<
>

Zo contends Thorn's perception of him misleading

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Miami's Alonzo Mourning brought some bitterness back to New Jersey with him Thursday prior to his first game in nearly three months.

He said Nets president Rod Thorn gave an unfair portrayal of him
after trading him to Toronto. Mourning took issue with Thorn's
statements in mid-December that the Nets believed he would never
have played another game for them.

Mourning, playing with a transplanted kidney, had gone on the
injured list Dec. 10 with knee tendinitis.

"I was hurt. I had some ailments that I was dealing with. It's
not like I was holding out," Mourning said. "For Rod to paint a
picture like that is kind of unfair to me. If I really, really
opened the truth, you guys would be amazed at some of the things
that were said. But I don't think it's right to go there and do
that."

Mourning was traded along with two first-round draft picks and
forwards Eric Williams and Aaron Williams for Vince Carter, who was
the Eastern Conference's Player of the Month in February after
scoring at least 20 points in 16 consecutive games. He carried that
streak into Thursday night's game against the Heat.

Mourning's contract was bought out by the Raptors for more than
$9 million, and the 11-year veteran signed with Miami earlier this
week for a prorated share of the veteran's minimum salary.

Mourning portrayed his time with the Nets as depressing, saying
he lost the will to compete.

"I stepped on the floor and it was like: 'Wow, I don't care,'" he explained.

The franchise was sold last summer, and the Nets lost Kenyon
Martin and several other key players.

While he was with the Nets during the first five weeks of the
season, Mourning made no secret of his unhappiness in New Jersey.

After trading Mourning, Thorn didn't hold back when describing
how the Nets needed to sever their relationship with a one-time
superstar who was dragging down team morale.

"I'm not going to sit here and go through everything with you
guys, because that's unfair to [Thorn]," Mourning said. "We had
some private meetings, and some of the things that were said ...
it's all a part of the business. We weren't trying to make any
friends. He was trying to do what's best for the organization, and
I was trying to do what's best for Alonzo Mourning."

Thorn was not immediately available for comment.