The Oklahoma City Thunder has moved one step closer to beefing up its frontcourt, bringing 7-foot center Nenad Krstic to town this week to conduct the required physical tests he would need to pass if he joins the team next week.
Krstic's rights are still held by New Jersey, and the Nets have until Monday to decide whether to match or decline the Thunder's three-year offer sheet Krstic signed earlier this week for more than $15 million.
New Jersey is expected to take the entire seven days allowed under the league's collective bargaining agreement before announcing its decision.
But by bringing in Krstic early for the mandatory tests, Thunder officials seemingly think there is a good chance the Nets will decline the offer to retain their restricted free agent and are hastening the process to get Krstic in uniform as soon as possible.
One point of emphasis during Krstic's physical examinations likely will be the torn ACL he sustained in December of the 2006-07 season that limited him to 26 games and derailed a promising career.
Krstic was slow to recover from the injury last season in New Jersey and saw a drastic decline in his production. He then signed to play in Russia last summer when he received a more lucrative contract offer than any NBA team was willing to give him.
Krstic, a four-year NBA veteran who is still only 25, is expected to join the team immediately if the Nets don't match the offer. He could be in uniform Monday night against Phoenix or, more likely, Wednesday night against Golden State.