The Nets' interest in trading Jason Kidd has moved the Knicks closer to exchanging Kurt Thomas for Wally Szczerbiak, according to several NBA sources.
In a three-way scenario shaped by the Minnesota Timberwolves' desire to land Kidd, the Knicks would send Thomas to the Nets and end up with Minnesota's Szczerbiak and New Jersey's Aaron Williams. The Nets also would land the Timberwolves' Sam Cassell and Ervin Johnson as compensation for shipping out Kidd, who is coming off knee surgery and has $90 million left on the $103 million contract he signed last summer.
Isiah Thomas has little love for Kurt Thomas' game and has coveted Szczerbiak, a Long Island native who has long expressed his desire to play for his hometown team. But even though the pure-shooting Szczerbiak would give the Knicks insurance against Allan Houston's knee problems, Minnesota is the team driving this potential deal.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has charged his GM, Kevin McHale, to acquire Kidd, according to an NBA executive involved in the talks, and the Nets' All-Star point guard has told management he would accept a trade to Minnesota. With Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles jettisoned in the purge ordered by new owner Bruce Ratner, and with the Nets staring at a series of bleak lame-duck seasons in the Meadowlands before moving to Brooklyn, Kidd wants out in the worst way.
"But is anyone willing to take him and the $90 million after knee surgery?" said one NBA executive with knowledge of the talks. "I wouldn't buy a racehorse that couldn't run, even if it was the greatest racehorse of all time."
Minnesota apparently believes a Kidd-Kevin Garnett-Latrell Sprewell combination would win a Western Conference race left wide open by the dismantling of the Lakers. The Timberwolves talked to the Trail Blazers about acquiring Shareef Abdur-Rahim, whom McHale could've traded to the Nets for Kidd (Abdur-Rahim and Nets coach Lawrence Frank have a good relationship stemming from their time together in Vancouver). Portland also talked directly to the Nets about a Kidd-for-Abdur-Rahim exchange, with the Nets inquiring about the Blazers' No. 1 pick, Brooklyn high school star Sebastian Telfair.
But the Blazers aren't sure Kidd would guarantee them a top playoff seed in the West, and right now don't want to pay $180 million (including luxury-tax charges) to find out. That leaves Minnesota to pick up the ball and search for willing trade partners who can make something work with the Nets.
To take on Szczerbiak and Williams, the Knicks would have to rid themselves of another salary in addition to Thomas'. Isiah Thomas is hoping against hope to convince someone to take Moochie Norris or Shandon Anderson off his hands.
"This deal is within the realm of possibility," confirmed an official familiar with Isiah Thomas' thinking. "But when you have this many players and contracts involved, so many things can change."
I hate the though of trading Sam. Kidd would not fit are system we are a jump shooting team and kidd can not shoot if the Wolves do this deal then they can kiss any though of a title good bye. IMO