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Old 08-05-2006, 10:39 PM   #1
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Default Zoran going to be bought out? Illic more likely to the Nets!

Zoran Planinic may be a top player in Spain instead of sitting on the Nets' bench this season.

Multiple sources said the Nets are close to finalizing a buyout of Planinic's contract, which runs through next season, so he can sign a multiyear deal with Spanish Euroleague power, Tau Ceramica. Sources close to the Nets and Planinic said he likely will be bought out and waived in the near future.

"It could happen the early part of next week," one league source said.

Planinic's likely departure means Mile Ilic, last year's second-round pick, will be headed to New Jersey.

The Nets had been trying to clear a spot for the 7-foot-2 Ilic. They were offering Planinic for a second-round pick, but found no takers. Overseas, Maccabi Tel Aviv also showed interest.

"It's something we're exploring," said Marc Cornstein, the agent for both Planinic and Ilic.

This move works for the Nets because they'll get Ilic now instead of in two years if he signed with a team in Spain or Russia, and they'll get salary-cap relief.

Planinic is due about $1.8 million this season. The buyout will be far below half that based on his Tau Ceramica salary in euros.

The Nets will use some of the difference on Ilic (about $800,000) and another player, perhaps someone who can play both backcourt positions. They're considering free agents Milt Palacio, Tony Delk and Eddie House, as well as shooting guard Kareem Rush.

Planinic is amenable to the change after not playing much in three seasons with the Nets.

From the Bergen Record
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