NEW YORK (AP) _ The owners of the NHL's New York Islanders have entered into negotiations with the New Jersey Nets in an attempt to buy the NBA team and move it back to Long Island, the New York Post reported today.

The Nets, who moved to New Jersey in 1977 when the ABA merged with the NBA, can leave Continental Airlines Arena in 2000 under the terms of their lease with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

``There have been discussions with different owners about moving the Nets,'' Nets spokesman Howard Rubenstein said Thursday.

Islanders co-owner Howard Milstein told the Post that his New York Sports Ventures group is in ``serious negotiations'' to buy the Nets and move them into a new Nassau Coliseum.