The Nets' surprising acquisition of Vince Carter last Friday isn't likely to persuade Jason Kidd to rescind his demand for a trade. While Carter will upgrade an offense that ranked last at week's end, the departure of frontcourt defenders Alonzo Mourning, Eric Williams and Aaron Williams to Toronto--combined with the sign-and-trade of Kenyon Martin to Denver last summer that so angered Kidd--leaves New Jersey utterly defenseless around the basket. If Kidd is serious about playing for a contender, then he will continue to press management for a trade as soon as he's proved that he's recovered from off-season left knee surgery.
Which isn't to say that the deal wasn't a steal for Nets president Rod Thorn, who now has three stars--Kidd, Carter and Richard Jefferson--he can swap. The trade also shows that owner Bruce Ratner realizes an attractive team will facilitate his goal of moving the franchise to Brooklyn. Though the Raptors received two of the three draft picks New Jersey got in the Martin trade, Thorn held onto perhaps the most valuable choice: the Clippers', which isn't lottery-protected in 2006.
The trade represents an impulsive shift in strategy for the Raptors. If their plan had been to move Carter, then they should have used their No. 8 pick last June on a promising replacement like Andre Iguodola or Luke Jackson instead of wasting it on center Rafael Araujo. Five years ago the team had Carter and Tracy McGrady. Now both are gone, with very little to show in return.
MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS (CARTER)
Once his left Achilles tendon heals, Carter should be a major Nets gain.