In return for Carter, New Jersey's goal should be crystal clear: Contracts that expire by 2009. Yes, they'd like draft picks and young players in addition, but in contrast to the Kidd trade, this one should be mainly about contracts.
Carter is due his money through 2011, so a deal could get tricky. But exchanging him for players with contracts that expire by 2009 would have huge benefits for the Nets, because it would give them the cap space to shell out for a bigtime free agent. With a combined $37 million owed to Carter, Harris, and Jefferson and the cap likely to be around $60 million total, it's improbable the Nets would have enough cap space otherwise. When it comes to Carter
deals, the name most often rumored is Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal. But his contract doesn't expire until 2010, and, like Carter, there are concerns that he is injury-prone and has yielded diminishing returns of late.
Because of that, Thorn should look at other options. In theory, there are several, but in terms of making the numbers work, the three most promising ones are the Hornets, the Raptors, and the Knicks.
Then, dare I say it, there's Toronto. While most Raptors
fans would welcome Carter's return like it was a recurrence of chlamydia, the numbers and needs match. Toronto needs a dynamic wing scorer like Carter, and the Raptors
can dump the contracts of Rasho Nesterovic, Juan Dixon, and Joey Graham while throwing in a first-rounder for their troubles.