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Archive for Thursday, July 17, 2003

Nets sign center Mourning

Deal reportedly worth $22 million over four years

July 17, 2003

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— Alonzo Mourning signed Wednesday with the New Jersey Nets, who are hoping the one-time Miami standout will provide the inside game they need to compete with the best teams in the NBA's Western Conference.

The free-agent center signed a multiyear contract. The deal is believed to be worth $22 million over four years.

Mourning said the opportunity to play with Jason Kidd and the chance to win an NBA title were the main factors in his decision to sign with New Jersey.

"That was the main reason I came here, because of the winning attitude of this team and the direction it's going in," said Mourning, who was presented with a No. 33 jersey. "I can't think of a player in this league that doesn't want to play with Jason Kidd.

"He's proven he can make not only you but a whole team better."

Mourning, a seven-time All-Star, sat out the entire 2002-03 season due to a kidney ailment, but Nets officials are confident Mourning's health has improved enough to justify adding him to their roster.

"Obviously, I'm confident or we wouldn't have signed him," Nets president Rod Thorn said. "Our feeling is he's going to be fine. There's always a risk and a reward. We felt the reward was worth the risk."

Mourning, 33, played three seasons with the Charlotte Hornets before joining the Heat in 1995. In a 10-year career, he has averaged 20.3 points and 9.8 rebounds, shooting 53 percent from the field.

He had completed a seven-year, $105 million contract with the Heat.

Kidd, who was also a free agent, had asked the team to sign Mourning.

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