Before the Brooklyn Nets were the Brooklyn Nets, they were the New Jersey Nets.
Their hey-day was when they appeared in the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003 against the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs respectively.
The Nets were led by floor general, Jason Kidd and fellow All Star Kenyon Martin. Led by head coach, Byron Scott, the Nets also had key contributors in Kerry Kittles, Keith Van Horn, Todd McCullough, Lucious Harris and more.
While the Nets lost both series to an overpowering Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in 2002 and the trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in 2003, they were entertaining in the swamp lands of East Rutherford, New Jersey.
What were they missing?
In a recent interview during his holiday tournament in East Orange, New Jersey, retired NBA player, Tim Thomas, he told me it was him. Thomas Thomas was actually a Nets draft pick in 1997 when he was the seventh pick out of Villanova.
The Nets traded him in a draft day deal that shipped his rights to the Philadelphia 76ers for Keith Van Horn.
In 12 NBA seasons, the former Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Buck, Chicago Bull, New York Knick, Phoenix Sun, Dallas Maverick and Los Angeles Clipper averaged 11.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You were drafted by the Nets. Your rights were traded on draft day for Keith Van Horn. You were traded to Sixers and Keith Van Horn became a Net….
Tim Thomas: Keith Van Horn didn’t want to go to Philly to play with the brothas [laughs]…that’s what that s—t was about. But I’ll tell you this, if I was on any of those New Jersey teams that went to the Finals, New Jersey would’ve had one or two championships. I can guarantee you that!
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Ya’ll know I’m gonna write about this later. Do you see yourself as a viable option against the Lakers  or that San Antonio Spurs series ?
Tim Thomas: Both. Because I was more viable because I could play the 3,4, and 5 and I could score the ball in so many different ways. Now you had guys that were good at what they do and then you had guys that didn’t even show up in some of those series at the 3 or the 4.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Do you ever regret that you didn’t get a chance to play for the Nets?
Tim Thomas: Yeah. Yeah. When I got drafted, that was the best feeling in the world. I automatically knew that I was going to come in the NBA and be able to do what I do, and have to defer to, a guy that was coming into the League that going to an eventual superstar in Allen Iverson. That’s why Keith Van Horn didn’t want to go with the brothas because at that particular time you had Stackhouse, Allen Iverson, Derrick Coleman, so I guess he must’ve felt with his style of play, there’s no way he can fit in with a guy that was fast like Allen. A guy that was athletic and quick like Stackhouse, and a guy who dominated the ball or who wanted to dominate the ball in Derrick Coleman so they easy out at that particular time was to go to New Jersey where they were kinda putting the franchise in his hand a little bit, and kinda let him develop a little bit, I definitely wanted to play with the home team with the Nets. And like I said, if I would’ve been on any one of those teams, and those NBA Final runs, Jersey would definitely have TWO NBA Championships!
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Where do have a parade in Jersey if they win a NBA Championship? I’ve always wondered that.
Tim Thomas: You gotta go through every borough! You gotta go through every part of Jersey! You have to go through Jersey City, gotta go through Newark, gotta go through East Orange, through Patterson, you have to go through everywhere!
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: The Nets and their current state. Kyrie Irving, KD…came to the Nets in the summertime, Kyrie and KD are both hurt but Spencer Dinwiddie is putting on a performance man…what do you think of the Nets and what do you think of Spencer’s play?
Tim Thomas: I love Spencer’s play. He gets it done and the Nets right now are waiting for everyone to get healthy. Once everyone is healthy, the show’s coming to the Barclay’s. We all know that. It’s just a matter of time, I’m excited to see how KD is going to bounce back, and hopefully Kyrie can stay healthy and continues to do what he do
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: The Nets and the Knicks played Thursday night. Who’s the King of New York?
Tim Thomas: Who won the game?
Branon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: The Knicks.
Tim Thomas: You know what? The Knicks are always going to be the Kings of New York because it’s that franchise. You can’t compete with a franchise that has that aura, that history, that legacy behind it. It’s just hard to compete with that. But Brooklyn is definitely on their way.