“One year after shipping out Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons , a controversial deal that has not exactly yielded dividends,” writes the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro, “the Nets are now parting with the player who helped saved the franchise from oblivion during the cold winter of ’04-05.”  After dealing Jefferson and Jason Kidd, the Nets have cut all ties with their mid-decade success by trading Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Rafer Alston, power forward Tony Battie, and rookie shooting guard Courtney Lee. From D’Alessandro :

It is now likely that the Nets will lean toward drafting a two-guard to take Carter’s place, such as Terrence Williams. If that isn’t the case, Lee — a very promising player who was otherwise abused by Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals — will fight Chris Douglas-Roberts for the starting job.

Equally plausible is that the Nets have opened the door for another power forward, with Anderson heading south. That could provide the necessary impetus to draft Tyler Hansbrough.

Both Alston ($5.25M) and Battie ($6.2M) are in the final seasons of their contract, while Carter carries a salary of $16.1 million this year and $17.5 million for 2010-11.

Considering that salaries of Lee and Anderson basically cancel each other out, that means the Nets are shaving $17.5 million from their cap in 2010-11. Put another way, they have earmarked a scant $29 million for seven players heading into the historic free agent market of 2010.

Warriors coach Don Nelson denies reports Golden State have a deal in place to send the rights to the no. 7 pick in tonight’s draft along with Andris Biedrins to rebuilding Phoenix in exchange for Amare Stoudemire. If the Suns seem an unlikely playoff candidate for spring 2010, perhaps it would make more sense to shop Steve Nash before he’s another day older?