Nets, Blazers talking about Kidd-for-Shareef deal
Sept. 14, 2004
By Mike Kahn
SportsLine.com Executive Editor
The New Jersey Nets are talking to the Portland Trail Blazers about a trade that would include sending Jason Kidd to the Blazers for forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim, SportsLine.com has learned.
Blazers president Steve Patterson confirmed Tuesday afternoon that discussions have gone on, although he made it clear that a deal has not been completed.
"It's early," Patterson said. "It's interesting, but I don't know if anything will happen."
Another source told SportsLine.com that the Blazers are busy getting opinions on the micro-fracture surgery that Kidd had on his left knee July 1 that figures to have him out until December. The surgery was successful, and Kidd has made it clear he would like to leave the Nets, who were sold to Bruce Ratner in the spring and have essentially purged their roster since then.
Although they did sign young forward Richard Jefferson to a six-year, $78 million extension last month, Kenyon Martin, Kerry Kittles and Rodney Rogers are gone, with virtually nothing but future draft picks in return.
Kidd, 31, led the NBA in assists for the fifth time last season, and it was the fifth time he has been selected first-team All-NBA. He came to the Nets before the 2001-02 season in a trade with the Suns, and the Nets won the Eastern Conference in 2002 and 2003, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2002 Finals and the San Antonio Spurs the next year.
Kidd, who was drafted by Dallas out of Cal in 1994, signed a six-year deal worth more than $100 million with the Nets before the 2003-04 season.
Also a former star at Cal, Abdur-Rahim, 28, is a 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward acquired by the Blazers from Atlanta last season with Theo Ratliff and Dan Dickau for Rasheed Wallace. However, after averaging 20.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in his previous seven seasons, he was a bad fit in Portland. He averaged just 10.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in 22.8 minutes a game behind Zach Randolph, the NBA's most improved player.
Abdur-Rahim will make more than $14.6 million in this, the final season of his contract and has made it clear he wants out. The Blazers have tried to talk him into playing small forward next to Randolph, but he isn't really athletic enough to play the small forwards in the West and is a much better fit in the East. And the Blazers just signed small forward Darius Miles to a six-year, $48 million contract.
The Nets had talked to the Blazers about Abdur-Rahim earlier in the summer, with Kittles as the bait, but the deal fell through and Kittles went to the Los Angeles Clippers for a draft choice.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the deal is the Blazers drafted prep point guard Sebastian Telfair with the 13th pick overall in the 2004 draft. Add to that, they already have point guards Damon Stoudamire and Nick Van Exel making some $27 million between them.
The concept prompted Steve Patterson to joke, "Actually, we're trying to build a roster with just point guards and small forwards."
And yet, there is logic to the deal, particularly if the Blazers throw in Telfair. He is a native of Brooklyn, where Ratner is planning to move the Nets, and would likely be just hitting his stride when the move would be completed.
It would have no bearing on the salary cap since Kidd and Abdur-Rahim are so close and there is a 15 percent leeway.
Besides, both Stoudamire and Van Exel are just as likely to be considered undersized shooters as point guards and the 6-4, 215-pound Kidd -- a perennial all-defensive selection -- is very capable of guarding the big guards. Moreover, the contracts of both Stoudamire and Van Exel are up after this season.
"Like I said," Patterson said, "it's early."
Yes, but far from too late.