Monday, June 28, 2004
To pay K-Mart, Nets might trade Kidd
ESPN.com news services
The Los Angeles Lakers aren't the only perennial powerhouse facing a major breakup.
The New Jersey Nets could be taken apart this offseason, too.
With new ownership under Bruce Ratner looking to reduce payroll, the Nets might not be able to keep their Big Three of Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson intact. The cost-cutting may force general manager Rod Thorn to decide between Martin -- the All-Star power forward and restricted free agent seeking a maximum contract -- and Kidd -- the All-Star point guard who's still owed close to $90 million and is expected to undergo knee surgery next month.
The Philadelphia Inquirer and New York Daily News both reported last week that the Nets, while brainstorming for ways to keep Martin, were contemplating a trade of Kidd, but Thorn denied the team was looking to move the key player in New Jersey's two-year reign as Eastern Conference champions.
"We talk about guys all the time," Thorn told the New York Daily News. "People talk to us. So to say we are shopping him or Kenyon or anybody else is not true."
The Nets can match any offer for Martin, but the team's leading rebounder and No. 2 scorer could be allowed to leave, too. Martin has been mentioned in a sign-and-trade deal with Denver for its starting power forward, Nene.
Thorn would have to decide between Martin and Kidd if he is unable to trade Kerry Kittles and his $10 million salary, the New York Post reported Monday.
Jefferson appears to be the only untouchable player on the Nets' roster. But "anything is possible regarding anybody," one team executive told the New York Post.
The Nets' cost-cutting began on draft night when they sent first-round pick Viktor Khryapa to Portland for $3 million and the rights to backup guard Eddie Gill.
The vote by the NBA's Board of Governors to approve Ratner's ownership group is expected to be held this Wednesday.