The New Jersey Nets held a media conference call today.
Nets CEO Rod Thorn made a brief statement and then fielded questions. The following is neither an official nor a complete nor a verbatim transcript but a sampling of the more pertinent points with as much accuracy as possible but aiming to get the information to readers of Basketball News Services's Hoopsworld.com as quickly as possible. An official transcript will likely be released on the Nets main web page at nba.com/nets either later today or tomorrow.
Thorn: "About an hour and fifteen minutes ago we completed a trade with Toronto in which we conveyed Alonzo Mourning, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams and two first round draft picks, two out of the three we got from Denver, to Toronto for Vince Carter."
[The two first round selections sent to Toronto were originally acquired from Denver as part of a trade made this past summer. The draft picks include Philadelphia’s first round pick in 2005, protected 1-8 or 2006, protected 1-5 or 2007, unprotected and Denver’s first round pick in 2006, protected 1-5, 2007, protected 1-2, 2008, unprotected.]
Thorn: "Aaron Williams was the first guy I signed when I came here. He is a class guy. He's been with us over four years and done nothing but good things for our team. We wish him nothing but success."
Thorn: "Eric Williams got off to a little bit of a slow start but played great for us for the last three weeks. He's a Newark native and a solid pro. A tough young man. A really good defender. I've got nothing but good things to say about him."
Thorn: "Alonzo just didn't work out. Last year he was injured and this year he wanted to be somewhere else. He just wasn't happy here and obviously he wanted to be someplace else and now he gets that opportunity and we want to wish him well."
Thorn: "Carter is one of those special talents. When he's healthy he's one of the top players in the league. There will be physicals to make the trade official. I look forward to seeing him in the lineup, with he and Jason and Richard, we're going to have a very, very exciting trio. He's just a special talent, we're looking forward to it."
Media Question: Did Jason Kidd's feeling come into play, and does this
trade help change Jason's mind about his future with the franchise?
I can't speculate along those lines. From my perspective I just felt it was something that would be a big plus for our franchise, to have a player of this ilk on your team, obviously it's a plus. I do think Jason will enjoy playing with Vince. They teamed up very well in the 2000 Olympics as well as other places they played over the course of their careers, all-star games etc.. This certainly has the potential to be a very exciting team but as far as what anybody thinks, I can't speak for anybody. I'm just trying to get as many good players as I can.
Media Question: You did talk to Jason before doing this trade?
I did not.
Media Question: Who called who?
We called them. It was obvious he [Carter] might be traded. We had conversations, both Ed and I, with Toronto. Over the past couple of days I've had a bunch of different conversations with Rob Babcock regarding it. From their standpoint, being able to acquire two first-round draft picks as well as the players they got made it palatable from their standpoint, and obviously from ours it's the quality of the player. This took a long time, a lot of different things were talked about. Last night and earlier today we got closer and then we were able to make a deal.
Media Question: Do you now need to focus on improving your frontcourt?
You try to improve your team as you can. Things present themselves. Sometimes they present themselves when you're not even thinking about it. We will continue to work here to keep making our team better. We still have work to do.
Media Question: Were you surprised you were able to get Carter without
giving up Richard or Jason?
On the surface other than having to give up either Richard or Jason I didn't know if he had what it takes to get that kind of player but you never know until you ask. That's why General Mangers have conversations on a daily basis because you never know when you hit the right formula.
Media Question: How is Jason's health?
We're very happy with what we've seen from Jason, from his recovery, and from his surgery. He appears to be moving very very well. Obviously Jason is more effective when you play an uptempo game, and Carter is good at an uptempo game as well as a halfcourt game, and it will make Jason more effective to have a player like Carter out there.
Media Question: When will we see Vince?
Three out of the four players have to pass a physical. Mourning doesn't. The other three do. The earliest you'll see Vince out there will be Tuesday. We expect him to take a physical within the next day or two. You have 48 hours to report. I will say this: I had a conversation with Vince and he was very excited about it to come play, particularly with Jason and Richard. Hopefully the physicals will work out and then the trade will be official-official.
Media Question: Why is Alonzo exempt?
Everybody is aware that Alonzo has a new kidney and giving him, that was one of the things that was talked about during the negotiations. I don't know if it is or it isn't but there's a chance that he might not want to go there but this trade is not continent upon his physical or if he wants to go there.
Media Question: What about the view that Carter is injury prone?
That's why you have physicals to see if everything is structurally sound. That's why in the vast majority of trades you do trades that you always do physicals. My feeling is that when Carter is healthy he's certainly among the top players in the NBA.
Media Question: Is Carter one of the few guys can sell tickets?
He's a very exciting player. He's a charismatic player. Fans enjoy watching him. He can do things, hand-eye coordination, that most of us can only dream about. He certainly has the ability to attract fans.
Media Question: Does this make the Nets a contender again?
When you're 7-14 and the easiest part of your schedule is behind you, thinking about making the playoffs, we've got to get ourselves going and quickly. We've got our work cut out for us. We're hoping to get in there. If we get in there, we'll be a formidable foe for anybody. From our standpoint, we gave up players who were 32, 33, 34 years old. We pick up a guy who's 27 years old, one of the top athletes in the league, just coming into his prime.
Media Question: How long is Vince under contract?
This year and three more.
Media Question: What does this trade as compared to action this summer say
about the team?
We're here to win. We're not here to wait three or four years to wait. Though we do still have three draft picks in the next two years, three first-rounders. I think it says something about ownership.
Media Question: Has Carter experienced a dramatic decline?
I don't know about that. Obviously I watch a lot of games. I've seen him play some very good games and some not so good games. He was great against us. Athletically he looked as if he had not lost a thing and he was very very good. Their inner machinations on every team that I'm not privy too. Obviously he wasn't happy. Obviously they felt they wanted to go in a different direction. That happens in this league.
Media Question: Did Carter's recent play and injuries devalue him? Make it
easier for you to get him?
I don't know. That's hard to say. There were other teams that had an interest, varying degrees of interest. Maybe.
Media Question: Were you surprised you could get him?
Initially, yeah, I was, but it became evident through conversation, over the course of several conversations, that draft picks were important, that was going to be an important part of it, then it became a matter of matching salaries, and we happened to have players that they were interested in.
Media Question: Did the salaries match exactly or did someone use a trade
You can't use a trade exception in this kind of deal anyway.