The New York Daily News is reporting that the 4-42 New Jersey Nets have tentatively struck a deal that will enable them to move to the nearby Prudential Center in Newark following the conclusion of this season. The site change would only be temporary, and the team will move to Brooklyn as planned in 2012.
Currently, the team plays its games in the Izod Center at the Meadowlands. The structure is considered one of the worst basketball arenas in existence, and has come under criticism over the past few years for the few amenities it offers. New Jersey has played there since 1981, when at the time it was known as the Brendan Byrne Arena.
Speculation of a move began back in 2007, when the New Jersey Devils of the NHL jumped ship to Newark with the opening of the arena referred to as “The Rock”. They openly extended an invitation for the Nets to join them at anytime, a venture that would seemingly be successful as they awaited the completion of their own arena, the Barclays Center. After years of a stalemate in the construction of the Brooklyn arena, the Nets have stayed put thus far, despite playing two preseason at the Prudential Center in October.
With the deal simply awaiting the approval of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), some Nets players are gearing up. New Jersey big man Brooke Lopez told the Daily News that he, “can’t say if [the move] will mean we’ll get better crowds. But it’s a good-looking arena and it worked very well for an NBA game when we were down there in preseason. The atmosphere was very good.”
Completing the move means the Nets must pay a $7.5 million fee to the NJSEA, the same organization that is completing the neighboring new Meadowlands Stadium.