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New Jersey Nets 2003 Offseason Update

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(Sports Network) - Everything is roses and sunshine in Sopranoland. , the franchise savior of the New Jersey , will continue to play his home games at Continental Airlines Arena. Byron Scott, who despite coaching the team to two straight NBA Finals was rumored to be in the line of fire, is also staying. To top it off, officially put his name on a four-year deal with the on Wednesday, and instantly became the best pivot in franchise history. All of these developments will likely put the right back where they were just over a month ago -- in the NBA Finals. Of course, with the , and all still lurking, New Jersey's chances of winning the title are akin to that famous snowball. On the surface, the franchise can exhale and concentrate on the job at hand. When you dig a little deeper, however, things are pretty shaky. First and foremost, the relationship between Scott and Kidd is far from healthy. While most Americans function just fine despite hating their bosses, it usually doesn't work in the player/coach scenario. Kidd denied he ever voiced concerns over Scott or threatened to leave if Scott stayed. That story was reported by Fred Kerber of the New York Post. Mr. Kerber was covering the team even before Jayson Williams' only connection to the headlines was his rebounding, and he's handled his job in a very responsible manner. Basically, Kerber did not make up the quotes he put in his article, at least not as far as I'm concerned. So there will continue to be turbulence between star player and coach as next season begins. Scott is in the final year of his contract, which will pay him about $2.6 million for the upcoming season. Will the team give him an extension? Will he be fired after the first three-game losing streak of the season? How many times will Kidd vs. Scott be plastered all over the back pages in the most carnivorous media market in the free world? This internal strife could end up making Larry Brown and look like bosom buddies. Kidd orchestrated a similar mutiny back in 1993 at the University of California. It led to the ouster of Lou Campanelli, who was replaced by the Kidd's choice, assistant Todd Bozeman. This all may have been a moot point if the Los Angeles handled their offseason differently. The have both and signed at a bargain price; perhaps Kidd figured a trip to San Antonio was no longer a guaranteed trip to the Finals. If his real motivation was winning a title, he would have left. The acquisition of Mourning is also at Kidd's behest. This is a tremendous risk, given Mourning's serious kidney ailment. The NBA will not be generous with the injury exception should Mourning be unable to play, since it will take a buyer-beware attitude towards the pre-existing condition. It's a four-year contract worth a reported $20 million. Without much of a choice, the hitched their wagon to Kidd's trailer in many ways. How the experiment turns out is anybody's guess.

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