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Dave D'Alessandro, reporting on the Allan Houston prospects Wednesday, also reported what many suspected: the Nets have given up on the Mile Ilic experiment and trying to buy him out. A year ago, everyone in the organization was saying Ilic would take some time to develop. But after a season in which he scored zero points in six minutes spread out over five games, "the 7-1 center has been unable to convince the Nets that he'll develop on their timetable", D'Alessando wrote in a piece of understatement. So the team is trying to buy him out of his contract which has one year and $870,000 left. Ilic's agent, Marc Cornstein, worked a deal last year that permitted one of his clients, Ilic, to join the Nets, filling a roster spot vacated by another of his clients, Zoran Planinic. The Nets would probably be happy with a situation similar to Planinic's: a buyout at 10% of his contract in return for offering no resistance to him signing in Europe.

If Houston accepts the Nets offer to join them, even on a non-guaranteed basis, the front office will be among the happiest at the Nets' practice facility and home office on Meadowlands Parkway in East Rutherford. But another office might be as happy--the Nets ticket sales office. Salesmen are rubbing their hands at the prospect of calling long time Knick fans and asking them to compare Houston's comeback in New Jersey with Stephon Marbury's come-on to a Knick intern in New York. Same might be true of the corporate sales staff, who will begin showing off models of Barclays Center skyboxes next month at the New York Times building in Manhattan. Barclays Center will be closer to Wall Street than Madison Square Garden, with less sleaze.

Anyone with NBA TV will be able to get a good look at that most forgotten of Nets' properties, Christian Drejer on the afternoon of October 7. Starting at 12:30 p.m. that Sunday, NBA TV will broadcast the NBA Europe Live 07 matchup between Drejer's Euroleague team, Lottomatica Roma and the Toronto Raptors, in Rome. Drejer, a 6'9" point forward, is expected to start for Rome. He was drafted No. 51 by the Nets in the 2004 draft, then played poorly in the 2005 Summer League, virtually ending his chances for a shot with New Jersey.