“Vince Carter’s exploits down the stretch in 2005 gave Nets fans the feeling that anything was possible on the basketball court.”  So recalls Nothing But Nets’ Matthew McQueeny, with the dump-frenzied Nets’ decision to send Carter to Orlando yesterday, only hastening the following realization : “you understand the trade on its face, but it feels like the Nets will only be more inconsequential now.”

There is a somber feeling about the end of this era, flawed as it was but surely with its moments. Because it also seems to portend to something happening beyond basketball for the Nets. (It seems, as their incessant catch phrase goes) It’s about…salary dumps…and surviving. Rod Thorns seems to be making the trades that he so often was on the other end of shrewdly making. Sure, Courtney Lee is good and young and showed some things. But in earlier Nets eras, the Rafer Alstons’ and the Tony Batties’ sound a lot like the Eric Williams’ and Aaron Williams’ – and the “contracts” of Alonzo Mourning. Vince was traded by the Nets the way he seemingly was brought to New Jersey.

And for that, it peppers this trade with holes. His window is closing on primetime, as his contract numbers escalate, but when the Nets make a trade like this – while substantially laying off their business-side workers (and advance scouts!) and the contracts of their assistant coaches – it feels not only like a salary dump, but a dump for survival. As if, even with their immediate salary relief, it might still not be enough. Unfortunately, it does like it’s “more than a game.” That was their catch phrase to signify all the entertainment options you could find at a Nets game in somewhat more flush times, but it could be the basketball state of affairs now.