Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Mavericks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Nelson called it, “hands down the most unique transaction that I’ve even been involved in…Ever.” Mavs Majority Owner Mark Cuban added, “it’s been the most interesting, unique trade we’ve ever done, and we’ve done some doozies.”
And was it ever.
With the trade between the Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey Nets FINALLY completed yesterday, Jason Frederick Kidd (JFK) makes his return to the team that he spent his first three-and-a-half seasons with—the Dallas Mavericks.
The modified deal still featured Jason Kidd and Devin Harris as its main pieces (along with New Jersey’s Malik Allen and Dallas’ DeSagana Diop, Maurice Ager, their first round selections in 2008 and 2010, and a cool three million in greenbacks). But dropped Jerry “loose lips” Stackhouse and Devean George in lieu of Trenton Hassell and the unofficially retired Keith Van Horn. New Jersey swingman Antoine Wright was also been added to the Kidd-Harris deal instead of the originally proposed separate deal for a future second-round pick.
In this deal, the Nets got what they wanted in this eight-player deal (without the baggage of Stackhouse and George), a combination of expiring contracts, draft picks, cash, and a promising young player in Devin Harris. As for the Mavericks, Kidd gives them a veteran presence at the point guard position—one that the team has not felt since Steve Nash was allowed to sign with the Phoenix Suns in the summer of 2004.
In an interview with Mavs.com, Kidd shared that he will be sporting jersey #2—his old number is currently being worn by forward Josh Howard—and “wasn’t about to ask Howard to change numbers.” Kidd’s new number also oddly resembles his old number (when reversed, #2 looks like #5) as well as symbolizes his second chance with the Dallas Mavericks.
Below are some of the questions and answers thrown at the Mavericks new court general:
How do you feel physically at this point of your career?
“Coach asked me and I said I feel great. Mentally and physically I feel that I can do the things I did when I first came into the league. People may feel that I’ve lost a step, you have good days and bad days, but the biggest thing is just understanding my teammates. I’ve never had to score a lot of points for us to win. I always tried to make the game as easy as possible for my teammates to score. I’ve always been on a team with scorers, so they’ve been happy. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve understood to help the big guys rebound. I still love the challenge. The gamesmanship of going out against the other guys who might be faster, who might score a lot more, but taking that challenge and trying to slow them down. Also showing that you don’t have to score to be successful.”
This move was done with an eye on a championship.
“We’re in the elite group. They’ve had a lot of success the last couple years. I feel what I can bring is some mental toughness to show that you can bend, but not break. There’s always is a lot of basketball to be played, so I feel I can help them win. There are so many pieces – Josh, Dirk, Stack and the other guys on this team – and the two other guys – Antoine and Malik. Antoine brings something to the table defensively and can score. Malik brings his toughness and can score. I’m excited about this opportunity because the Mavericks have their eye on winning a championship. If you think that way, it spreads throughout the team and that’s the one thing that everybody is concentrating on.”
That’s the one thing you want in your career.
“That’s all I want – to win a championship. It’s not guaranteed, but you want to play for it. When you take the floor with the Mavericks, you’re on that path to win a championship.”
Would you describe your career as successful or unfulfilled or a bit of both?
“It’s been a successful career. Everybody feels that they are measured by championships, and you are, and I’ve been to the Big Dance twice, so I’ve had that opportunity and that’s the best feeling. There are 30 teams and only two teams at the end of the day. There is no bigger stage than that. To be able to do that is great. Unfortunately, there is only one winner. Nothing is promised, but when you have other guys on your team that are in the same fight, it makes coming to work a lot easier.”
Now playing: Mike Francis - Harvest For The World
Friday, February 15, 2008
February 10, 2008.
Despite a sudden torrid downpour of snow as we walked towards the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey—I could feel it in the cold air.
This afternoon’s match up between the New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks was going to be a good one.
Or at least I hoped it would be a good one, if only for two reasons.
• Super courtside seats!!! (Thanks Hon!)
• Triple-double #100 (Kidd had the opportunity that evening to record his 100th career
triple-double that afternoon and finished with 13 points, 14 assists, and six
rebounds—falling short of the feat by 4 caroms).
Some of the highlights:
• Saw injured point guard Devin Harris shooting around with an assistant coach (or trainer) more than an hour and a half prior to tip off. Harris seemed to show no signs of the foot injury that has kept him out of the Dallas lineup for the last few weeks. His shot looked sweet and his movement crisp while consistently knockdown uncontested perimeter jumpers. No wonder these guys are pros! (Later on, I found out that Devin was still on the Mavericks inactive list).
• Dirk Nowitzki also showed his shooting prowess as he seemed to mimic guard-forward Jerry Stackhouse’ knee-bending routine while shooting several 16 footers. Needless to say, they all went in—straight and true!
• More than a dozen kids sporting Jason Kidd jerseys engulf Nets forward-center Sean Williams as he signs autographs. Hon says to me, “Gee, those are a lot of Kidd’s.” I just love the word play. Hehehe. The kids turn out to be a part of Jason Kidd’s foundation—“Kidd’s Corner”—and got to watch the game live from their designated section located of the upper level of the Izod Center.
• As the clock was running out—players have fifteen minutes to change into their uniforms prior to the start of the contest—and the Dallas players ran to their dugout, player-development staff member and former Mavericks jock, Ron "Popeye" Jones, showed that he still got his pet move (a hook shot) down pat when he swished a hook shot from outside the court along the baseline. Wow!
• As the Nets entered the Izod Center’s playing court, speakers blared with Kanye West's "Stronger" as their theme music. It is the same single currently used by the New York Knicks. Now I am really sure that the owner of the “Best Rap Album” in the recently concluded 50th annual Grammy Awards “IS” raking in the Benjamin's during every home game at MSG and the Izod Center.
• Jason Kidd starts off strong with a nifty alley-oop pass to forward Josh Boone right in front of us.
• I was also looking forward to Kidd’s first foul shot (a technical free-throw) in the first quarter. Noticeably absent was his patented wiping-my-ass-blow-away-kiss prior to every foul shot. I believe the result of which is due to his ongoing divorce proceedings with his estranged wife, Joumana.
• Triple-double watch: Kidd 3 points and 3 assists after one period.
• Mavericks forward Brandon Bass takes out Vincent “VC” Lamar Carter with an elbow to the right side of his face after the former attempted to strip him of the basketball. My thoughts were, “I hope he is alright.”
• The Nets are down double-digits (11 points) with less than seven minutes left before the half. I’m praying now, “No blowouts please! Come on, make things interesting!”
• And that they did. The Nets come roaring back with a 20-4 run of their own—featuring Carter (8 points), Kidd (5 points), and Richard Jefferson (5 points). Intermission: Nets 46 – Mavericks 40.
• Triple-double watch: Kidd 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists at the end of two. He is now 2 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists away from a triple-double.
• During several intangible “Kidd” plays during the second half, I was hollering, “2-6-5,” “2-6-6,” etc. Signifying the points, rebounds, and assists Kidd still needed to get in order to reach the not-so-elusive triple-double.
• Triple-double watch: Kidd 3 points, 2 rebounds, and 7 assists at the conclusion of the third quarter. Kidd now only needs 4 rebounds to reach the 100th triple-double of his productive career.
• Nets Head Coach Lawrence Frank sits Kidd down for three plus minutes to start the fourth quarter. I say, “Play him Coach. He might not be with you next week!”
• Kidd leaves the game with 1:33 left in the fourth after Dallas removes their starters. He adds 2 points and 2 assists to his totals and finishes with 13 points, 14 assists, and six rebounds. Destiny will have to wait for another day...
• Lastly, there was a Stromile Swift sighting! The former Memphis Grizzly had his first block and defensive rebound as a New Jersey Net.
• Final score: New Jersey 101 – Dallas 82
• I found out later that the Nets have historically had a difficult time against
the Dallas Mavericks. This truly was a treasured win as:
o The Nets won for only the fourth time in their last sixteen games.
o The win was only the Nets' fourth double-digit victory of the season.
Now playing: Michael Jackson - P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks.
Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks.
Current Mavericks owner Mark Cuban must have really been impressed with Kidd's performance in his Mavericks loss last Sunday (February 10, 2008) at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
Kidd finished with that contest with 13 points, 14 assists, and 6 rebounds (falling 4 caroms short of his 100th career triple-double); while orchestrating the Nets to a 20-4 run at the end of the first half.
By the time the smoke cleared, Kidd's (then) eight-place Nets beat the (then) Southwest division leading Dallas Mavericks 101-82.
Now, when the proposed blockbuster deal, which would send the soon-to-be 35 year-old Jason Kidd back to the team that originally drafted him in 1994, clears--Kidd will again be running the show for the Dallas Mavericks.
But this time, Kidd has an edge. Instead of making people like Jimmy Jackson, Jamal Mashburn, Roy Tarpley, and (current Mavericks player-development staff member) Ron "Popeye" Jones better; Kidd's new ensemble includes his new partner-in-crime Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard, Jason "The Jet" Terry, Eddie Jones, Juwan Howard, and (most likely returnee after the trade and buyout) Jerry Stackhouse.
This is a very old group with Kidd, Jones, Howard, and Stackhouse in their mid-thirties.
The window of opportunity is small.
But it's there.
Now the $100 million dollar question is--can the Mavericks take advantage of it?
New Jersey: Jason Kidd and Nets forward Malik Allen.
Dallas Mavericks: Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse, DeSagna Diop, Devean George, Maurice Ager, two future first-round picks (2008 and 2010), and $3 million dollars.
Now playing: Michael Jackson - Human Nature
Saturday, February 9, 2008
February 10, 2008.
Purchased tickets a couple of days ago for the afternoon game (thanks Hon!) featuring the New Jersey Nets versus the Dallas Mavericks game at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The last time I was there, roughly 22 months ago, it was still known as Continental Airlines Arena.
A lot has changed since. Aside from the renaming of the facility, the Nets are set relocate to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York by 2010. Former Denver Nuggets Kiki Vandeweghe is now part of the Nets front office (Did you know that Vandeweghe helped broker the deal for Kenyon Martin to move to Denver at the end of 03'-04'? And with the deteriorating condition of the knees of the latter, didn't Vandeweghe just help the Nets out with that one). Longtime Net Jason Collins (along with cash considerations) has relocated to Memphis in lieu of Stromile Swift. And of course the rumors that Vince "VC" Carter may be headed to Indiana for their injured star, Jermaine O'Neal. And Jason Kidd to a number of teams--among them--their opponent tomorrow, The Dallas Mavericks.
This is probably my last chance to watch "The Big Three" of Kidd, Carter, and Richard Jefferson for the last time before the February 21, 2008 NBA trading deadline.
It is my chance to say goodbye.
This may be the last game where the Nets will be running their vaunted Princeton Offense with "The Big Three." And despite their somewhat dismal (21-29) record in the Atlantic, they still show glimpses from time-to-time of the class that propelled them to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003.
This is also my opportunity to be apart of NBA History.
With Jason Kidd's 19-point, 11-rebound, and 13-assist effort for his 99th career triple-double in Nets' 104-90 win Friday nighthttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif against the Bobcats in Charlotte, Kidd has the chance to be only the third NBA player to amass triple-doubles in triple digits (with 100. Oscar Robertson is the all-time leader with 181, followed by Earvin "Magic" Johnson with 138) when his squad plays again the Mavericks tomorrow night.
Now I'm hoping for just that tomorrow.
It's a bit late, but congratulations to the 6'4'' Jason Kidd for surpassing the great Michael Jordan last February 2, 2008 for second place on the NBA career list of rebounds by a guard. Kidd began the game against the Hawks with 6,672 and finished with 6,682 to move past Jordan.
Now playing: Jars Of Clay - Crazy Times
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Jerry Stackhouse to the New Jersey Nets in a potential deal involving Jason Kidd and Devin Harris?
A possibility if both parties cooperate and crunch up the right figures.
Stackhouse being released and the Mavericks welcoming him back with open arms?
Yet another possibility, given Stackhouse's relationship with Mark Cuban and the Mavericks organization.
So right now, this is all said in a hypothetical tone.
Let's say it did happen, the trade goes through and the Nets were even nice enough to release Stackhouse on or before March 1, 2008 in order for him to still be eligible for the playoffs.
Wait! Wait! Wait!
Enter. The Gary Payton Rule.
The aforementioned rule is unofficially named after then Boston Celtic-Atlanta Hawk-Boston Celtic Gary Payton when he was moved a few years ago (2005) by Boston in order to re-acquire Employee #8 Antoine Walker (whom they chose not to resign anyway at the end of the season). The newly acquire point guard was immediately released by the Hawks and the next thing you know, three days later, Payton is back in Bean Town.
Now those leprechauns sure earn their pay over at Boston.
So back to the "Gary Payton Rule."
Since the summer of 2005, players who are traded and then waived by their new team are forced to wait 30 days before re-signing (while only a spell of 20 days during the off-season) with the team that had just let them go.
Now playing: Jars Of Clay - Mirrors & Smoke
Paul Gasol for Marc Gasol.
Marc, the younger of the Gasol brothers was the 48th overall pick in the 2007 draft. And though he is not yet playing in the NBA (Marc is playing for Akasvayu Girona in Spain.) The younger Gasol is four years younger and an inch taller (at 7-1, 280 lbs.) than his more famous All-Star sibling.
Even Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson found this aspect of the Pau Gasol trade amusing when he said, "that's something you haven't seen before."
The acquisition of 2002 NBA Rookie of the Year Pau Gasol (career averages of 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 476 career games with Vancouver and Memphis) by the Los Angeles Lakers tonight clearly gives their front line a shot in the arm upon the return of 20-year-old center Andrew Bynum (who injured his left knee last January 13 against...guess who? The Memphis Grizzlies).
This would give the Lakers a starting five of Fisher/Farmar at point, Kobe at the two, Odom at shooting forward, Gasol at power forward, and Bynum manning the middle.
It's like a big "thank you" prize by the Grizzlies.
"I'm sorry we injured your center. Here is our All-Star."
But I exaggerate.
The Grizzlies, amidst another losing season currently pegged at 13-33, wanted to clear cap space. Move their disgruntled forward. And it just so happened that the Lakers had the largest expiring contract currently in the league by the name of Kwame Brown.
Throw in fillers like rookie Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the rights to Marc Gasol, cash considerations, and two first-round draft picks (in 2008 and 2010) and Voia! You get Pau Gasol and a 2010 second-round selection.
Kobe Bryant is sure to love L.A. now more than ever after this deal.
"I have to take my hat off to (owner Jerry) Buss and Mitch for going forward with this," Bryant said. "Now it's up to us to go out there and work hard."
"Now it's time to walk the walk."
Walk the walk. Much like the Boston Celtics this season, the Lakers have no excuse to lose.
Now playing: Usher Raymond - Yeah! (Featuring Lil' Jon & Ludacris)