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07-09-2003, 09:03 AM
If Kidd bolts, could Parker be headed to New Jersey?
By Chad Ford
NBA Insider
Send an Email to Chad Ford Wednesday, July 9
Updated: July 9
9:58 AM ET


Is Jason Kidd leaning toward signing with the Spurs? Depends on who you believe. The New York Times, citing three unidentified sources, claims Kidd is leaning toward San Antonio.


"The Nets are deeply concerned," a source told the Times. "Every effort on earth will be made to retain him." Nets officials were expected to meet with Kidd on Tuesday night. However, Rod Thorn didn't sound as concerned as the report makes it sound.

"At the end of the deliberations, as the case may be, the pomp and circumstance will take backseat to the substance," Thorn told the Times. "That's where the Kidds will make their decisions. He obviously knows that we would like to have him."

At issue? Which team gives Kidd the better shot at a title? With the Lakers now ready to field a Dream Team and the Kings and Mavs already built like a brick house, there's a chance the Spurs won't even reach the Western Conference Finals next year.

In the East, things are clearer. The Pistons look to be very tough again next year, and the Pacers still have a ton of young talent, but with Kidd, the Nets clearly would be the favorites to win the East.

Kidd's close relationships with Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin also play a part in the decision. As does a strained relationship with head coach Byron Scott. But so does the Spurs' style, which favors Tim Duncan making most of the decisions with the basketball.

League sources have maintained for weeks that ultimately Kidd will return to the Nets.

The decision may come down to who else the Spurs could bring in. Assuming Kidd and Duncan both get max deals and the salary cap is set at $42.5 million next season, the would have roughly $3 million left to sign another free agent. Would that be enough to lure a top veteran like Alonzo Mourning or P.J. Brown?

Brown was in San Antonio on Wednesday and seemed torn between taking less money to play for the Spurs and taking care of his family long term. Unlike Payton and Malone, he hasn't been earning tens of millions every year.

"This is a very important contract for me and a very important stage of my career," Brown told the San Antonio Express News. "This could be the last time I sign a contract. I have to look at it from two ways: trying to find a team where I can win a championship; and doing the best thing family-wise."

If Kidd decides he wants to be a Spur, don't be surprised if the Spurs and Nets start talking sign-and-trade. Because the Spurs are well under the cap, they can acquire Kidd and send back much less salary in return.

A sign-and-trade sending Kidd to San Antonio for Tony Parker and Bruce Bowen, for example, would give the Nets a dynamic young point guard to replace Kidd and would clear roughly $8 million in cap room in New Jersey this season and another $4 million after the 2004 campaign. The deal also would give the Spurs an extra $4.5 million to play with under the cap. Combine that with the roughly $3 million they'd already have, and the team could afford to add another solid free agent like Rasho Nesterovic, Brown or Mourning.

If that happened, Nesterovic could be the guy. The Spurs like his ability to face the basket and play in the high post. If they can get him enough money, Nesterovic is inclined to bolt Minnesota. He doesn't have the best relationship with coach Flip Saunders and really wants to be in San Antonio.

Around the league

It appears the Pacers are very close to locking up Jermaine O'Neal to a seven-year, $120 million contract. "Arn [Tellem, O'Neal's agent] called and said J.O. would like to be (with the Pacers)," Pacers GM Donnie Walsh told the Indianapolis Star. "We've started talking about some of the finer points, and we're getting close to the end of the process. All I can say is it looks good. But until the 16th, I don't know if it's good. It's not over until you sign the contract."

O'Neal's contract would start at around $12.75 million a year. As for the other two Pacers free agents, Brad Miller and Reggie Miller, things are moving more slowly.

The Pacers still are trying to gauge Brad Miller's value in the marketplace. If the Spurs sign Kidd or Nesterovic, if the Nuggets go with a combination of Arenas and Maggette and the Heat decide on Olowokandi -- Miller's value slips. Both Miami and Utah may have interest if other things fall through, but it looks like the Pacers will wait a bit to see what happens.

Miller's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told Insider that Miller would like to return to Indiana, but he's also interested in several other teams. "There's just a lot of interest in Brad right now, and we want to make sure that he explores his options and gets the right deal. That could be tomorrow or it could be down the road."

Bartelstein did say he'd like something done by July 16, the first day free agents can officially sign. Walsh said the Pacers were working on it.

"The tempo is going to be different for Brad than Jermaine," Walsh told the Star.

T-Wolves owner Glen Taylor said the team has offered Nuggets free agent Juwan Howard its mid-level exception.

"Our priority right now is that we're working on Rasho and Juwan,'' Taylor told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Insider first reported July 3 that Howard was at the top of Minnesota's list. Insider also reported that day that Howard had the T-Wolves, Magic, Pistons and Lakers on his short list. You can scratch the Lakers, now that Payton and (likely) Malone are committed.

Taylor appears confident Howard ultimately will choose the T-Wolves.

"We've done just about everything that we can,'' Taylor said. "We've given him the information to look at our team and where we're planning on going. I'm sure it's not an issue of money. That's all worked out. It's one of those things where he has to look and see where he'll be the happiest.

"Maybe happiest means where he thinks the team will play the best and he can contribute. Listening to his questions, he wants to make sure he'll get playing time.''

If playing time is the issue, the T-Wolves should come out on top. With Joe Smith out the picture, they have a big need for Howard on the front line. There's no reason he wouldn't play 40 minutes a game.

If playing in the Finals is the goal, Howard might be more inclined to go with the Pistons. While the team is much deeper up front -- with Ben Wallace, Cliff Robinson, Mehmet Okur and Darko Milicic all fighting for minutes -- Howard would be a welcome addition.

In Orlando, Howard would be competing with second-year forward Drew Gooden for minutes.

All of that points to Minnesota being the favorites.

It looks like Alonzo Mourning might have no choice but to play for the Mavs. While Mourning prefers to return to the Heat or play in the East on a team like the Pistons, Insider has learned the Mavs are offering him something no one else is -- a four-year guaranteed contract.

The Pistons, Heat and just about everyone else are balking at that because of Mourning's past health problems and his age. If Mourning played out the four-year contract with the Mavs, he'd be 37 years old when it ended. Mavs owner Mark Cuban might be the only one crazy enough to take that risk.

The Nuggets had free agent Andre Miller in for a visit on Tuesday. "Everything went fine," he told the Rocky Mountain News. "I like Denver. It reminds me of a bigger Utah."

With Miami beginning to turn up the heat on Gilbert Arenas, Miller is clearly the Nuggets other best option. GM Kiki Vandeweghe called Miller "somebody who would be great for us."

The Nuggets will have a fight on their hands, however. The Jazz want Miller badly and might be willing to outbid Denver for his services. If Arenas were to bolt to the Heat, look for Denver to make a full court press on Corey Maggette, Michael Olowokandi and Speedy Claxton.

Olowokandi will meet with Vandeweghe in L.A. later this week. He claims the Nuggets are his first option.

"Denver has always been at the top of my list," Olowokandi told the Rocky Mountain News. "It's a young team with a lot of promise.

"I have a house in Miami, but I never planned to live there the whole year. I would rather stay in the West. And Denver is a little closer to Los Angeles. There's a lot more reasons for Denver than anywhere."

The Jazz had Corey Maggette in on Tuesday for his free agent visit.

"It was quite a day. They made a strong presentation," Rob Pilinka, Maggette's agent, told the Salt Lake Tribune. "The thing Corey was particularly impressed with was that Coach Sloan made the trip back from his farm in Illinois to meet with him, [and] that Larry Miller took time out of his busy day to spend time with Corey and get to know him. That meant a lot."

Maggette already has visited the Nuggets and plans on visiting the Spurs. Where will he end up?

"Corey is going to pick the franchise he feels he has the best fit with," said Pilinka. "He wants to go somewhere with a commitment to excellence, to winning, to working hard toward those goals."

Andre Miller is scheduled to visit the Jazz today.

It looks like the Suns are taking themselves out of the free-agent market. Negotiations are going smoothly with their own free agents -- Jake Voskuhl and Scott Williams -- and GM Bryan Colangelo doesn't seem inclined to do anything else.

"It's very unlikely," Colangelo told the Arizona Republic. "We feel like we've addressed some of the things that we were hoping to. Now, that doesn't mean that somehow we wouldn't talk about a sign-and-trade scenario. I'm pursuing things like that as part of my normal, everyday conversations."

Summer Love

LeBron lived up to his early billing on Tuesday night going off for 14 points, seven boards and six assists. At times he looked brilliant and he never looked like a high school kid playing his first game against pro competition. He belonged and he could've done a lot more. You got the feeling that LeBron was holding back, trying to stay in control and within the offense that Cavs were running. But before we go and put him in the Hall of Fame, it wasn't hard to spot a few things he's going to have to work on this summer. There is nothing wrong with his game that can't be fixed, but a few things could use a small tune-up. James is an excellent passer, but he really struggled with the press. Orlando trapped him in the backcourt during the third court and James turned the ball over three consecutive times. The Cavs called a time out, James composed himself, and it wasn't much of a problem after that. But at his size, he'll have some problems with the quicker, pesky point guards in the league. His defense needs a lot of work. Keith Bogan abused him at times on the offensive end. At LeBron's size, that shouldn't have happened. And despite all of the MJ comparison, the athleticism isn't even close. Watching him next to Darius Miles, he looked a little slow. He's probably better off shedding 10 to 15 pounds this summer if the team plans on playing him at the point. My guess is that the extra weight is hurting his explosiveness.

LeBron may have been the story in Orlando last night, but did you see Darius Miles' new jumper? O.K., it's summer league and even Cal Bowdler can look like an All-Star there, but Miles' two three pointers on Tuesday night were two more than he hit during the entire 2002-03 season. Miles was 0-14 from behind the arc last season. Last night, he was 2-4. What gives? Miles has been working out with Tim Grover at Hoops Gym for the past two months working on his strength and that ugly jump shot. He looked great on both accounts last night. He's obviously bulked up in his upper body (which may allow him to ultimately move to the power forward position) and even when he missed, his shot had a nice arc and rotation on it. Miles ended that game with 15 points and five assists on 6-8 shooting.

Reece Gaines has some nice moments in his first game and showed a real knack for running the point. He ended with just five assists, but several of them bordered on the spectacular. Keith Bogans looked like he'll be able to make the Magic. Rookie Zaur Pachulia had a terrible shooting night, but showed nice athleticism running the floor for a big man. Third year forward Alton Ford looked like he could find a role in Orlando banging in the paint. And undrafted rookie Britton Johnsen stole the show when he dunked over James. You could make an argument that all players look good enough to make the Magic's roster. But can the Magic really handle four rookies next season? Currently the team has seven players under contract. Gaines and Bogans will make the team for sure. Pachulia will as well if he doesn't decide to return to Turkey for another year of seasoning. That takes you to 11. The Magic will add at least two more veterans to their roster. They are in the process of wooing Juwan Howard, P.J. Brown, Speedy Claxton and Antonio Daniels. They might be able to add both if the league grants them a medical exception for Grant Hill. That takes them to 13. They're also interested in adding a veteran point guard to the roster. They've had their eye on the Pistons' Chuky Atkins for a while and may be able to swing a trade down the road. In other words, it's tough to see how either Ford or Johnsen fit

Dwyane Wade recovered from a bit of a rocky start running the point to put in a nice performance for the Heat. Wade was matched up against rookie T. J. Ford and committed six turnovers in the first half. However, he bounced back in the second with 10 points, six boards and five assists. Ford didn't fare any better. He also had six turnovers and shot just 3-14 from the field.

Chris Bosh may be skinny, but that doesn't mean he can't play. Bosh shocked everyone a little on Tuesday when he went off for 24 points and six rebounds in his first summer league game.

"I was surprised," veteran Lamond Murray told the Long Beach Press Telegram. "He has good hands. He was looking good on his post moves, and really, he's just getting out of high school."

Bosh doesn't seem to be fazed at all by the pressure.

"The only thing they tell you to do is go to the gym, work hard and be on time,' Bosh said. "How easy is that?'

Ummmmm Ok
07-09-2003, 09:08 AM
It looks like Alonzo Mourning might have no choice but to play for the Mavs. While Mourning prefers to return to the Heat or play in the East on a team like the Pistons, Insider has learned the Mavs are offering him something no one else is -- a four-year guaranteed contract.

The Pistons, Heat and just about everyone else are balking at that because of Mourning's past health problems and his age. If Mourning played out the four-year contract with the Mavs, he'd be 37 years old when it ended. Mavs owner Mark Cuban might be the only one crazy enough to take that risk

WOW!!!

talk about being putting your whole team on a Kidney Ailment for 4 years!!!

MavsFanFinley
07-09-2003, 09:18 AM
The FWST reported the Mavs are offering a 4 year, $22 million dollar contract to Zo. WTF!!?? Cuban better know something about his health than the rest of us cause that's f'ing ridiculous.

And to top things off, the Spurs and Nets are showing interest in Zo for the sole purpose of keeping (Nets) or luring Kidd (Spurs).

Usually Lurkin
07-09-2003, 09:18 AM
1st, the whole Kidd part of that article is illogical.
if this is really the premise:
"At issue? Which team gives Kidd the better shot at a title?"
then Kidd chooses the Spurs in a no-brainer decision. The Spurs with Kidd would kill the Nets with Kidd in straight games. If the Lakers' improvement means the Spurs have less of a chance at the title, what does that say for the Nets? The only way Kidd chooses the Nets is if he gives up on a title and says a good chance at 2nd place is better than a chance at a title.

2nd, the part about Cuban being crazy to offer Mourning a guaranteed 4 years is right on. Of course, that's Cuban and his money. If he can get a medical exception when Mourning doesn't play for a year, or Cubes decides to buy Zo's contract, go ahead, take the gamble.