The Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’allesandro reports that New Jersery, winners last night against Chicago in double OT, 115-106, haven’t taken kindly to Alfonso Mourning’s desire to be cut loose.
That Alonzo Mourning has requested a release from his contract — along with $14 million as a lovely parting gift — is moot, as Rod Thorn sees it.
Moreover, the Nets president admitted yesterday that the 34-year-old center, just 11 months removed from a kidney transplant, is “untradeable.”
Mourning, who since the first day of camp has made it clear that he doesn’t want to remain in New Jersey in the aftermath of their roster purge, recently asked Thorn for his freedom, but wasn’t willing to pay the steep price for that freedom.
A team official told The Star-Ledger the center had sought a $14 million buyout from the $17.8 million remaining on his contract, a proposal that Thorn found ludicrous. Mourning’s attempt to get a buyout from the Nets was first reported in the Daily News yesterday.
“For us to subsidize at a premium a player to go play someplace else — when it appears to me that he’s going to be able to play — is not the way for a team to do it,” Thorn said after watching his team at a morning shoot-around yesterday at United Center. “And we’re not going to do it. That would not be in the team’s best interests whatsoever.”
In other words, Mourning is stuck — which is why he has been grumpy since Oct. 4, the first time he expressed his discontent with being tied to a team that no longer has title aspirations. He also remains upset that the team wanted him to retire during the summer.
The buyout requested by Mourning’s agent, Jeff Wechsler, was only going to put the Nets in a worse bind than the one they’re in. The three seasons of income which Mourning has coming — $5.4 million this year, and $5.9M and $6.4M over the next two — would remain on the Nets salary cap, minus the modest amount the player was willing to sacrifice in his proposed buyout settlement.
That, as Thorn described it, “is crazy.” The Nets would be subsidizing a competitor, and they’d lose another player they desperately need, just three months after asking him to retire.