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How Boris Diaw almost became a Net ... twice

Andy Lyons

Fred Kerber spoke with Ed Stefanski, the Nets former GM, over the weekend about the 2003 NBA Draft and how the Nets choice came down to three players: Zoran Planinic, who they ultimately picked at No. 22, Carlos Delfino, the Argentine sharpshooter, and a French point forward, Boris Diaw.

It was one of two flirtations the Nets had with the star of the Spurs' championship drive. The other took place just before Diaw was released by the Bobcats in March 2012.

"If not for the desire for a Kidd backup, the Nets wanted a 6-8 Frenchman with assorted question marks," writes Kerber of the 2003 Draft. "But it never came to that. Boris Diaw went No. 21, one pick sooner, to the Hawks."

Stefanski admits the Nets liked what they saw in Diaw during scouting trips. The Nets had Planinic who quickly flamed out at the top of their draft chart, Diaw No. 2 and Delfino No. 3.

"I saw him a lot," said Stefanski, "Boris had good size, not like today, he’s filled out. He was a point forward, could find the open man. The questions were athleticism and his shot. But you could tell he could play."

Then, in March 2012, just before the Bobcats released him into the open arms of Gregg Popovich, the Nets made another attempt to get Diaw in a proposed trade that went nowhere. According to reports out of Charlotte, the outline of the trade went like this: the Nets would give up Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro and the Houston Rockets protected first round pick for Diaw's $9 million expiring contract. Petro and Farmar had a year each remaining on their contracts and the pick didn't get used until 2013.

The Bobcats weren't interested and the Nets used the pick, Petro and Farmar to complete the Joe Johnson trade four months later. So it all worked out.