Nets Notebook: Lopez, Carlesimo on Jason Collins coming out

Jason Collins came out as gay in the latest Sports Illustrated.
Jason Collins came out as gay in the latest Sports Illustrated.

In Game 2 and 3, Deron Williams struggled in replicating his strong showing on shots from 10 feet or less. Many times when he tried to do something, Kirk Hinrich was shadowing him.

Williams didn’t have that problem Monday as Hinrich sat out with an injured left calf he suffered Saturday which left him in a walking boot.

In Brooklyn’s first two losses, Williams shot 6-for-23 and the Nets shot well under 40 percent. In Game 4, Williams was 9-for-14 through three quarters but missed nine of last 11 shots in the fourth quarter and overtimes.

“It’s difficult,” Hinrich said to reporters at Chicago’s morning shootaround. “Nobody wants to miss playoff games. There’s no question, this is what you look to all year. There’s nothing really I can do at this point, other than just continue to try and improve it every day and see how it goes.”

Hinrich has shot 16-of-34 in Chicago’s three wins after opening the series with a 0-for-3 night. However, it is defensively where he has shined by fronting Williams.

He has kept Williams out of the paint and limited his aggressiveness after he was 7-for-9 on shots from 10 feet or less. It also has limited his ability to find Brook Lopez for post-ups.

Now it’s up to the Nets to capitalize even if it means exposure to the potential explosiveness of Nate Robinson.

“He’s one of those guys that can get it going and get in a zone,” Carlesimo said. “It doesn’t matter — good shots, bad shots, bank shots — whatever he’s doing it can go in.”

Nets comment on Jason Collins

Jason Collins began his career with the Nets just as the team experienced a renaissance in 2001-02. He played six and a half seasons with New Jersey before joining five other teams.

That’s not why he was in the news Monday. In this week’s upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated, he wrote an op-ed stating he is coming out as gay and didn’t think he could do so 10 years ago.

“I just think the NBA reflects society and I think society hopefully is a lot more mature or accepting or ready for acting the way we should act right now,” Carlesimo said. “That implies we weren’t ready in ’03. I don’t know if it happened in ’03 it would have been any different. I think it’s great that Jason did it. It’s extremely courageous on his part but I think the NBA will react very, very well.

“We’re only a tiny part but I think they will react very, very well. I don’t know if I could say, ‘Oh god, I’m glad this didn’t happen in ’03, we wouldn’t have been ready then.’ I think we very well could have been then. I hope that we would react even better than the rest of society. We’re a little bit part of society but given the family aspect and what we all do together every year, I think we could handle it a lot better.”

Several former teammates used Twitter to express their support, including Jason Kidd and Bostjan Nachbar.

Kidd said: “Jason’s sexuality doesn’t change the fact that he is a great friend and was a great teammate.”

Nachbar said: “I’m surprised but happy for big fella to get it off his chest.”

As for the current Nets, general manager Billy King issued the following statement:

“Jason Collins was a vital member of the New Jersey Nets for six and a half years, and as an executive with a competing NBA team, I always respected the standard he set for team play and the example he set for the league in playing with integrity and purpose. He exemplifies everything we look for in players, and for those players and associates within our organization, our primary focus is creating the most accepting and respectful environment for everyone to succeed.”

Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson also issued brief statements:

“It’s an honor for me to call Jason Collins a friend,” Lopez said. “I admire his dignity as well as his courage to come out. I’ll always have his back.”

“Jason Collins was one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” Johnson said. “I respect his tremendous courage to come out and will always support him.”

Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.



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