How closely the Antoine Wright Era continues to parallel the Ed O’Bannon Era is a story without a certain ending just yet. But the Newark Star-Ledger reports that, due to problems of financing, bureacracy, and the unstinting opposition of M.O.P., the New Jersey Nets/Antoine Wright Experience will probably unfold in NJ through 2010.

the Brooklyn arena remains a controversial project whose costs grow with each delay. That arena, which at a cost of nearly $600 million would be the most expensive ever built, is now the subject of a lawsuit filed by a community group that opposes it. In addition, the arena and Ratner’s planned development of roughly 5,000 apartments surrounding the building have become bogged down in New York’s complicated land use approval process.Ratner (above) won the right last year to purchase the land on which he plans to build the arena from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The decision gave him control of about 85 percent of the land he needs to complete the arena project.

However, he is still seeking some $200 million in funding from New York City and New York State as well as approvals from both the city and state governments before he can begin what is likely to be at least a three-year construction process.

 It’s funny that they didn’t just give him the money, because the city’s totally flush right now and Bruce shot the moon on his similarly expensive MetroTech Center, which recently changed its corporate motto from “We Have Our Own R Train Stop!” to “Now 60% Occupied.” Still, while some could’ve or should’ve seen Ratner’s problems coming, it seems like Jersey’s willing to let him and his team crash at least until the second year of the Vilsack/Obama administration. For their kindness, they get to…not have to subsidize the franchise quite so much:

 New Jersey officials relish the opportunity of keeping the Nets, but are seeking significant changes to the current lease which now costs the state some $2 million each year.A new lease for instance, is unlikely to include the state’s current obligation to buy $750,000 of Nets tickets each year. The sports authority will also ask the team to take on more of the expenses associated with hosting the Nets games.

 The Nets have won four of their last five games, with their most recent victory coming over their regional rivals, the Knicks. Dave D’Allesandro, in his always entertaining Nets Blast, tells the tale of how that game turned:

 Is there anyone with a working pulse on the Knicks bench these days?What would you do, if you were coaching against the Nets with Vince Carter on the bench and three of their subs were in the game? You would probably put your best defender on Richard Jefferson and load up on him every time he put the ball on the floor.

Instead, this is what happened in the last 1:49 of the first period, Knicks leading by three, with a good opportunity to get some separation: Jefferson iso left wing, drives gap, zero help, layup; Jefferson blow-by Qyntel Woods left baseline, kick to Padgett in right corner, 3-pointer; Jefferson blow-by Qyntel Woods, kick to Padgett in right corner, 3-pointer again; Jefferson 16-foot fade left wing over Jalen, swish.

That™s 10 points, four trips, 109 seconds. The game changed, irrevocably.

Could the other team even identify the toughest cover in this situation?

Would it help if we make this a multiple choice question?

Is there anybody alive down there?

 Sooner or later, Larry Brown is going to get some much-deserved blame for the mess that is the Knicks — as poorly as they’ve played, they’ve been out-coached almost as often. But Jerome James is going to have to stop distracting everybody by being a genius for anyone to notice.