Jason Kidd got what he wanted from the New Jersey Nets: a chance to no longer be a part of the New Jersey Nets.
Now a member of the Dallas Mavericks, Kidd can't seem to move on from his days as a Net.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Kidd wanted to make one thing clear: Despite insinuations from Nets president Rod Thorn, he did not quit on the Nets.
"I didn't quit on the team," Kidd told the Daily News. "At the end of the day, I gave everything that I could give to the Nets. There were no more rabbits that I could pull out of the hat. There were no more rabbits that Rod [Thorn] could pull out of a hat. That is as far as they could go. I took them as high as I could."
Chances are, that assessment is only partially true.
Jason Kidd has been and continues to be one of the greatest point guards of this generation, and he was definitively not the problem throughout his time in the Swamp. He did make the players around him better, and he did put up some incredible efforts during his six and a half seasons with the team.
He took this team to the Finals twice and did quite a bit to keep pushing them forward in the latter portion of his tenure. So it is at least possible that he took the Nets as high as he could.
But that doesn't mean that he didn't quit on the Nets. Which is exactly what he ultimately did.All of Steve's daily posts can be found in the CelticsBlog: NBA blog. Check him out!
To his credit, it always seemed that Jason Kidd was putting on if nothing else a considerable (if not his best) effort when he was on the basketball court in a New Jersey Nets uniform. Perhaps there is something to be said for that, although there shouldn't be too many brownie points awarded simply for doing what one is employed to do and -- gasp -- attempting to do it well at that.
But what Kidd doesn't seem to realize here is that there are different ways to quit on people. Quitting on a basketball team doesn't necessarily have to require physical loafing. It doesn't mean Kidd needed to start throwing bounce passes to defenders for lay-ups in the wrong direction. Basketball has a mental component, too.
And the moment Jason Kidd was willing to tell the press that "We tried to make this work. We've found out it doesn't. It's time for us all to move on," it was clear that for all intents and purposes, Kidd's mind was made up. He had done exactly what he now claims he never did: He quit on his basketball team.
It is one thing to be a bit discontented with one's team, and it is dangerous enough from a mental standpoint to go to management with a trade demand behind closed doors. Those, however, at least focus more on possibly greener pastures elsewhere than the idea that all hope can be abandoned on the home front.
But once a star player is willing to go to the press with his desire to leave, he makes himself perfectly clear to his teammates: You're not good enough for me. Once Jason Kidd was willing to tell the media that he and the Nets had tried and failed, it was clear that he was finished being a true part of the team in Jersey. He made it clear that he wasn't talking about an ongoing process but one that had been attempted and failed.
Jason Kidd was done really trying and really caring right then if not before, and he sent an impossible-to-misinterpret message to his teammates that they could just as well be done, too. He made the type of statement that can demoralize a team, and he made it because he was done with that team.
Jason Kidd is a great basketball player and will likely continue to be so for a few season more. He dealt with plenty of adverse conditions in New Jersey, and through most of it, he fought through and remained upbeat as he worked to make this Nets team as good as it could possibly be.
But when all was said and done, he quit on that Nets team.
Which means that it is time for Jason Kidd to grin and bear the negative characterizations of himself coming from the fans and media, and then it will be time for him to move on as a Dallas Maverick.