MEMPHIS, Tenn., Feb. 22 (AP) - Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points and Jason Kidd had 15 assists on Friday night to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 98-83 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Jason Terry finished with 22 points for Dallas, going 9-of-15 from the field, while Josh Howard added 20 points. Nowitzki missed only one of his nine shots in the game, while shooting 10-of-12 from the free-throw line.
Rudy Gay led Memphis with 18 points, while Hakim Warrick had 15 points and nine rebounds. Kyle Lowry finished with 12 points, Mike Conley added 11 and Javaris Crittenton had 10 points.
Dallas had lost four straight road games, but a stop in Memphis can cure most road woes.
The Mavericks, who have won 11 straight regular season games in the series, took a double-digit lead in the first quarter, led by 20 in the first half, and extended it to 26 after the break.
Friday, February 22, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Feb. 22 (AP) - Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points and Jason Kidd had 15 assists on Friday night to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 98-83 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Posted by Art Garcia at 11:06 PM
HEAD COACH AVERY JOHNSON
On Jason Kidd: “He was awfully good in getting the ball up the floor in transition, down half-court. When we had the set up in half court and broke the defense down. He was just special in the way he was passing the ball tonight.”
On the way the Mavericks play with Jason Kidd: “We still had 21 turnovers, but 32 assists, that’s pretty good for us. We’ll take that. If we can cut down on some of the turnovers…even the passing was contagious, [Erick] Dampier was passing the ball and throwing it to Dirk [Nowitzki] on the break. That was a highlight for us. More than anything, it really wasn’t about playing against another team tonight as much as it was about us trying to figure out what works and some things we need to eliminate. Like I said all along, we just need to practice, play some games and get more and more stuff on video so that we can continue in this process of trying to get this team headed in the right direction.”
On the different player combinations the Mavericks have: “We liked Devean George at point-forward, especially when he’s playing with JET [Jason Terry]. He does a nice job for us there. We came in tonight wanting to play eight, no more than nine players and we were able to do that. Juwan [Howard] gave us a big life. But, when the game got tight we weren’t going to win this game without Josh’s [Howard] defense. Josh’s defense tonight won the game for us and after that [Jason] Kidd’s assists. Josh is really special on defense.”
MAVERICKS GUARD JASON TERRY (22 points, 6 rebounds)
On the Mavericks’ point guards: Devean [George] a good solid ball-handler. At the same time, if anything happens he could still come back in there and run the point and still make good decisions. It’s good to have Devean George with the ability to play the point. We like the team we have now. We’re deep at all positions.”
On Jason Kidd: “The first night he was really just trying to get his feet wet. Tonight, he really came out very assertive. He was decisive and knew who he wanted to get the ball to. He looked like he found his rhythm. That’s the Kidd we know. We know it’s going to take a game of practice before he got comfortable, but tonight he looked good.”
On the Mavericks: “We feel like we’re one of the elite teams in the Western Conference. The sky’s the limit for us.”
MAVERICKS GUARD JASON KIDD (2 points, 15 assists)
On adjusting to his role with the Mavericks: “It’s about making the game as easy as possible and finding guys’ sweet spots. So they don’t have to put it on the floor or adjust the ball and just catch it and shoot it. You saw that a lot tonight. For me, it’s just about asking guys if they want me to put your head up, do they want me to go long and go from there. We’re playing catch up. I want to make sure I understand what they’re thinking. I have to ask them what they want. It’s just going to take time. We’ve have two good practices. We’ve only had two practices. At the rate we’re building, it’s going to take a little time but we’re going to get better.”
On his comfort level tonight: “I was a little more comfortable tonight just to play basketball. Leading up to that first game it had been a bit of a circus. Now I can concentrate on the game of basketball. That’s what I have to do. I’m going to try to execute Coach’s game plan and do my job.”
MAVERICKS FORWARD DIRK NOWITZKI (27 points, 6 points)
On Jason Kidd: “He’s a great passer. That’s really what he brings to this team…He pushes the ball. He’s always ready for the ball. When he’s in the air and he looks like he’s got nowhere to go he throws a crosscourt pass to wide open shooters. That’s why he’s one of the best passers this league has ever seen.”
Posted by Art Garcia at 11:04 PM
Thursday, February 21, 2008
It’s been quite a week. The day after J-Kidd joined the Mavs family, we had our own J-Kid join the Garcia clan. So here the stats on Jakob Dave Garcia: Checked into the game of life at 4:14 pm on February 20, 2008 in Arlington, TX ; Height: 20 inches (or about half as tall as JJ Barea); Weight: 7 pounds, 12 ounces; Other: Full head of black hair and chubby cheeks.
Posted by Art Garcia at 1:52 PM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 20 (AP) -- Chris Paul had 31 points, 11 assist and a career-high nine steals, spoiling Jason Kidd's debut with Dallas and lifting the New Orleans Hornets to a 104-93 victory over the Mavericks on Wednesday night.
Kidd, acquired Tuesday from New Jersey, looked out of sorts at times, committing six turnovers.
Meanwhile, Paul's dazzling performance on both ends of the floor had the enraptured crowd on its feet, raining down chants of "M-V-P!'' for their own All-Star point guard while a banner offering similar sentiments flapped from the upper deck.
Kidd, who had practiced only twice with his new team, finished with eight points and five assists.
While Paul dribbled surgically through Dallas' defense, Peja Stojakovic and Bobby Jackson shot with precision from the perimeter, combining for eight of the Hornets' 10 3-pointers as the Hornets won their fifth straight.
Stojakovic made three 3-pointers and finished with 18 points, while Jackson hit five and wound up with 17 points. David West also scored 18 for New Orleans, despite playing with foul trouble in the second half.
Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 31 points. Reserve Jason Terry scored 14 points and Erick Dampier added 11.
Posted by Art Garcia at 11:23 PM
About the game: “We’re in a transition period. They made some great passes. Some of the times guys weren’t getting to the ball. We just don’t have a lot of time, but at the same time we will use every practice and every game for everybody to get on the same page for everybody to get used to playing with (Jason) Kidd. We had some breakdowns defensively that we don’t normally have. That’s because we got some guys who are starting to figure out how to play with one another. We had some pick and roll situations with our terminology. We had on crash course practice yesterday to get this figured out.”
On the Hornets shooting: “We had some breakdown on our pick and rolls defensively covering the post and because of that they made us pay and shot the ball really well. All of our mistakes are correctable, but at the same time you’re looking at a great player like Chris Paul who’s playing at the top of his game on everyone. We did a little bit of everything to try to stop him. Sometimes we went under the pick and rolls and sometimes we went over and sometimes we tried something different. We tried to trap him, we couldn’t do that. He beat the trap and made some nice passes. He got steals on us tonight, nine steals, that’s a lot of steals. He was an outstanding player tonight. He played really well.”
On his first game: “I caused a couple of breakdowns. We had one practice (together). We can build on this. I have some bad habits. I just have to make some adjustments and look at the game and try and improve and keep getting the feel of everybody and have a good practice tomorrow.”
On if this game was any different than other games: “They’re all different. I have been in this situation before. I was just trying to get guys the ball instead of just being aggressive. It’s a lesson learned. Dirk (Nowitzki) had a great game. You look at the other side (the Hornets), they made some threes. Chris Paul had a great game. He ran the show for them. They’re tough to beat. That’s why they’re the number one team in the West right now.”
On the game: “One game, one practice with Jason is not going to mesh overnight. You need to turn the page and get ready for the next game. They had a great shooting game tonight (the Hornets).”
On how he is feeling: “I’m still sore. I wasn’t expecting to be as sore as I was.”
On playing with Jason Kidd: “I haven’t had anybody throw me a lob in a long time and I just went up and got it.”
Posted by Art Garcia at 11:19 PM
Jason Kidd met the Dallas media after being traded from the Nets to the Mavericks in an eight-player deal on Tuesday. Kidd was joined by Mark Cuban, Avery Johnson, Donnie Nelson, Malik Allen and Antoine Wright.
Nelson: “The popular sentiment out there is that this is a reaction. It’s not. The discussions actually started taking place before any other deals were done. This is all about us looking internally at our team and seeing what gives our best chance to win a championship. And this is pretty much the long and short of it. Jason, as you guys know, there’s a difference between aspiring young players and All-Stars and there’s another level from All-Stars and Hall of Famers and one of the greatest players to ever play his position. And I think those are the kinds of discussions we internally had to make this decision”
Posted by Art Garcia at 7:16 AM
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Don’t think I forgot about the other two guys in all the excitement. I had a chance to sit down with both Antoine Wright and Malik Allen earlier today before the afternoon press conference.
Must admit I have a soft spot for Wright since we’re both Aggies. Allen seems like a great guy, too. You can tell he is a pro’s pro.
How was the last week for you emotionally?
“It was a little weird to keep going back and forth like that. It’s frustrating when you had to sit out a game and sit out a practice. Once I got word it was finally going to go through, of course I was excited about the opportunity to play here, be back in Texas and play for a contending team. That’s a great feeling.”
Having played at Texas A&M, Donnie Nelson was very familiar with you. Did you follow the Mavs over the last couple years?
“Not really. We only played them twice a year, so you only concentrate on the team that you play for and the conference you’re in, so I hadn’t been following the team that much, but I obviously knew how good they are.”
How do you envision your role here?
“This year has been very exciting for me. I started off playing really well before I had a couple injury setbacks. I was able to get back on track before the All-Star break. It was exciting to get some minutes. Coming here, Coach Avery likes players that are tough and play hard. After a have practices under my belt and he sees what I can do, I think they’ll be room for me.”
Do you see defense as your way to get on the court, especially playing for Avery Johnson?
“Him and Frank are similar in that aspect in they believe in playing tough defense and getting stops.”
Good to be back in Texas?
“A lot of my friends have already called when they heard my name was in the trade.”
How has your mindset changed coming from New Jersey to Dallas?
“It’s different for us coming from the type of team we were on. We were struggling a little but, it’s exciting to be on a team with a winning tradition that’s a contender.”
And how was your last week?
“After things being so close and falling apart a little bit, I basically took the mentality that whatever is going to happen will happen. Coming out of the weekend, it seemed as things were resurfacing and the talks pretty strong, so I took the approach that we’re going to wind up in Dallas. I’m excited to be here. It’s almost like an honor to come to a situation like this. You play the game to be on a contending team and have a chance to win a championship, and here we are.”
With this team losing Gana, there is only one true center on the roster. You’re going to be in a position, along with Juwan and Brandon, to back up Damp and Dirk.
“Just looking at the roster and the situation that’s exactly what’s going to happen. DeSagana did a lot for them defensively as far as being a presence at center. He was also good on the offensive end with his rebounding and length. We can’t be him, obviously. We have to contribute in other ways. It’s going to be a challenge, especially with the bigs in the West. That’s why you play the games.”
You’re known as a pick-and-pop guy. Is that how you see yourself fitting in offensively?
“We all have to play to our strengths. When you’re a team, everybody has to step up. I’ve got to play my game and be confident.”
What does Jason bring to this team that it may have been missing in the past?
“Obviously, there’s 99 triple-doubles. He knows the game in-and-out as well as any coach out there. When you have that experience on the floor, and with the talent this team has, it adds a different dimension. Devin is fast and he can guard and has a lot of tenacity, but Jason has been to the Finals twice and he knows what going to the Finals is about. He brings that leadership presence to the locker room and guys respond. When you see him out there playing hard, guys follow suit. Those are the things that are invaluable to a team.”
Any adjustment coming for Avery and Jason?
“They’ll be meshing pretty quickly.”
Posted by Art Garcia at 11:27 PM
Josh Howard is penciled in as a starter against the Hornets after missing the last two games before the break with a lower back injury. Jerry Stackhouse has missed the last four games with a strained hamstring, but he’s been upgraded to questionable. Both practiced Tuesday.
Posted by Art Garcia at 10:34 PM
Though it wasn’t the major reason for the trade, the Mavs front office admitted the team needed a shake up. Something just wasn’t right this season.
Some called it a mental hangover for the playoffs. Others went with complacency for a team that’s won at least 52 games the last seven seasons. Injuries played a part. In any case, a change was needed.
“Overall, the consistency was missing a little bit this year for whatever reason,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “Last year down the stretch, we just knew we were going to get that stop, going to get that score to win those close games. For some reason or another we didn’t have that this year.
“All those close games, especially on the East Coast, we didn’t find ways to win. It’s a new situation and sometimes it’s the best thing to start over fresh.”
Josh Howard had his own explanation for the some of the head-scratching trends. The Mavs are 12-11 against the Eastern Conference and 12-15 on the road.
“The NBA has gotten better,” he said. “Easy wins that we were used to getting didn’t come so easy no more. Players have gotten better, teams have gotten better, so I think that was the difference.”
Posted by Art Garcia at 10:31 PM
The loss of Gana Diop severely alters the center rotation. Diop started during significant stretches the last three seasons, though his playing time lately had been limited.
In any event, he’s a 7-footer with an ability to block shots and rebound. Since those guys don’t just grow on trees, the Mavs will make do for now with Juwan Howard, Malik Allen and Brandon Bass backing up Erick Dampier. Neither of the aforementioned three is taller than 6-10.
“We can’t allow as much penetration, especially with our second unit because we’re going to be a little smaller with Malik and Bass and Juwan in there,” Avery Johnson said. “We’re going to have to play it a little bit differently, scramble a little bit more, but we’re going to have to do a better job with dribble penetration because Diop is not going to be back there to alter a lot of those shots.”
Johnson added that more is needed from Dampier, who is averaging 7.0 rebounds and 5.5 points.
“When Damp gets double-doubles for us, we think we can be an awfully good team,” Johnson said.
The front office is in the market for another big body, but Donnie Nelson admits the pickings are slim. Though a trade is possible before Thursday’s deadline, the most likely option is signing a free agent. The team still has its mid-level exception.
Posted by Art Garcia at 10:29 PM
Jason Kidd’s first practice is in the books. The late-afternoon workout Tuesday – pushed back because of the eight-player trade and subsequent press conference – gave Kidd, Malik Allen and Antoine Wright a crash course in Mavericks basketball.
“It’s kind of like your first day of school or first day of training camp, just trying to catch on,” Kidd said. “We have 29 games left, so most of the guys were great in helping us new guys with the plays. Coach explained it extremely well, so we’ll do some studying tonight and see how our first test goes tomorrow.”
Kidd will be in the starting lineup Wednesday night at New Orleans as the Mavs get back to business. The All-Star break was a “weird” time for the team and those publicly involved in trade talks over the last week.
Getting back on the court was a welcome sight, even if the first practice back usually doesn’t go so great. Considering the circumstances and having three new players to integrate, Avery Johnson was all smiles.
“More than anything, the energy was great,” he said. “We had some really, really positive energy. And guys ran hard. We didn’t make every shot and we didn’t complete every pass, but guys really ran hard and the new guys, they all, for the most part, just know how to play.
“Even though we have some different calls than what they had in Jersey, they were able to catch on pretty fast. Even though we didn’t give them the whole playbook, we hope actually to cut down on some of our plays. It was a good first day.”
The day was also bittersweet, with Devin Harris, Gana Diop, Moe Ager and Trenton Hassell shipped to New Jersey.
“I’m excited the whole deal is finally done,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “We got so far and deep into it there was really no way back. It’s definitely a great day, but it’s a sad day to see those teammates go. I’ll always consider Gana as one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever had in my career. I love Devin, so it’s tough to see those guys go.”
Josh Howard echoed those sentiments: “I’m going to miss Devin. He’s one of my best teammates, as well as Gana and Moe. It’s sad to see them go, but it’s a business. We picked up a helluva player in Jason. It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to getting out on the court with him tomorrow.”
Having one of the best decision-making and mentally-tough point guards in the game should lead to easier baskets across the board and pick up the tempo. Nowitzki couldn’t help but flashback to Steve Nash when talking about Kidd.
“With me playing with Nash for so many years, some of the passes you just took for granted,” Nowitzki said. “Over the last couple years, those looks just weren’t there. It’s going to be great to get the ball when you’re open in the right situation. He’s one of the best at doing that.”
Howard has become a capable jump shooter over the last couple years, but even he salivates at the thought of Kidd lobbing it up at the rim.
“It’s something I did in college,” Howard said. “Hopefully, I still got it.”
Kidd, Allen and Wright went over the team’s offensive and defensive sets with player development coach Popeye Jones on Tuesday morning’s flight from New Jersey. Kidd doesn’t expect a long transition.
“I’m comfortable already, so it’s just a matter of me getting familiar with some of the guys, knowing where they like to catch the ball, helping them understand that the ball is coming at some point and then go from there,” he said.
Has he noticed any tendencies from his new teammates?
“The only tendency that I know Dirk has is he can shoot it,” Kidd said with a smile. “If he doesn’t have the ball, he can’t shoot it. Josh is a great talent. He can get his own shot at any time, so can Dirk.”
The Hornets, led by a pair of All-Stars in Chris Paul and David West, are leading the Southwest Division and Western Conference. New Orleans and Dallas have split two meetings this season,
“We’re going to be walking into a buzz saw,” Johnson said. “We’re going to have to play. Some things are going to have to come together pretty quick between now and tomorrow night at 7 o’clock.”
Posted by Art Garcia at 8:10 PM
Josh Howard on the trade:
“I’m going to miss Devin. He’s one of my best teammates, as well as Gana and Moe. It’s sad to see them go, but it’s a business. We picked up a helluva player in Jason. It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to getting out on the court with him tomorrow.”
“It’s a different vibe than we’re used to. We picked up three new guys that bring a lot of energy and a lot of experience, and we’re going to need that going into the playoffs.”
On his back (he expects to play tomorrow at New Orleans):
“It’s better. It’s still sore.”
On Kidd getting comfortable:
“It’s going to take time and practice, but hopefully we can pick it up quick.”
On the inconsistency this season:
“The NBA has gotten better. Easy wins that we were used to getting didn’t come so easy no more. Players have gotten better, teams have gotten better, so I think that was the difference.”
On getting easy baskets on the break with Kidd:
“It’s something I did in college. Hopefully I still got it.”
On possibly giving up No. 5:
“I didn’t get a phone call.”
Posted by Art Garcia at 7:44 PM
Mavs.com caught up with Dirk Nowitzki just after the press conference and before practice:
What’s this experience been like for you?
“I’m excited the whole deal is finally done. We got so far and deep into it there was really no way back. It’s definitely a great day, but it’s a sad day to see those teammates go. I’ll always consider Gana as one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever had in my career. I love Devin, so it’s tough to see those guys go.”
What does Kidd bring to the table?
“It should be fun. He’ll speed the game up for us and just make the game a lot easier. It’s hopefully going to open up the game for us. It’s great for Josh and me, and gets Jet off the ball more.”
Is it championship or bust?
“The window is now. If it doesn’t happen this year, we can look at another window maybe next year. That’s how you’ve got to look at it. Our chance is now to be a great team and go all the way, and that’s the move we needed to make.”
What about Malik Allen and Antoine Wright?
“I’m sure the three guys are going to fit in great. We’ve always had great chemistry here.”
Posted by Art Garcia at 4:58 PM
President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson catches up with mavs.com on the trade:
Reasoning behind the deal.
“Plain and simple, this gives us the best chance to win a championship. That’s really what it comes down to. It wasn’t based on anything else or what other people were doing. It was the right time to make a move based on the internal needs of our team.”
How strange have the last six days been?
“This is hands down the most unique transaction that I’ve ever been involved in. Ever.”
What is it about Jason Kidd?
“Anyone who had ever played with Jason knows he’s the ultimate winner. There isn’t anything he won’t do to put his team in position to win. Not just the obvious statistical accolades, but the intangibles are what make him special.”
“We’ve got a quarterback now. It’s very difficult to achieve your goals in this league without a true quarterback and Jason is one of the best all-time.”
“He’s one of the fiercest competitors in the history of the game. His toughness and his ability to take a team to the Finals, like he did in New Jersey, are pretty remarkable.”
Worried about his age?
“If you look at his production, it hasn’t dropped off that much. His body looks great. Obviously, you’re different at 35 than you are at 25, but there hasn’t been a significant drop-off. Maybe he was sipping from the same water cooler as Darrell Armstrong. He’s a unique physical specimen.”
Tell me about Malik Allen and Antoine Wright.
“We feel they have the potential to be contributors. With Antoine, he can play the 2 and 3, he’s athletic and defensively he can be an impact player. We’re familiar with him from his days at Texas A&M and the Global Games. Malik Allen is a nice frontline piece that can make an outside shot. All the guys that we got in this transaction are quality young men.”
How does this make Avery Johnson’s job easier?
“Avery is not going to have to dictate every play. He’s going to make Avery’s job easier. He’s going to make Dirk’s job easier. He’s a perfect running mate for Jet. He straightens out the rotation in many respects. Never underestimate the ability of a superstar.”
How tough is it emotionally losing Devin Harris and Gana Diop?
“We owe an incredible debt to all players that we’re losing. They were a huge part of our success. Devin is going to be a star in the future. There is no question about it. We’re going to miss Gana, too. This is the toughest part of our business. Those are two young guys with extremely bright futures. We wish them nothing but the best. Mavs fans and family owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
Posted by Art Garcia at 4:42 PM
Here are Avery Johnson’s thoughts from earlier today:
What does bringing Jason Kidd mean to this franchise?
“We’re ready to move forward. There are no guarantees with anything that you do. Had we not made a move, no guarantees. This deal, no guarantees, but I tell you what, we’ve got one of the best in the game at the point guard position. We know him. We know he’s not as young as he used to be, but at the age that he is now, he’s still one of the top point in the game and it’s worth every chance you have to take.”
Talk about his game.
“He’s an experienced quarterback. He’s been through a lot of big games, he’s been through a lot of playoff games, he’s strong, he’s durable, he’s big and he has a high basketball IQ. We don’t have a big window in our minds with this team. Just like San Antonio and Phoenix and the Lakers and Houston, lots of teams on down the line, it’s a short window. Some teams younger may have a bigger window, but we’ve just have a small window. We’ve had some success over the last two years, one year more in the regular season and another year in the playoffs, and that’s what we’re looking at.”
When you took this job, you said you wanted to bring an NBA championship to Dallas. Does this get you closer?
“We feel like a lot of the teams that I’ve mentioned that we were in the red zone. That’s my whole deal. Did we move from the 20-yard line to the 15? We feel we have, but in that red zone it’s tough. That’s all you can do. The competition is tough. At the end of the day and in the playoffs and for this last half of the season, you have to have great players that can make great plays. We feel we have a great player.”
What does this mean for Dirk and Josh and Jet and the other guys in your locker room?
“It means an awful lot, but let’s give those guys credit for what they’ve done to this point. I think they’re going to enjoy it, but they are good in their own right. We’re hoping with Kidd that they can do to even another level.”
Is trading players you’re close to the hardest part of the job?
“Everybody is excited about it, but it’s hard with Devin and Diop. Gana introduced me to Africa and Devin was like a son and a little brother. It’s not easy doing these deals, especially when you’re pretty tied to young guys.”
Posted by Art Garcia at 3:12 PM
A limo brought Jason Kidd and the newest Mavericks to American Airlines Center after landing at Love Field on Mark Cuban’s private plane early Tuesday afternoon. Kidd met with Avery Johnson before doing this first interview in Dallas. He sat down with Mavs.com before his introductory press conference and first practice.
Kidd discussed his title hopes, his career and his new teammates. He also talked about his first stint in Dallas in the mid-1990s, when he played alongside Jamal Mashburn and Jimmy Jackson to form the short-lived Three J’s.
Kidd is wearing No. 2 for a couple reasons. It not only symbolizes a second chance with the Mavs, but in a strange way it looks like his old No. 5. (He added that he wasn’t about to ask Josh Howard to change numbers.)
Talk about your emotions after this trade finally went down.
“I was excited to have this opportunity, this second opportunity, to come back, just because I thought the first time around it wasn’t a fair shot. The average age [of that team] might have been 22, 23 years old. We were a lot of fun to watch, but we just didn’t understand how to win. And now understanding the fourth quarter, and six minutes left in the game, how to win, gives me a better opportunity and wisdom to help the Mavericks win.”
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 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.”
How much did you want to play with Dirk?
“He’s one of the top players in this league. He’s the MVP. It shows his ability to play at a high level and when you have guys like that on a team, it brings everybody up to another level. Being around him, I can only hope that rubs off on me and he can elevate my game to another level.”
Are you looking forward to throwing some of those lobs to Josh?
“I’m not sure where to throw them yet, but if they get up there, it’s up to them to catch it. They have the hardest part. If it’s not a lob, I’ll still find a way to get them the ball.”
How do you look back at your first run through Dallas?
“We made mistakes on and off the court. Being 21 and asked to carry a franchise, there is no class in college for that. You’re asking, 22, 23 and 21 [year olds] to somehow turn around a team that had struggled for so long and we had success. The first year we were right outside the playoff picture and we felt we were going in the right direction. Anytime there is a sale of a professional franchise, trouble arises because people are traded and management changes. A lot of that happened. Then we started to break apart due to outside influences and were never able to recover. Injuries played a part and we played without Jimmy for a long time, but if you ask the three of us if we could do it all over again, we would probably take a different path and not listen to the outside influences.”
How has the franchise changed since you left?
“You look at Don Carter, the Perots and then Cuban took over. Cuban gave it life. You would see him on TV sitting in the upper deck with those fans and showing his commitment to the people of Dallas. I was playing here when the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls and everyone was a Cowboys fan. And then the Stars were starting to have success. Fans are loyal to their sports franchises, so it’s just a matter of getting that winning attitude. We were inconsistent with it, so when he took over it showed his commitment and the people followed.”
Posted by Art Garcia at 2:43 PM
Jason Kidd, Malik Allen and Antoine Wright will be introduced at a 3 p.m. press conference here at American Airlines Center. Joining the newest Mavericks will be owner Mark Cuban, coach Avery Johnson and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson.
Check in with mavs.com throughout the afternoon for the latest news and interviews with all those involved in the blockbuster trade.
Posted by Art Garcia at 12:35 PM
Jason Kidd returns to the Mavericks with the singular focus that drove the latest trade to shake the NBA. It’s all about a title.
“That’s all I want – to win a championship,” Kidd said Tuesday shortly after arriving in Dallas. “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.”
You knew the trade was coming. You just didn’t know how it was going to get there. Just like one of his trademark passes, the Kidd trade was delivered in unexpected fashion.
The eight-time All-Star point guard returns to the franchise of his NBA birth after the eight-player deal with New Jersey was finally consummated Tuesday morning. After six days of twists and turns, the Mavs dealt Devin Harris, Gana Diop, Trenton Hassell, Moe Ager, Keith Van Horn, a pair of draft picks and cash to acquire Kidd, Malik Allen and Antoine Wright from New Jersey.
The Mavs re-signed Van Horn, who hasn’t played since the 2006 Finals, to make the deal work financially. To make room for Van Horn, rookie forward Nick Fazekas was waived.
“This is hands down the most unique transaction that I’ve ever been involved in,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “Ever.”
Added owner Mark Cuban: “It’s been the most amazing, interesting trade we’ve ever done, and we’ve done some doozies.”
The Kidd deal is the latest in a series of blockbusters that reshaped the stout Western Conference. The Lakers were the first to strike, acquiring Pau Gasol from Memphis. Phoenix followed suit with a high-risk, high-reward swap of Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks for Miami’s Shaquille O’Neal.
“We don’t have a big window in our minds with this team,” coach Avery Johnson said. “Just like San Antonio and Phoenix and the Lakers and Houston, lots of teams on down the line, it’s a short window. Some teams younger may have a bigger window, but we’ve just have a small window.”
Johnson said Kidd will help close games and the series strong, and, hopefully, playoff series. Johnson also looks forward to sharing a point guard-coach relationship like the one he enjoyed with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
The Spurs won their first title with the fiery Johnson running the show. Dirk Nowitzki feels Kidd adds similar intangibles and, if the Mavs are going to scale those heights, the time was right for a change.
“The window is now,” Nowitzki said. “If it doesn’t happen this year, we can look at another window maybe next year. That’s how you’ve got to look at it. Our chance is now to be a great team and go all the way, and that’s the move we needed to make.”
The Mavs have insisted that those deals didn’t pressure a response. The addition of Kidd fortifies the point guard position and adds a top-flight distributor to pair with Nowitzki, Josh Howard and Jason Terry. Kidd, Allen and Wright will be in uniform when the Mavs (35-18) resume the season Wednesday at Southwest Division-leading New Orleans.
“Plain and simple, this gives us the best chance to win a championship,” said Nelson, adding that the talks began before the other trades were announced. “That’s really what it comes down to. It wasn’t based on anything else or what other people were doing. It was the right time to make a move based on the internal needs of our team.”
The Mavs haven’t had an All-Star caliber point guard since Steve Nash. Harris, 24, was in the midst of a career-best season (14.4 points and 5.3 assists) before injuring his left ankle in late January, but Kidd presented a chance to get a potential Hall-of-Famer.
“He’s an experienced quarterback,” Johnson said. “He’s been through a lot of big games, he’s been through a lot of playoff games, he’s strong, he’s durable, he’s big and he has a high basketball IQ.”
Kidd, 34, is averaging 11.3 points, 10.4 assists (third in the league) and 8.1 rebounds this season. He’s a member of Team USA and widely considered one of the best all-time at his position.
“Mentally and physically I feel that I can do the things I did when I first came into the league,” said Kidd, who will wear No. 2. “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.”
Allen (6-10, 255) has played for four teams in his seven-year career. The Villanova product has averaged 5.9 points and 3.2 rebounds during that span. Texas A&M product Wright (6-7, 215) adds another swingman to the rotation with Hassell’s departure, and is averaging 7.3 points in 41 games this season.
“Plain and simple, this gives us the best chance to win a championship,” Nelson said. “That’s really what it comes down to. It wasn’t based on anything else or what other people were doing. It was the right time to make a move based on the internal needs of our team.”
Diop (7-0, 280) spent his 2 ½ seasons with the Mavs as part of the center tandem with Erick Dampier. Hassell, a veteran shooting guard acquired during training camp from Minnesota, has played sparingly in his first season in Dallas. Ager, a second-year guard, has shuttled between the Mavs and the NBDL.
“We owe an incredible debt to all players that we’re losing,” Nelson said. “They were a huge part of our success. Devin is going to be a star in the future. There is no question about it. We’re going to miss Gana, too. This is the toughest part of our business. Those are two young guys with extremely bright futures. We wish them nothing but the best. Mavs fans and family owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
Kidd concluded his run with New Jersey by representing the Nets on the Eastern Conference team in Sunday’s All-Star Game. Besides his obvious on-court gifts, Kidd’s mental toughness and leadership are qualities coveted by the Mavs front office. He has 99 career triple-doubles, the third most in NBA history.
Kidd was drafted by the Mavs with the second overall pick in 1994. He split Rookie of the Year honors with Grant Hill, but his stay in Dallas was short. Kidd was traded to Phoenix the day after Christmas in 1996 for Michael Finley, Sam Cassell and A.C. Green. The Suns dealt him to New Jersey in the 2001 offseason. He led the Nets to the Finals in 2002 and ’03.
He can’t wait to get back and finish the job.
“It’s been a successful career,” Kidd said. “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.”
Posted by Art Garcia at 10:05 AM
Monday, February 18, 2008
Is the latest incarnation of the Jason Kidd trade on the doorstep? You be the judge. Here are a few stories with their version on the latest developments:
ESPN.com: "Nets, Mavs appear closer to finishing redone Kidd trade"
SI.com: "Van Horn agrees to terms"
Dallasnews.com: "Dallas Mavericks' deal for Kidd now up to NBA"
Posted by Art Garcia at 10:50 PM
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Jason Kidd appears headed back to Dallas, according to reports out of New Orleans. For those of you familiar with the old deal, this revised trade replaces Jerry Stackhouse and Devean George with Trenton Hassell and Keith Van Horn.
Posted by Art Garcia at 10:54 PM
Since the wife and I are awaiting the arrival of Son No. 1 any day now -- that's why I'm not in the Big Easy -- I'm following the All-Star festivities from the comfort of my living room and this laptop. Sure, it's not around-the-clock coverage from Bourbon Street, but for someone who's been to plenty of All-Star Games, this ain't a bad place to be right now.
Anyway, I'd thought I'd give you a couple links to pass the time. If you're up on your Mavs, you've probably come across these already. If not, enjoy.
Posted by Art Garcia at 8:38 AM