Nets, Matrin agree to deal

Thursday, August 24th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Not five minutes into a news conference to announce the signing of the NBA's No. 1 draft pick, Kenyon Martin made a pre-emptive strike.

"No questions about the leg," the New Jersey Nets' new 6-9 power forward said Wednesday after agreeing to a contract expected to be worth $11.3 million over three years. Martin's playing status had been a question mark because of the broken right leg and ankle ligament damage that ended his senior season at Cincinnati in March.

But Martin, fresh from a big man's camp in Hawaii, says he performed well against players such as Austin Croshere, Sean Elliott and Mavs center Shawn Bradley. Coaches at the camp were saying, "Take it easy," said Martin, the ex-Bryan Adams standout. "If I'm here, I'm not going to take it easy."

Mavs' offer on hold

The Mavericks' offer to bring Christian Laettner to Dallas will have to be put on hold – for now.

Because of a complicated glitch in NBA rules, the earliest the Mavs could deal their proposed players to the Detroit Pistons for Laettner would be Monday.

Dallas has offered forward Cedric Ceballos, forward John Wallace and point guard Eric Murdock in exchange for the Pistons' 6-11 forward. But with the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, Wallace and Murdock can only be added in the deal two months from the day they were acquired via trade. Both players were acquired by Dallas on draft day, June 28.

In addition, when the anniversary of Ceballos' contract signing comes Sunday, for base year salary-cap reasons, his salary is calculated as slightly more than $2.9 million instead of the $1.9 million it is currently valued at. That change allows the three salaries to add up slightly closer to Laettner's $6.7 million salary for next year.

Briefly ...

The Spurs' Sean Elliott, who returned last season after a kidney transplant, is leaning toward returning for another season with the team, the San Antonio Express-News reported. ... Tim Duncan symbolically broke ground on the new arena that helped motivate him to stay in San Antonio, the $175 million, 18,500-seat SBC Center.