Wednesday, September 15, 2004
ESPN.com news services
The Nets spawned a negative backlash among their fans with the offseason trades of Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles. And it could get worse -- for the fans and organization alike.
In what would be considered a complete dismantling of the team, the Nets have discussed a blockbuster trade that would send superstar point guard Jason Kidd to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
Trail Blazers president Steve Patterson has acknowledged that the teams have talked about such a deal. The New York Daily News, citing several NBA sources, reported that talks have been held for the last few days.
Nets CEO Rod Thorn told the newspaper Tuesday night that New Jersey is not close to dealing Kidd.
"I don't comment on anything regarding players," Thorn said.
The Nets are continuing to look at ways to cut payroll under new owner Bruce Ratner. Their trade of Martin, a restricted free agent, to the Nuggets in a sign-and-trade deal for draft picks and veteran guard Kittles to the Clippers left Kidd irate. The Nets apparently are concerned how Kidd will deal with the roster changes and the franchise's sinking status in the East.
Kidd has yet to demand a trade, but he's let management know that he would accept deals to several Western Conference teams, including Sacramento, Minnesota and Dallas.
By dealing Martin and Kittles, the Nets reduced payroll from over $60 million to $49 million. The savings will help Ratner avoid paying the NBA luxury tax.
It appears that the Blazers might be one of only a handful of teams that would deal for Kidd without fearing the state of his recently repaired knee. Kidd has been rehabbing his knee and might miss all of training camp and possibly the first several weeks of the season.
The Blazers also are unafraid to take on big contracts; Kidd's has five years and $90 million remaining on it. The salary cap numbers would work in a Nets-Blazers deal: Kidd will make $14.8 million this season, while Abdur-Rahim, who has demanded to be traded, makes $14.6 million.
Meanwhile, the Nets on Wednesday waived backup guard Lucious Harris, who averaged 7.7 points, 1.6 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 456 games since being acquired in June 1997 as part of an eight-player trade with Philadelphia.
Harris' most productive season in New Jersey was 2002-03, when he averaged 10.3 points. The 11-year veteran played a big part in helping the Nets win two Eastern Division titles. He finishes his Nets career ranked sixth in games played and fifth in 3-pointers made with 236.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
I already posted it yesterday in the NBA Forum
and if that deal goes through, you can forget about the Nets keeping up there winning ways.
Yeah, and Lucious Harris was released. The purge continues. So what? It's football season.