JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's getting to be the official summer sport of the NBA: Demanding a trade.
New Jersey's Richard Jefferson, by contrast, is one budding star who says we won't be adding him to the list.
While admittedly distraught by the departures of fellow starters Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles, Jefferson told ESPN.com after Friday's Team USA scrimmage against New Zealand that he expects his next contract to come from the Nets ... even if the Nets also trade away Kidd against his wishes.
Jefferson, entering his fourth season, is free to start negotiating a contract extension with the Nets on Sunday. If he elects instead to complete his current contract in hopes of testing the free-agent market next summer, Jefferson -- as he quickly points out -- will be a restricted free agent. A restricted free agent who understands that the Nets, having jettisoned Martin and Kittles for future draft picks, would have plenty of financial flexibility to match any offer Jefferson gets.
"I'm in a difficult position also, because even if I try and play out the year to go someplace else, the Nets are going to have $30 million in cap room," Jefferson said. "So if the Nets want to keep me, I'd pretty much have to demand a trade or say something to get out. But what sense does that make? That doesn't make much sense."
Jefferson says he has too much admiration for Kidd to beg his friend not to demand a trade ... even if that means he winds up as the last holdover from the Nets' back-to-back NBA Finals teams.
"I have so much respect for [Kidd]," Jefferson said. "I owe a lot of my success to him. He's put me in this position I am right now. He's my mentor. He's shown me how to work, shown me how to handle myself, shown me how to carry myself. It would be unfortunate [if Kidd were traded]. But he's going to do what's best for his family, and the only thing I can do is thank him."