NJ Nets agree to sign-and-trade for Keyon Dooling
by Dave D'Alessandro/The Star-Ledger
Friday July 18, 2008, 9:29 PM
Rod Thorn is about to fill his most glaring vacancy, and now all he have to do is wait for Orlando to do some clerical work. The Nets have an agreement in principle to make a sign-and-trade deal for free agent Keyon Dooling, a combo guard they have pursued for years, and he'll fit right in as a reserve for starters Vince Carter and Devin Harris.
"I'm hopeful ... that we can make a trade," was Thorn's closest statement resembling a confirmation Friday night.
An eight-year veteran, Dooling would be acquired by making use of a $3.3 million trade exception the Nets obtained in the Jason Kidd deal last February. That will now be transferred to the Magic, who will prepare a two-year contract that calls for a $3.3 million salary next year and a $3.5 million salary for 2009-10, with a partially-guaranteed third season that will pay him a pittance.
The process is expected to be completed by mid-week, after Orlando prepares the contract and the Nets give the 6-foot-3 Dooling his physical. But the process won't begin until the teams run the trade past the league Monday morning.
The trade gives the Nets a solid backcourt trio, with a feisty, long-armed third guard who can defend both spots effectively. But it also gives them 16 guaranteed contracts, so they have stepped up their efforts to move point guard Marcus Williams, who now becomes the odd man out again.
The most logical landing spot for Williams might be one of the many teams who have their own trade exceptions -- Seattle has two, in fact -- and wouldn't mind taking a chance on a work in progress with a $1.2 million price tag.
"I have no problems with going to 16 contracts," Thorn said. "We've got other things to do. Even if this does happen, we have work to do,and we have a lot of time to do it in."
Dooling, a 28-year-old Floridian who made $3.5 million last year -- he averaged 8.1 points and 1.8 assists in 72 games -- was looking like the odd man out in this free agent market until the Nets came calling. The Magic had offered him the biannual exception, which calls for a mere $4.1 million for two seasons. His agent, Rob Pelinka, rejected the offer, and Dooling himself called it an insult.
"I don't even know why they offered that bi-annual because I rejected it right away. I don't know if they were trying to devalue me or whatever the case may be, but that wasn't acceptable," Dooling told Florida Today. "It's ridiculous. That's not a suitable offer for someone who was a good player on a good team. It wasn't a market value offer and that's the bottom line."
The Nets had no such misgivings, and they had no other immediate plans anyway for the trade exception, which expires in February.