Nets, Krstic appear to be parting ways
Thursday, July 03, 2008
BY DAVE D'ALESSANDRO
Sometime over the past few weeks, Nenad Krstic arrived at the same conclusion that everyone else had reached: The best thing for his career just might be a change of address.
That's not to suggest the Nets don't believe the four-year veteran cannot recover what he once had, before shattering his knee in December 2006. They genuinely believe he can, even if other teams are more skeptical and are bidding accordingly for the restricted free agent.
But Krstic also knows the recent changes to the Nets' frontcourt make him a spare part, which is why agent Marc Cornstein said yesterday that the sign-and-trade option is now being openly discussed with the Nets, who don't want to give Krstic more than a two-year contract.
"We've talked about all the possible options out there," Cornstein said. "Because of his situation -- coming off the injury, his age (he turns 25 in three weeks) -- the important thing is to go into a situation where he is wanted, and where he is able to flourish. So he'd be open to anything, if it's going to be best for his career."
It is difficult to fathom parting with a multitalented 7-footer, who will come gift-wrapped with a short-term, reasonably priced contract, but the Nets apparently are ready to move on. They just want something for Krstic in return, even if they can't admit that yet.
"Let's just say we're hopeful we can retain them," GM Kiki Vandeweghe said of Krstic and Boki Nachbar, who is also represented by Cornstein. "I've been in contact with (Cornstein) three or four times at this point. I don't know how long this will take. Certainly any team's first priority is to look at their own free agents, and explore the (feasibility) of keeping them."
"We're having productive talks," Cornstein said. "But this will take time."
As for Nachbar, who is unrestricted, it is less complicated because the market will emerge more quickly: Either the Nets will be outbid or they won't. Cornstein isn't ready to share what kind of offers he has received for the forward, nor will he divulge whether the Nets are also trying to talk him down to a short-term contract.
"We're not even up to that stage. The market has to play itself out," Cornstein said. "We haven't locked in on years or numbers yet. But off his last few years, he's going to be in a very nice position. We're talking to the Nets and getting other calls."
The Nets signed their first-round draft picks yesterday. Brook Lopez, as per the rookie salary scale, will make $2.1 million and $2.25 million for his first two years, with the team holding options ($2.4M and $3.0M) for the next two seasons; and Ryan Anderson will make $1.2 million and $1.3 million for his first two years, with team options ($1.4M and $2.2M) for 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Second-round draft pick Chris Douglas-Roberts has yet to sign, but is likely to receive the league-minimum guarantee -- starting at $442,000, then nearly doubling -- for his first two seasons.
DeSagana Diop, who passed through New Jersey for 27 games last season, reportedly agreed yesterday to return to the Mavericks, who are giving him their entire midlevel exception -- an extraordinary sum (roughly $32 million over five years) for a backup center with a career 2.1 scoring average.
Dave D'Alessandro may be reached