I got back yesterday from a little family trip and am trying to catch up on all the Nets' dealings from the last few days.
Went to Sesame Place where my 22-month old son officially became an Elmo stalker.
We had guys with walkie-talkies and mikes in their sleeves following us everywhere. (Just kidding), but we did everything Elmo, including breakfast with Elmo. And to see my son's face light up when he saw his favorite TV character up close was priceless and a memory my wife and I wonât ever forget. It had to be as thrilling for him as it was the first time you or I met one of our sports heroes.
While we were there - Sesame Place is a must for anyone with small kids by the way - the Nets were making plenty of news back home.
They officially lost Bostjan Nachbar to Russia - no sign-and-trade possibilities there - completed the sign-and-trade for Keyon Dooling and sent Marcus Williams to the Golden State Warriors for a future first-round pick.
About the only surprise to me was that Nachbar went overseas, but after learning of his deal - $9.3 million Euros or so - who could blame him? It's worth more than $25 million U.S.
The Dooling deal was agreed upon over the weekend. You have to like it. They gave him a three-year, $10.6 million deal, but only $500,000 is guaranteed in Year 3 - better known as LeBron's year. Dooling can play both guard spots and is one of the better defenders at his position. You know coach Lawrence Frank loves him. He tried to sign Dooling three years ago.
And the Williams' move shouldn't have come as a surprise. We kept writing he could be dealt for a draft pick to bring the Nets, especially after they got a backup/combo guard in Dooling. Some of you took it as me disliking Williams, but it wasn's the case.
It became apparent that Williams wasn't a part of the future, despite all the times it was written that he was the heir apparent to Jason Kidd.
The Nets always talked about Williams' conditioning. It's one of the reasons he fell to them in the 2006 draft when he was expected to be a lottery pick. He also didn't play defense or lead the team the way the Nets hoped.
But I hope, and believe, Williams will do well in Golden State. They need him and he should flourish in Nellie's free-wheeling system.
I always liked Williams. It's funny how when someone is traded you remember some stories about the person. This is a funny one.
There was one great locker room scene during his rookie year. The Nets played in Washington and one of the writers (not me) put his laptop in the locker next to Williams' locker. The reporter innocently said to Williams, "Don't take that." After Williams smiled and said, "Ohhhhhh!," the writer realized what he had said and we all cracked up. Williams is a good guy, a funny guy, and I wish him well.
Now, the Nets have eight added eight new faces since June 26, made three trades, signed two players and have 15 players with guaranteed contracts. They're done, right? They have to be, right? Wrong.
"Well, right now we've got 15 guys under contract," president Rod Thorn said Thursday. "The [Nenad] Krstic part of the equation has not been decided yet. We have to see what happens with him. We still have a lot of power forwards, for instance. We'll still look to make some other moves before training camp."
The Nets still have a lot of power forwards. That means if they can find takers for Stromile Swift and/or Sean Williams - I know some of you won't like that I include his name but they are looking to move him - the Nets will deal each or both.
Thorn said the Nets would like to add a third point guard for insurance and another shooter. Dooling is expected to back up both spots, but you can never have enough. They could do either through free agency or by trade.
Thorn wouldn't rule out the possibility of a big trade. With all the work the Nets have done and moves they have made you canât rule out anything.
"It will probably be around the edges whatever we do from here on out, I would think," Thorn said. "But we've had so many conversations over the last month and a half, most of them never went anywhere, but you never know when they will."
As Thorn stated earlier, the Krstic situation has to play itself out. The question is does he wind up in the NBA or overseas? If it's overseas, the Nets get nothing for him. If it's in the NBA, there's no guarantee the Nets will be able to do a sign-and-trade.
"I don't know because at the present time I don't think the marketplace here, the only place we could a sign-and-trade, is where he would like it to be," Thorn said. "If that remains the same, which it may or may not, I think he'll probably look more to a foreign team.
"I would expect within the next couple weeks they will figure out which way to go."
I said and wrote a while ago that Vince Carter and Josh Boone could be the only Nets remaining from the team they had at the start of last season. That certainly looks like a strong possibility right now.
What shouldn't be overlooked with all this wheeling and dealing is the Nets have put together a decent team. They're not a championship team, but they're much better than they looked when they made the Richard Jefferson-for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons' deal hours before the draft.
Many of you were unhappy that afternoon/evening and the days after, but you have to like what the Nets did in the draft and the acquisitions/signings of Eduardo Najera, Jarvis Hayes and Dooling, even if youâre unhappy about Marcus' departure.
The Nets have added veterans, defensive-minded players, hard-nosed players, guys who can make shots, athletic players, players with chips on their shoulders and something to prove.
No one in the organization wants to put expectations on this group because they have so many young guys and you still have to see them play together. But this is better than a 34-win team. This team should compete for a playoff berth in the East.
Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe have assembled the Nets' best bench since the two Finals' teams and it may be better than that - and they're not done. Thorn compared the reserves to the one the Nets had in Kidd's first year here, but added, "We didn't have as many good players as we have now."
Let's assume for right now - because things could change - the Nets' starters are Carter, Devin Harris, Simmons, Yi and Boone and Dooling, Hayes, Najera, Brook Lopez and Chris Douglas-Roberts are the subs. That's not a bad group. You also have Ryan Anderson, Trenton Hassell for defense, Swift, Sean and Maurice Ager.
The last four are the ones the Nets would be most apt to move or in Ager's case buy out. Other than Hassell, who has two years and $8.7 million left on his deal, their contracts are manageable and essentially expiring. (Sean and Ager have team options for 2009-10, Swift is up after this season).
My son hasn't stopped saying Elmo since Monday. Even when he met Bert and Ernie and Big Bird, as they gave him fives or mussed his hair, he was saying Elmo. I had to apologize to Bert.
You guys can still talk amongst yourselves here and in the Nets' Fan Forum when I'm not around. I'll check back in and answer any questions or comments you may have. You should have plenty to say after this week.