With Harris labeled day-to-day, what do the Nets do?

harris_blog_012209.JPGSAN ANTONIO — Devin Harris has a rib injury. Keyon Dooling has a swollen right ankle. Vince Carter is just feeling better after an ankle injury limited his lift. Those are the Nets’ three point guards.

Their fourth, in an emergency spot, is Trenton Hassell. And he has a calf strain.

Not a good way to go into tomorrow’s game against the Spurs, hoping to end a four-game skid. But Lawrence Frank, ever the optimist, said, “Every team deals with injury. We’re not unique to that.”

No, but the Nets need insurance at the point guard position. They have for a while.

A CT scan given to Harris on Thursday was negative. He was diagnosed with a bruised rib and is day-to-day. Dooling, who was limping around noticeably today, may not be playing if  Harris was healthy.

They’re not going to be able to get someone that comes in and makes an immediate impact, someone that will supplant any of the three players currently manning that spot. But the Nets probably need to do something.

The Nets have talked about wanting a third point guard since the start of training camp and it hasn’t happened. We know it’s not from lack of effort because Rod Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe have tried to do things that make sense financially as well as plan wise. Nothing has worked to their liking, though.

 Remember, everything is about the plan, which is having flexibility in 2010. So they don’t want to take back crazy contracts — anything more than two years — or else that affects the plan.

That’s one of the reasons they were considering trading for Larry Hughes, which is a possibility still.

The Nets likely would have sent Bobby Simmons and Sean Williams to Chicago for Hughes if the Bulls said yes. But they wanted a shorter-term deal so Maurice Ager replaced Williams.

There are other factors why the Nets haven’t pulled the trigger: from Simmons being a better locker room guy, to the more than $3 million in salary they would take back next year to determining whether it makes them that much better to where they would be willing to accept potential chemistry issues and the additional payroll.

 However, in either case, the Nets would open up a roster spot, which they could, of course, use on another point guard.

 The Nets talked earlier this season to Memphis about the likes of Javaris Crittenton, who has since been moved, and the Grizzlies’ collection of point guards. They’ve also inquired about Luther Head in Houston.

In all cases, what the Nets don’t want to do is what Vandeweghe continues to refer to as put a Band Aid over anything, especially if it messes with the plan.

 “You’re trying to improve your team, with goals in mind,” Vandeweghe said. “What we’ve talked about — Rod and myself — is that we’re not going to look to Band Aid solutions, and whatever we do will be sticking towards the plan.”

 By Band Aid, you mean?

“We’ve identified ’10 as the year to have cap space,” Vandeweghe said. “We worked very hard to make that happen. You do a deal that may help you win a few games this year, but compromises your cap space in ’10. That in my view would be a Band Aid solution.”

There are other things out there. The Nets are calling and listening and trying to decide what to do, if anything.

If the Nets make a trade that gets them two or three more wins and a seventh seed instead of an eighth seed does it make that big of a difference? Either way, the Celtics, Cavs or Magic will destroy them.

For the Nets to think that way is understandable.

It’s also understandable for them to think since they’re past the midpoint, why bring anyone in if they’re just going to be here for emergency purposes, especially if it means more payroll. They can weather the storm with what they have.

 There is danger in that, though.

 
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County)

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