Nets Agree to Send Vince Carter Back Home

Deal clears millions in cap space

It looks like there's nothing standing in the way of the Nets drafting Terrence Williams anymore.

New Jersey agreed in principle on a deal sending Vince Carter back to his home state of Florida where he will join Dwight Howard and the Eastern Conference champion Magic. In return the Nets, who also sent Ryan Anderson south, will receive Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee and Tony Battie. The deal gives the Magic a boost in star power to help them return to the NBA Finals in 2010, but we'll focus on what it means for the Nets.

The long and short of it is that it means cap space. They'll save $40 million over the life of the contracts of the players involved, and they'll slice more than $16 million off their cap before the free agent feeding frenzy next summer. With a move to Brooklyn still on the table and Jay-Z sitting courtside, the Nets could be a viable player for many of the big-ticket players hitting the market.

The short-term outlook isn't quite so rosy, although adding Williams in Thursday night's draft would make them a very athletic, young and flexible team entering next season. You could do worse as a foundation than Devin Harris pushing the ball with Williams and Lee on the wings and Brook Lopez filling the middle.

That might also be appealing to some free agents, but the best news for the Nets right now is that they rid themselves of the albatross that Carter had become in recent years. In many ways it finishes what they started when they traded Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson by creating a wholly new identity for a team that saw its window of championship opportunity close some time ago. 

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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