NetsDaily Off-Season Report #20

Every Sunday, we’ll be updating the Nets’ off-season with bits and pieces of information, gossip, etc. to help take the edge off missing the playoffs, relying on the Nets’ beat reporters and others who have slipped interesting data into larger stories and blogs.

Gut and Asset Check.

Rod Thorn says look for front office activity to start up again after Labor Day. GM’s will be back from Beijing, vacation (or both if they’re smart).

By most accounts, the Nets aren’t done, although Nets brass has told season ticket-holders not to expect more than a few "tweaks".

Still, the Nets do have assets, starting with the expiring contracts of Keith Van Horn (a freebie as we and Al Iannazzone have noted ad infinitum), Stromile Swift and Maurice Ager. They have already used two of their exceptions: Jarvis Hayes got the full LLE of $1.9 million and Keyon Dooling got the $3.3 million trade exception from the Jason Kidd deal.

As Fred Kerber has reported, the Nets have just $1.75 million of their mid-level remaining. They used the most of it on Eduardo Najera ($3.4 million the first year) and Chris Douglas-Roberts ($442,114) who as a second rounder "wasn’t slotted into the NBA draft salary slotting thing."

Although that $1.75 million isn’t much to play with, it’s still $500,000 more than the maximum vets’ minimum and could come in handy when talking to prospects for that third point guard job.

If they want to do a trade, the team has plenty of leeway when it comes to the luxury tax threshold, being around $9 million short.

Problem is that the Nets might not be able to use KVH's contract (again) in a trade. One season ticket holder says Thorn told him the league really doesn't want to allow the Nets to use KVH's contract in a trade, and will likely push back when the time comes.

Where Are They Now.

Jamaal Magloire reached an agreement Friday to sign with the Miami Heat, the latest ex-Net to find work elsewhere.

With only three players left from last year's training camp--Vince Carter, Sean Williams and Josh Boone, we figured we'd take a look at where the others will be training in a few weeks.

Jason Kidd - traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

Richard Jefferson - traded to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Nenad Krstic - signed by Triumph Moscow (Nets retain his NBA rights).

Jason Collins - traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, then retraded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Boki Nachbar - signed by Dynamo Moscow.

Antoine Wright - traded to and resigned by the Dallas Mavericks.

Marcus Williams - traded to the Golden State Warriors.

Malik Allen - traded to the Dallas Mavericks, waived and signed by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Jamaal Magloire - waived, signed by the Dallas Mavericks, not resigned, signed by the Miami Heat.

Mile Ilic - traded to the New Orleans Hornets, waived, signed by, in order, Lokomotiv Rostov, Iurbentia Bilbao Basket, and Cajasol Sevilla.

Bernard Robinson - traded to the New Orleans Hornets, waived, took the year off with an injury, played with Portland Trailblazers summer league team in Las Vegas.

Darrell Armstrong - still carried on the Nets' roster as a free agent. Has considered retirement.

Rod Benson, in case you're wondering, signed with Nancy in the French League this week after failing to latch on with the Raptors. He signed after penning a blog about how his blogging might be hurting his chances of sticking with an NBA team, citing a chance encounter with Lawrence Frank that made him nervous.

Robert Hite? Playing well for Galatasaray (Turkey).

Rob Meurs' Court Vision.

Rob Meurs is one of the most fascinating (at least to us) members of the Nets’ front office. He is the team’s chief international scout, working out of Belgium with a Dutch passport and experience coaching in Africa.

He did the same job for the Spurs, pushing them into drafting Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili...and suggesting they take Nenad Krstic in 2002.

He also has a scouting service, called Court Vision, which serves as a clearinghouse for colleges and international players trying to connect. And by international, Meurs could mean a European, an Asian or an African player.

Court Vision now has a website. By moving around the site you can figure out where he's been scouting for the Nets.

Between August 1 through 10, Meurs split his time between Riga, Latvia and Targu Mures, Romania where the FIBA Europe U-20 (players 20 and under) tournament was being held, which Germany winning Division A and Serbia winning Division B. If you want to see what Meurs saw, video of the championship game is posted here.

Then, from August 15 through the 26, he again did double duty, between Chieti, Italy, and Sarajevo, Bosnia, for the FIBA Europe U-16 tournaments, Divisions A (won by Lithuania) and B (won by Germany).

This weekend, Meurs is in Nigeria directing a camp for 50 young players from across west Africa, sponsored by former Orlando Magic center, Olumide Oyedeji.

As the site notes, Meurs' summer schedule is "crazy".

Since the Nets are corporate clients of Court Vision, they’ll also get the benefit of Meurs’ four other scouts who are taking in FIBA Europe tournaments, including the FIBA Europe U18, held earlier in Pyrgos, Greece. (Curiously, Court-Vision also lists a "Jonathan Grivony"--Jonathan Givony of Draft Express?--as one of its staff.)

Big Game for Krstic

After not playing in Serbia's blowout win over Hungary Saturday in the Eurobasket qualifying tournament, Nenad Krstic played well in the Serbs' surprising 80-77 loss to Finland. Krstic, who the Nets retain rights to, had 29 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the field and 11-for-12 from the line. He also grabbed five boards. It was his most impressive outing on any level since he blew out his knee in December 2006. Krstic was the only Serb in double figures, while Finland had five players in doubles, led by point guard Petteri Kopenen, whose draft rights are held by the Blazers. Serbia is now 2-1 in the tournament. Once Europe's hoops superpower, Serbia has had one disappointment after another. It needs to do well in the qualifying tournament just to return to Eurobasket 2009, the FIBA Europe championships in Warsaw.

Dunk Fans Delight.

Hoopsvibe is running a contest of sorts to determine who is the "Greatest Modern-Day Big Man Dunker". Previously, it has featured clips of former Nets Darryl Dawkins and Kenyon Martin. Now this week, it has posted clips of fan favorites--and current Nets--Sean Williams and Stromile Swift. "The Stro Show" is pretty impressive.

Is Kidd Done?

Kidd says he's done with international basketball after his second gold medal. At least one ESPN contributor thinks he's done...period.

In response to questions in three chats this month, ESPN's David Thorpe has let it be known he thinks Kidd is "overrated" and over the hill.

Eddie (Fresno): Do you think Mark Cuban is regretting that trade for Kidd? It was sad watching him in the Olympics.

David Thorpe: Yes.

Kip (KC): Is it just me, or is Jason Kidd REALLY OVERRATED?

David Thorpe: Really overrated.

Lamar (New York): Should Chris Paul start over Jason Kidd?

David Thorpe: Yes.

J Kidd (Dallas): Really? You'd take Arenas over me as a point guard?

David Thorpe: Have you seen yourself play lately?

We won't be inviting the two of them to any NetsDaily parties. That's for sure.

Latest on the Losses.

Forest City Enterprises, Inc., (NYSE: FCEA and FCEB) is the largest stock holder in the Nets, with 21%. It’s controlled by the Ratner family of Cleveland…and New York. More than just a stockholder, FCE has also eaten a lot of the Nets’ eight-figure annual losses. It will release its second-quarter 2008 financial results on Thursday, which will have some detail on the Nets' finances. It will hold a conference call on Tuesday, September 9 at 11:00 a.m. ET to discuss these results. Investors are invited to dial into the conference call hosted by Charles A. Ratner, president and chief executive officer...and Bruce's cousin.

To participate, dial 888-713-4205 using access code 93455825, approximately five minutes before the call. Tell the operator you wish to join the Forest City 2nd Quarter Earnings Conference Call. (International callers, please dial 617-213-4862).

Final Note.

It seemed so smart. NBA schedule markers, having looked at the interval between the Olympics and the NBA season, figured they would take advantage of hoopsmania in China by sending two teams to the Middle Kingdom for preseason games. One would be played in the southern city of Guangzhou, the other in the Wukesong Arena in Beijing, where the Olympics had t in mid-August. One of the teams would come from San Francisco, home of several hundred thousand Chinese and Chinese Americans. The other team was a natural...the Milwaukee Bucks. After all, Yi Jianlian is from Guanghzhou and played professionally there.

Uh-oh. Kiki Vandeweghe and Bucks GM John Hammond scratched that idea back in June. Bucks’ Vice President John Steinmiller says China has followed the Bucks closely over the last year and even without Yi, there will still be lots of fan interest there. The night of the trade, the Bucks did try for the Chinese consolation prize, drafting Joe Alexander who grew up in Beijing and Taipei and speaks fluent Mandarin.

Meanwhile, Yi will be in London and Paris with the Nets.

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