With Houston acquiring Stromile Swift and the Cavaliers continuing their shopping spree by signing Donyell Marshall, there are fewer proven PF’s to go aroundIf the Asbury Park Press’ Bob Considine is to be believed, the New Jersey Nets now have a player who might make Jason Kidd forget Kenyon Martin. Or at least not miss him so much.

Beyond all the tricky posturing and negotiations between the Nets, Portland Trail Blazers and Shareef Abdur-Rahim’s representation, there were two steadfast truths.

Abdur-Rahim (above) wanted to play for the Nets. And the Nets wanted the star forward to be the next piece of their championship puzzle.

So with that standing above else, the Nets neared a deal for Abdur-Rahim on Monday, according to multiple team and league sources.

The Nets have offered Abdur-Rahim, 28, a six-year, $38 million contract via their trade exception. Portland would get either a future first-round or second-round draft pick from New Jersey in return, although Nets president Rod Thorn said last week he would not relinquish a first-round pick.

In the unlikelihood the Blazers don’t accept the deal, Abdur-Rahim has agreed to take the Nets’ mid-level exception ” which would pay only $28 million over five years.