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Jul 16, 2004

RACING TODAY

By: JOHN PIESEN


The sorrow runs deep in New Jersey. It became official yesterday that
 Kenyon Martin is leaving the Nets. The reason: the Nets wouldn"t match
 the Nuggets" $80 million offer, $23 million up front.Maybe I"m a few million
off on my numbers, but what"s a few mill among friends when it comes to a
guy who averages double-figures in points and rebounds.Already, it is projected
that 3,000 people will not renew their Nets" season
 tickets because they are mad that Kenyon Martin is leaving. Since the
average season ducat is $8,000, the Nets will lose more than $23 million in
 revenue right there. One Jersey sports writer makes the following point. If
 the Nets kept Kenyon Martin, like they should have, he would get the $20
million up front, and everyone would be happy.
Allow this Jersey sports writer to take a different slant. What possesses anyone to shell out $8,000 for
 basketball tickets, thereby subsidizing these $80 million players?
In case you missed it, here are some other recently-signed NBA contracts: Adonal Foyle, he of the
 three-point and three-rebound average, was rewarded with $42 million by the Warriors. Mark Blount, who
 last year averaged double-figures for the first time in his four-year career, also nailed $42 million from the
 Celtics. Where do I go to buy a ticket for Celtics-Warriors, the battle of the $42 million men? Hedo
 Turkoglu, a pure shooter, who, on a good night, goes 5-for-13, signed for $39 million. Brian Cardinal, who
 averaged a career-high nine points last year, also gets $39 million. But my favorite is Mehmet Okur, a
 Turkish import who rode the pine for the Pistons last year. Utah gave him $50 million. And you thought
 Chris Dudley was stealing money all those years. Oh, I almost forgot Etan Thomas. One of my personal
 favorites.
Etan boasts averages of six points and five rebounds for a three-year career. He got $38 million from
 Milwaukee. And don"t forget good old Antonio McDyess. For running up and down a basketball court, he
 gets $23 million from Phoenix. Of course the best of all time has to be Allen Houston. This is a guy who
 has made exactly one all-star team in his NBA career, and he got $100 million. Again, my quarrel is not
 with these players. If someone wants to give Allen Houston $100 million, more power to him. I just think
 that some people could find a better use use for their $8,000 than paying his salary.
Other tidbits:
Remember rock star Bob Brennan, who was convicted for a security rap? Brennan still has six years left
 to serve, and he"s serving his time in a maximum-security military facility at Fort Dix, N.J. In the
 meantime, Garden State Park, the south Jersey racetrack for the 21st Century that Brennan built in the
 "80s, has been completely demolished.
The land eventually will be used for condos and malls. The Espys will be shown Sunday night on ESPN.
 Actually, the show was taped Wednesday night, and the only racing winner was Stewart Elliott for top
 jockey. Ironically, the three riders he beat out were Jerry Bailey, Alex Solis and Edgar Prado, the three
 guys who combined to get Elliott beat in the Belmont. Hard to believe that Seabiscuit lost for best sports
 movie.
More on Prado later...



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