The New Jersey Nets are the Eastern Conference version of the Los Angeles Lakers. A team relatively dominant in its respective conference about to get dismantled because of large contracts, as well as egos. The only difference between the destruction of the Lakers and Nets: There is still hope for the Nets.Rod Thorn, General Manager of the New Jersey Nets, has experienced life at the top of the Eastern Conference, and is now about to view life from the bottom if he doesn’t find a way to keep his two All-Stars in his organization.
Kenyon Martin becomes a restricted-free agent this off-season and the Nets could see him walk if they don’t clear up enough cap space to match the max-contract deals likely to be offered to Martin by Denver and Atlanta. New Jersey would have a lot of ground to cover if they had to sit back and watch their All-Star Power Forward, and not to mention their leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, walk away and receive nothing in return.
All-Star point gaurd Jason Kidd is inadvertently connected to this whole deal. If it wasn’t for Jason Kidd already holding a max-deal, Martin’s situation wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunatly, Kidd is still due to earn $90 million, making it impossible for the Nets to give up the same to Martin.
UNLESS…(long dramatic pause)…They find a way to deal Kerry Kittles!! This whole scenario could be thrown out the window if New Jersey can find a suitor for Kerry Kittles and his $10 million contract. If the Nets can find a way to deal Kittles for a couple guys that could bolster their bench it would re-affirm the Nets as a threat in the Eastern Conference.
Anything is possible, Kenyon Martin could possibly sign with another team, he could be involved in a sign-and-trade along the lines of say Martin for the Nuggets’ Nene, Kidd could be traded, Kittles could be traded. There are a million scenarios and the great thing about it is that nobody knows what will happen.
That’s what makes this dilemma so much better than the Lakers soap-opera they have people tuning into every night. Everyone knows who wants what and who wants to go where with the Lakers. Nobody knows what’s going to happen to the Nets, maybe because nobody cares, but is there that little significance in New Jersey being a force in the East?
New Jersey holds the key to whether the big three in the East (Detroit, Indiana, and New Jersey) will once again rise to dominance, or become the big two. Or if some lucky team will pick up an All-Star power forward (Rasheed Wallace still isn’t a sure thing to stay in Detroit, maybe the Pistons could use some help?). No matter what happens, this will shape the Power Poll in the East next year.
Where will New Jersey Rank?