of the new stadium, not all New Jersey fans are happy. “Now that they moved, I am less likely to go to a game because it is farther away and not as easy to get there,” said sophomore Mykala Porter.
While leaving some fans unhappy, the Nets’ move to Brooklyn appears to be for the better, as it symbolizes the rebirth as a once-struggling franchise. With a new stadium and an improved roster, the Nets seem to be moving in the right direction.
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