Nets’ Kidd staying out of Carter decision
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jason Kidd talked about Vince Carter’s future with the New Jersey Nets and playing for USA basketball this summer, then had a final request heading into the offseason Monday.
“Don’t write any trade stuff,” the All-Star point guard said.
There were a couple of laughs and Kidd smiled, but his future and Carter’s will be topics of discussion for the next six weeks as the Nets prepare for next season.
Carter is the big question mark. He can opt out of his current contract at the end of next month and test free agency.
Nets president Rod Thorn has had initial talks with Carter’s agent, Kurt Schoeppler, but the sides are not close on either a new contract or an extension of the old one, which would pay the Nets’ leading scorer more than $16 million next season.
“His public posture is that he would like to stay here, but he would like to get the best contract he could possibly get,” Thorn said after meeting with the players Monday. “Sometimes those things mesh, and sometimes they don’t.”
Carter is looking for a three-year extension worth about $60 million. The Nets may not be willing to go that high.
“We’ll see what happens,” Carter said repeatedly when asked about becoming a free agent. He said he would approach free agency the same way he chose a college — talking with people and players who had gone through it, including Kidd.
“For Vince, that’s the business part, it gets in the way sometimes,” Kidd said. “I wish him the best, whatever happens. As much as we would like to have him around, that’s between him and Rod now.”
While Kidd said he spoke with Thorn and owner Bruce Ratner, he said he would keep his mouth shut once Carter’s future is determined. He ripped the team after it did not re-sign Kenyon Martin in 2004.
“I’m an employee,” Kidd said. “As an employee, I learned if you are disgruntled it just makes things worse.”
“Whatever happens this summer happens,” he added. He said he plans “to be a professional and to come out and try to win ballgames wherever it’s at. Hopefully, it’s here in New Jersey because I have had a great run here and hopefully it will continue.”
There has been speculation that the 34-year-old Kidd might want to be traded to a contender if Carter left.
Kidd, who led the Nets to the NBA Finals in 2002 and ’03, was used a trade bait this winter at the trading deadline, but that was when the Nets were playing poorly.
Kidd stayed and was spectacular down the stretch and in the postseason, helping the Nets reach the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they lost to Cleveland 4-2. With a break here or there, New Jersey might be playing Detroit for the conference title this week.
Kidd averaged a triple-double during the playoffs, joining Oscar Robertson as the only player to do it for an entire postseason.
“I think his year, overall, other than his first year here, he had the best year he has had,” Thorn said. “He was great this year.”
Playing with Kidd and Richard Jefferson might be the one thing that convinces Carter to not opt out or to reach an agreement with the Nets.
Even Carter feels there is unfinished business here.
“I think with our potential, what we have right now, we accomplished a lot of things and can go a lot further and some day hold up that championship trophy and play in the finals,” Carter said.