Ex-Net Kenyon Martin recalls meeting Ratner: "You cheated me, you cheated us, you cheated Nets fans."
"Bruce Ratner bought the Nets from there," Wojnarowski narrated, as Martin laughed with dark knowingness, "which was the beginning of the end, he wanted to move the team, he wanted to build a building to move the team, he didn't care about winning. Right?"
"Obvious," replied Martin, still chuckling.
"You knew that right away, you were trying to negotiate an extension [of your contract], it wasn't happening," Wojnarowski continued.
"Didn't happen." Martin went on to say that Jason Kidd had gotten a new contract, but he had been offered $66 million but felt he could get more. He played the year out, and during the season Ratner became the new majority owner.
"I just didn't leave," Martin said forcefully. "I wasn't offered a contract to play for the New Jersey Nets... I didn't want to leave. We had something great going. One piece away from actually winning a championship."
As noted on NetsDaily, the Denver Nuggets offered Martin a $92 million deal, which the Nets declined to match. NetsDaily editor Net Income (aka Bob Windrem) noted that Ratner, unlike owners before and after, wanted to save money and would not pay into the luxury tax penalty payable after the team payroll hit a certain threshold.
"Funny you mentioned Bruce Ratner," Martin continued. He related an anecdote in which he was introduced to Ratner for the first time during All-Star Weekend at a bowling event at L.A. Live.
"Guess what the muthafucka told me: 'No hard feelings, right?'" Martin related. "It's my first time ever seeing him! I ain't never met him. Never laid eyes on him, never had a conversation with him. That's the first thing: 'No hard feelings.' Hell, yeah, there's hard feelings!"
"I didn't say it to him, I'm a grown man, but yeah, there's hard feelings," Martin continued. "I feel you cheated me, you cheated us, you cheated Nets fans, you cheated everybody, man, out of an opportunity to win a championship, for your own satisfaction, for your own gratification. You was well-off and wealthy, you was able to buy a team. OK, do right by that team. But you didn't. Definitely hard feelings... I'm looking at this man like, 'Are you for real?'"