With just a few games left in the NBA regular season, the highly anticipated offseason will officially kick off for half the league. Teams like the New York Knicks will be ramping up their strategy for free agency, but their crosstown rival in the Brooklyn Nets could be headed to the postseason before they think about the offseason.
The Nets are the NBA's surprise this season, with it's young core -- led by the emergence of All-Star PG D'Angelo Russell -- beating some of the best teams in the league on their way to a low seed in the Eastern Conference. They currently hold the seventh seed, but with three games left, a lot can happen in this tight race.
Playoffs or no playoffs, the Nets have certainly put themselves on the map this season, and the top free agents expected to hit the market like Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and Kyrie Irving have taken notice, according to many reports.
So how do the Nets land one of these talents to further improve their young squad? Talking helps.
"Guys talk for sure," center Ed Davis told Newsday's Greg Logan. "They want to know how is the medical staff, how is the coach, how is the GM, how's living in the city. All those little things, guys for sure want to know."
Though some players ask around, others like Jared Dudley make it a point to let these free agents know what the Nets have to offer.
"It's more me talking to them," Dudley explained. "I'm usually telling them, 'Man, they just do it the right way here. Taking care of your body, preparing you, being able to live in the city, the facilities. The reason why Brooklyn is in the conversation is because they're winning.' "
Brooklyn is not only winning this season, but they have proved to be a sustainable franchise. The Nets have extended Kenny Atkinson, who will likely be a top candidate for Coach of the Year, and the rest of his staff as well as GM Sean Marks. They deserve credit for not only putting together this group, but implementing the system that has worked to produce a playoff contender.
"You could see the growth over years from 20 wins to 28 to 39-plus," Davis said. "That's the trend you want to see if you're a free agent. It shows the guys at the top [of the organization] know what they're doing. Everybody knows what this franchise went through with that trade that was arguably the worst tradfe in NBA history. The culture and us [contending for] the playoffs definitely help out a lot."
So, as the Nets try to secure their playoff spot in this stellar season, the offseason could see some more wins come their way as free agents mark Brooklyn as a preferred destination.