New Jersey

Bobcats May Like Kittles

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

Kerry Kittles, the most expensive Net after Jason Kidd, was left unprotected by the Nets for the expansion draft, and the papers in Charlotte say the Bobcats might just take him. Earlier speculation thought that one of the cheaper unprotected Nets, namely Tamar Slay, could get the nod, but Kittles could be valued for his streaky yet fearless shooting touch, his scoring prowess, and his ability to run the floor.

Kittles is almost always lethal when he's left open for a jump shot, and he runs the fast break extraordinary well, as do all New Jersey players. Perhaps his signature move is a mixture of the two. When Jason Kidd pushes a fast break, and Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin are streaking through the lanes but surrounded by a collapsing defense, Kittles calmly slows down around the three-point arc and waits for Kidd to pass to him. Wide open, he drains the three. The opposing coach frequently calls a timeout at that point because if the Nets had just scored the previous possession, then it's most likely at least a five-point run they just went on.

If Charlotte does take Kittles, the Nets will miss him as a player but they won't miss his contract. Kittles is in the last year of his contract and is set to earn nearly $10 million. With the trade exception and the cap space that a selection by the Bobcats would leave the Nets, New Jersey would have a chance both to re-sign Kenyon Martin and to possibly pursue free agents. With new owners in place, it's almost a given that profit becomes a concern right away.

It usually takes a few years to break the new owner's gentle spirit. After a few years, even Bruce Ratner will cave in to the demands of the NBA, paying more money than humanly possible to players that rarely live up to the salary. Only the Clippers seem to have avoided the max-salary trap that every other owner eventually falls into, and they may be slipping as well.

The New Jersey Nets have announced the ticket pricesfor the 2004-05 season. The Nets are providing season tickets at reduced prices and are also also implementing "Screecher Seats," which will cost $15 per ticket.


Rob Parker ofThe Detroit Newswrites: “We've learned our lessons throughout the playoffs,” Pistons President Joe Dumars said. “Tonight was evidence of us learning our lessons from previous series.” In the second round against the New Jersey Nets, with the series tied 2-2, the Pistons lost Game 5 in triple overtime before a stunned Palace crowd.In the Eastern Conference finals against the Indiana Pacers, the Pistons, up 2-1, were blown out before an angry Palace crowd.

Rick Bonnell ofThe Charlotte Observer writes: Remember Kelly Tripucka? Sweet jump shot ... savvy offensive scorer ... couldn't guard a grandmother on crutches. Back in 1988, Tripucka was a big man in this town and a crucial figure for the Charlotte Hornets. He was the closest thing that first Hornets team had to a star. New Jersey Nets shooting guard Kerry Kittles could be that guy for the Charlotte Bobcats. That's why the Bobcats should seriously consider choosing Kittles in the expansion draft, and not trading him to another team.

Marc Narducci ofThe Philadelphia Inquirer writes: Since Thursday, [Delonte] West has gone through rigorous rehabilitation with a physical therapist. It's difficult to say whether West helped himself by playing last night, but NBA scouts will likely give him points for perseverance. "I think he showed a lot of guts being out there," New Jersey Nets general manager Ed Stefanski said."Plus, I thought he was pretty effective out there and was making plays."