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Unclebuck
06-20-2004, 11:22 PM
http://www.nypost.com/sports/nets/23347.htm


NETS MAY LET MARTIN WALK



By FRED KERBER
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NOT OK IN N.J.: The Nets may not match substantial offers for Kenyon Martin (right), a restricted free agent. Jason Kidd (left) is set for knee surgery July 1. Jeff Zelevansky


June 20, 2004 -- The Nets' toughest opponents next season might not be the Pistons and the Pacers but purse-strings and the payroll.
In developments that could break up the Nets' trio of Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson, prospective owner Bruce Ratner has ordered cost-cutting measures that might drastically alter next year's team, according to multiple sources around the club.

"Obviously, in the course of doing daily business, we have had discussions regarding free agents, the draft, business as usual," said Nets CEO Rod Thorn. "Now our team has a high payroll but there have been no decisions made regarding free agents. That area is totally up in the air as to what we are going to do. As part of your due diligence you examine all possibilities."

"The sale of the team has not been voted upon yet by the NBA," said Barry Baum, a spokesman for Ratner. "Therefore no comment can be made at this time."

The moves already have started, sources claim, and include the trading of Thursday's No. 22 first round pick to Portland for several million dollars and a non-guaranteed contract player, likely Omar Cook or Eddie Gill; a 40 percent hike in premium tickets prices; and exposing Kerry Kittles and his $10,266,667 salary to the expansion draft.

"We may trade the pick. That is a very distinct possibility," Thorn said. "But if it is done, it has nothing to do with money."

Thorn and most league execs maintain this is a weak draft, damaged further this week when more than 50 early entry candidates withdrew.



More crippling for the Nets is the very real possibility of losing Martin, a restricted free agent, to avoid paying any luxury tax. Martin will seek a maximum contract and the team may be reluctant to offer it because ownership does not want three maximum deals, sources said. Kidd already has one and another probably will go to Jefferson, the youngest of the three, next year. The team likely will exercise a buyout of Lucious Harris' contract and try to buy out Rodney Rogers as well as not using the mid-level exception, worth $5 million, for a free agent.

"The team is going to look a lot different from the past couple years," one source maintained.

Ratner heads an investment group that agreed to purchase the team for $300 million with the intent of moving it to Brooklyn as the hub of a proposed urban redevelopment complex. Ratner still needs official approval from the league as owner. The vote will be held before the end of the month.

If Martin receives a maximum offer from another team - Atlanta and Denver are among clubs with available room for a max proposal - a strong chance exists the Nets would not match. Because Martin is a restricted free agent, the Nets can match any offer he receives. Martin can get an offer of 25 percent of the salary cap with a 12.5-percent increase each year for seven years from the Nets or 10 percent bumps for six years from other teams. Figure the Nets, based on a cap of around $45 million, could offer a deal worth $103 million while competitors can give about $85 million without a seventh year.

Kidd's knee injury may keep him in New Jersey as not even he is secure in ownership's eyes, sources said. But nothing can be discussed until the status of his surgery-requiring knee is determined. Kidd signed a $103 million, six-year deal last summer. Prospective ownership apparently sees a large salary, not a player who revitalized a franchise and directed two trips to the NBA Finals.

The Nets already have significant increases in their ticket prices for season ticket holders. Courtside seats have been hiked from $700 to $1,000. Those customers, though, receive a discount on season plans. But the individual discounts are still considerably hefty, now costing $800 instead of $600.

Will Galen
06-21-2004, 09:45 AM
I read that yesterday and I think prospective owner Bruce Ratner is the worst thing that can happen to the Nets . . . if you're a Net fan.

If he's confirmed as owner I look for the Net's to drop in the standing's like a stone. I think he is more interested in constructing a center in Brooklyn than the Net's. The Net's are just a means to an end for him.

Hip hip hurray for the Simons!

DisplacedKnick
06-21-2004, 10:19 AM
I'm not sure K-Mart's a max player but the Nets seem determined to drive him away. I'd say he's a player who should get closer to Brad Miller dollars. Hard to say where he ends up. If Kobe leaves, the Lakers wouldn't surprise me.

wintermute
06-21-2004, 12:16 PM
espn is reporting that nets have sold their first round pick this year (#22) to portland for cash and an unguaranteed player.

i guess belts are tightening in new jersey huh? somehow i don't think kmart is going to get his max deal from them.

birdman
06-21-2004, 12:34 PM
espn is reporting that nets have sold their first round pick this year (#22) to portland for cash and an unguaranteed player.

i guess belts are tightening in new jersey huh? somehow i don't think kmart is going to get his max deal from them.

I heard Eddie Gill and $3 million for #22. Looks like the Blazers are trying to draft Telfair.

Young
06-21-2004, 01:04 PM
Duh NJ is dumb to do that deal.

They could get a point guard to take over for Kidd in a couple of years, let him develope under kid or go after a guard.

Instead they trade it for, money.

They did that last year with Kyle Koover and I thought that was dumb. He could of helped that team a little bit.

MSA2CF
06-21-2004, 01:08 PM
All the power to the Nets. May they continue on their current path. :thumbsup:

Young
06-21-2004, 01:17 PM
All the power to the Nets. May they continue on their current path. :thumbsup:

:laugh:

smoothie
06-21-2004, 01:30 PM
kidd and martin said in local papers that they don't want to play if the team is moved out of NJ.

since they are being moved out of NJ, it looks like they may get traded.

Fool
06-21-2004, 03:25 PM
In my opinion neither RJ nor K-Mart (maybe the worst nickname ever) are max players. They benefit greatly from their point guards ability to get them easy looks and when compared to players like J.O., Kobe, McGrady, and the like I think its obvious that they (RJ and K-Mart) would be seen as smaller brothers to those real max players.

By the way, the 22nd pick in the draft for 3 mill and a throw away player is a HUGE heist if the player picked is even servicable by next year.