Monday, July 18, 2005

Jersey Nets 'Reef

And just like that, two of the hottest names are off the free agent board. ESPN's Chad Ford is reporting that Shareef Abdur-Rahim's departure from Portland to New Jersey is essentially inevitable, and that it's now just a matter of how he gets there-- via sign-and-trade (in which he'd receive 6 years at $38m and Portland would take a future 1st Round pick from Jersey) or for the Nets' mid-level exception (5 years at $4.9m per-- same as Swift). Either way, it's an absolute bargain for the Nets who will bring in the low post scorer that their starting lineup desperately needs in order to move into the top tier of teams in the East. And if the sign-and-trade goes through, the Nets will presumably only be losing a low 1st Round Pick next season, but will still have their mid-level to spend-- likely split between Keyon Dooling and a big shooter such as Rodney Rogers or Lee Nailon. With a starting lineup featuring two bonafied All-Stars (Jason Kidd and Vince Carter), two 2nd tier stars (Richard Jefferson and Abdur-Rahim), and a promosing young center (Nenad Krstic), the Nets certainly have the talent necessary to challenge Detroit, Miami, and Indiana next season, but two major concerns must be resolved before we can call them a contender - 1) Kidd and Carter are annual injury concerns, and Jefferson promises to be one with his reckless aerial attacks, so Rod Thorn must shore up the bench as thoroughly as he can with quality players-- Dooling and Nailon would be excellent additions. 2) Can we just assume the Nets are going to be great by looking at them on paper? Jefferson and Carter never looked comfortable on the floor together (although to their credit, the circumstances were rough on them last season with RJ's ill-timed injury), Abdur-Rahim has never reached the Playoffs, Kidd is clearly on the downside of his career, and Krstic can't seem to ever stay out of foul trouble against legit big men (which Detroit, Indiana, and Miami all have). The framework is there for the Nets to not only dominate the Atlantic, but potentially dethrone Detroit in the East-- we just won't know for sure how serious a threat this team is until we see how cohesive they are on the floor.


At 3:37 AM, Anonymous spcoon said...

I agree with all of your points. For a life-long NJ fan, this is an exciting time. Collins coming off the bench is addition by subtraction, and with Wright and possibly Dooling, their backcourt is starting to look very solid. The loss of Scalibrine is actually a problem. Add one more solid big and the Nets are going to be tough -- NO INJURIES, PLEASE!

Nice site.


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