Once upon a time, I turned down a hot dinner invitation to stay home and watch the NBA Draft.

That’s why no one invites me to dinner anymore. The Bergen Records’ Al Iannazzone rubs his crystal balls and predicts the New Jersey Nets’ likely selections.

When the Nets pick 15th in the NBA draft tonight, they might be feeling blue. Carolina blue, that is.

Vince Carter probably loves that the Nets have fellow North Carolina products Rashad McCants (above) and Sean May on their draft board. Carter would be even happier if one of them is a Net by tonight.

According to league sources, the Nets are strongly considering taking McCants with the No. 15 pick. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard averaged 17.6 points at North Carolina, and along with May, helped the Tar Heels win the national championship.

McCants, power forwards May, Arizona State’s Ike Diogu, Connecticut’s Charlie Villanueva and Kansas’ Wayne Simien; Syracuse small forward Hakim Warrick, Louisville shooter Francisco Garcia and prep point guard Monta Ellis (a very long shot) are on the Nets’ list of potential picks, depending on how the draft plays out.

Conventional thinking says the Nets, who pick No. 43 in the second round, need a power forward. May, Diogu and Villanueva fit the bill. But the Nets plan to address that need in free agency where Shareef Abdur-Rahim is priority No. 1, then Donyell Marshall and Stromile Swift.

McCants is considered good enough to be a lottery pick, but some character issues could be the reason he’s there for the Nets at No. 15. Minnesota, which selects 14th, also was said to like him.