EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New Jersey Nets are in talks to send Vince Carter to his home town of Orlando and the Eastern Conference champion Magic, a person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press.
Working on a major draft-day deal for the second straight year, the Nets are prepared to send Carter and forward Ryan Anderson to the Magic for point guard Rafer Alston, shooting guard Courtney Lee and power forward Tony Battie, said the source, who requested anonymity because the deal was not finalized.
Thursday's pending trade was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.
An eight-time NBA All Star, Carter, 32, grew up in Daytona Beach and lives in Orlando.
The Nets traded Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee last year on draft day for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons.
The trade would give the Magic another star in a lineup that already includes Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis. The deal might also convince Hedo Turkoglu, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent on July 1, to remain with the Magic.
If the trade goes through, it would give New Jersey some $18 million in salary cap relief for the 2010-11 season.
Orlando is hoping Carter will provide center Dwight Howard with a perimeter scorer who can create his own shot — something they lacked in losing the NBA finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Magic also gave up a promising young guard to get Carter.
Lee, a rookie from Western Kentucky last season, was a late first-round pick in 2008 and turned out to be one of the Magic's few bright spots in recent drafts. Lee started 42 games and was a solid contributor for the Magic last season, averaging 8.4 points per game.
But the Magic were willing to give up Lee to acquire Carter and clear payroll.
With Jameer Nelson already named the starting point guard for next season, the team was looking to move Alston — and his $5.25 million contract that ends after next season.
Alston was acquired at the trade deadline from the Houston Rockets after Nelson suffered what was then called a season-ending shoulder surgery. Alston's acquisition largely saved the Magic's season, but when Nelson was able to return for the finals, Alston complained about his minutes and the point guards never could find their rhythm.
The Magic's biggest cost-cutting move is parting ways with the 33-year-old Battie, who will make $6.2 million next season in the final year of his contract.3 comments on this story
Carter's departure would end the era of the Nets' Big Three. Point guard Jason Kidd was traded to Dallas early in 2008 and Jefferson was dealt to the Bucks four months later.
Carter, a proven offensive force who averaged 20.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 80 games last season, carried most of the load for New Jersey along with point guard Devin Harris and rookie Brook Lopez.
Anderson, a 6-foot-10 forward who was the 21st pick overall in last year's draft, started 30 games and averaged 7.4 points and 4.7 rebounds.