So it happened. Vince Carter is back in his home state and Rafer Alston is just a river away from his. The Nets and Magic added another interesting swap to the Draft Day blockbuster collection by agreeing in principle to a deal that will bring Carter to the Magic and send Tony Battie, Alston and Courtney Lee to the New Jersey.
With all this deliberation, the Nets still have a Lottery pick to make tonight. Sayeth Dave D’Alessandro of the Star-Ledger:
It is now likely that the Nets will lean toward drafting a two-guard to take Carter’s place, such as Terrence Williams. If that isn’t the case, Lee — a very promising player who was otherwise abused by Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals — will fight Chris Douglas-Roberts for the starting job.
Equally plausible is that the Nets have opened the door for another power forward, with Anderson heading south. That could provide the necessary impetus to draft Tyler Hansbrough.
No matter how bootleg the mock draft, we have not seen Psycho T in the top-11. More likely, the Nets will opt for DeJuan Blair if he’s still on the board. But this trade isn’t really about the Draft, or that whole circus of speculation. It’s about a young assassin: Courtney Lee. A much healthier and younger shooting guard, Lee will more than adequately take over Carter’s scoring and slashing duties. Alston and Battie, who both are on the last legs of their goodbye tours, are in the last year of their contracts and will put the Nets below the salary cap in 2010. According to Chad Ford, the Nets save $40 million over the life of their deals.
Air Canada gives the Magic the option not to re-sign Hedo Turkoglu this summer; although paying luxury tax for the versatile forward would make for one hell of a roster in Orlando.