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You Have To Be Kidd-ing

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So Jason Kidd wants to be traded.  This dance has been going on for almost a year now and I wonder what Rod Thorn’s long term plan was.  Kidd is getting older and Vince Carter is looking like a shadow of his former self.  Yet he refused to trade Kidd last year unless he received Andrew Bynum.  That may have seemed reasonable at the time, but anyone who had seem Bynum play more than a few minutes knew that is a trade the Lakers would regret for years to come.

It looks like this time something will happen though.  It is clear to everyone that if the eastern conference was a horror movie that the Nets would be killed off early on without even getting to score with one of the horny girls.

At this point I believe Thorne will trade Kidd for contracts that expire either after this year or next (which is when Kidd’s current contract would come off the books) and draft picks.  If he can get more he will, but at this point he just wants to move on.  

The question then becomes can the Nuggets be the lucky team to get Kidd at a discount?

Let’s run the numbers.

Kidd’s salary this season is $19,728,000.  That is a big salary.  The collective bargaining agreement stipulates that salaries in any trade must be within 125% of each other plus $100,000.  That means the Nuggets would have to ship out at least $15,682,400 in salaries to New Jersey, another team or teams in a multi team deal.

The Nuggets have some big salaries that could help match Kidd’s $20 million salary, but those salaries belong to Kenyon Martin, Nene and Camby who are either completely frightening to other teams (K-Mart and Nene) or impossible to trade from the Nuggets standpoint (Camby).

Remembering that New Jersey basically wants to just dump Kidd’s salary and get a pick or two the Nuggets will have to come up with contracts that expire in the next year or two that equal $15,582,400.  Here is a list of players that fit what New Jersey will want:

Eduardo Najera – contract expires after 2008 season – salary $4,952,000
J.R. Smith – contract expires after 2008 season – salary $1,641,661
Chucky Atkins – contract expires after 2009 season – salary $3,000,000
Von Wafer – contract expires after 2008 season – salary $770,610
Yakhouba Diawara – contract expires after 2008 – salary $687,456

Those are all of the Nuggets contracts that expire in the next two seasons and they add up to $11,051,727.

That is not quite enough.  

If we assume that Thorne will take on Steven Hunter’s contract (which he might) that expires after the 2010 season and is good for another $3,248,000 that gets the Nuggets offer up to a hair under $14.3 million.  The Nuggets are still almost $900,000 shy of having the contracts to land Kidd.  (Editor’s note:  ESPN and Hoops Hype show conflicting values for J.R, Smith and Steven Hunter’s salaries.  If ESPN is correct the Nuggets would only be $500,000 shy of the minimum salary to trade for Kidd.)

Right now we are talking about a six for one swap and the Nuggets still do not have the salary to get the deal done.  The Nuggets would only have eight players under contract.  On top of that keep in mind that if the Nuggets only ship out roughly $15.5 million in salary and take on almost $20 million that is another $4.5 million in luxury tax that Stan Kronke has to pay.  They also have to field a full roster of players so they would have to sign another three or four free agents who will ramp that bill up even higher.  

There are two potential X factors here though.  I know Thorne used to like Nene, but does he still with all of the injury issues surrounding him?  Even if Thorne still has interest in Nene, wouldn’t he want to wait and see if Nene can play again and how soon before he pulls the trigger on a deal including him?  Also are there larger ethical issues in trading a player who is coming off of surgery to remove a cancerous tumor?

The other X factor is would the Nuggets trade AI for Kidd?  There were rumors a few weeks ago that the Nuggets had mentioned AI to New Jersey in a potential deal for Kidd.  I have no idea if there was any truth to that, but it would be interesting.  

It is fun to think about Kidd running the floor with Melo, Kleiza and Martin filling the lanes, but the whole reason behind bringing Iverson in was to have two scorers on the team.  Trading AI for Kidd would recreate that issue.  

At this point, I do not believe there is any way the Nuggets could acquire Kidd unless the Nets or another team is willing to take Martin or Nene off the Nuggets hands.  There may be someone out there crazy enough to do it, but I have no idea who that would be.  

If you can come up with any scenarios I am missing post a diary (by clicking on the Post New Diary link in the Menu box) and explain who would go where and why the teams involved would do the deal.