Nets have a Plan B in case LeBron turns down offer
AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – The New Jersey Nets have a Plan B in case LeBron James rejects their offer.
The agent for New York Knicks forward David Lee says the Nets have talked to him several times since free agency began on Thursday.
An official within the league who is very close to the Nets’ management team said the team would also consider going after Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer if James rejected the offer that was presented by new owner Mikhail Prokhorov and a team that included hip-hop mogul Jay-Z.
Nets president and general manager Rod Thorn said in a text message on Tuesday that there was nothing to report on the free agency front.
It’s the same message the 69-year-old outgoing executive has given out for past five days as the Nets and the rest of the NBA waits for the two-time MVP to decide whether to remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers or to accept one of the offers from the Nets, Knicks, Clippers, Heat or Bulls.
ESPN reported Tuesday night that James will announce his future NBA plans during a one-hour special on its network at 9 p.m. Thursday.
James visited his summer camp in Akron, Ohio, earlier in the day and, appropriately, kept everyone waiting four hours for his arrival.
Asked about the Nets’ options if The King nixes their overtures, Thorn wrote:
“We will look at other options if we don’t get one of the top guys.”
The other top players left in free agency are Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Amare Stoudemire has agreed to sign with the Knicks and Rudy Gay, Dirk Nowitzki and Joe Johnson have decided to remain with their teams.
That leaves Boozer and Lee for the Nets to go after if the top three reject the offer to come to New Jersey and play for a team that won a league-worst 12 games last season.
Mark Bartelstein, who represents Lee said the lines of communication have been open between him and Thorn about Lee, who averaged 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds this past season.
“We’ve talked a bunch,” Bartelstein said in a telephone interview. “There is not a day that goes by that we don’t talk. They are kind of waiting now on Wade and LeBron and once they decide, we’ll go from there.”
Bartelstein said there are a lot of other teams actively pursuing Lee and there is a chance that he might be signed before James makes a decision.
“If he is available when the Nets know where they stand with LeBron, we’ll be happy to talk to them,” Bartelstein said. “They’ve got a lot of great things going on in the organization and, you know, David loves New York and the area, but I don’t know if David will still be there when they have an answer.”
Rob Pelinka, Boozer’s agent, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment on his client.
The Nets official who requested anonymity said the team would not overspend this year just to sign someone, noting they would rather wait until next year.
In the past two days, two men mentioned as possible successors to Thorn as the Nets general manager both said they were happy where they were. Joe Dumars of the Detroit Pistons and Jeff Bowers of the New Orleans Hornets issued statements saying they would not be coming to New Jersey.