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Game Thread #33: Bulls at New Jersey Nets

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What to do if you're the New Jersey Nets?

Your big three is getting old (Kidd), hobbled (Jefferson) or indifferent (Carter). Your post scorer is out for the season, meaning that the worst offensive starter in the NBA is getting even more playing time. You know your coach is likely a good one, but nevertheless seems to be on the verge of having his team quit on him (and if it hadn't been cemented already, Jason Kidd would then be officially 'coach killer of the last 2 decades'). And are pretty much in cap hell, dealing away one of your few trading chips (the expiring contract of Jeff McInnis) for pretty much nobody just to get under the luxury tax.

(o.k., time to switch out of Hubie prose)

I guess the Nets are still an average team and are always capable of getting wins, usually coinciding with a big night from Vince Carter. Some thought that in a contract year (he can opt out of the next 2 years of his deal following this season) Vince would, uh, try. But the same questions regarding his commitment still linger, and are now accompanied with which destination he'd like to go to as a free agent. While he'd be leaving a lot of money on the table by opting out, Carter also could get another 5 or 6 year deal at comparable money, an opportunity that doesn't come often.

So will the Nets trade Carter before he's a Free Agent to 'get something' before (if) he leaves? Given the circumstances of how they got Carter in the first place, I wouldn't be surprised if they instead traded Jefferson to get a top-line frontcourt player, and going for one more run with Jason Kidd before truly blowing everything up. Hell, in their division they don't even need a strong finish, just a good squad come playoff time. However, losing Kristic may have given them too many holes to fill even with using Jefferson as the bait.

The Bulls have lost 7 straight in Jersey, and it's not that surprising given that the Nets are usually pretty good, but also that their arena is a dreary and depressing place to play. I can see it being tough to get up for a game in front of the few thousand who still come to see a team getting ready to go to Brooklyn. Not that I don't want that move to happen for the sake of the league, but it kindof makes these next couple seasons seem like a wake.

Hinrich's a game-time decision, and even if he did play the big guards of Jersey can give the Bulls fits. But I think we may be at the point where what Ben Gordon can do offensively is the more worrisome thing for the opponent in any matchup.