Jason Kidd will have to wait another day, if not longer, before his wish to return to the Dallas Mavericks is fulfilled. The blockbuster trade between the New Jersey Nets and Mavericks is on hold after Dallas forward Devean George blocked the deal Wednesday, a source close to the negotiations said.
George does not want to participate in the trade because he would have to give up some of his free-agent rights.
"We're not trying to block anything,'' agent Mark Bartelstein told the Dallas Morning News. "But just like teams have to make tough decisions, my job is to protect Devean and sometimes we have to make tough decisions. Right now, he feels good about his situation in Dallas.
"The whole thing is uncomfortable. But this is a right Devean has.''
While Nets coach Lawrence Frank talked about Kidd in the past tense prior to New Jersey’s game in Toronto, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn’t sound as optimistic about the trade being finalized. According to the Morning News, Cuban was asked before the Mavericks game against the Portland Trail Blazers whether he thought the deal would be completed. “No, I don’t think so,” Cuban said.
Two league sources close to the negotiations said early Wednesday afternoon an agreement in principle has been reached between the Nets and Mavericks. After wavering for weeks, Dallas owner Mark Cuban has sacrificed some of his franchise’s future to chase a championship in the short term. The agreement would send five players, including point guard Devin Harris, and first round picks in 2008 and 2010, for the future Hall of Fame guard.
Kidd, who turns 35 next month, would go to Dallas with an unmistakable mandate: Bring a title for a team and career that are desperately seeking it. As part of the trade, the Mavericks would also send Jerry Stackhouse, Devean George, DeSagna Diop, Maurice Ager and $3 million to New Jersey. Along with Kidd, the Nets send reserve forward Malik Allen to the Mavs.
In a separate deal, the Nets would send guard Antoine Wright to Dallas for a future second-round pick and possibly other considerations, one source said.
For New Jersey, president Rod Thorn would get back the three elements he most wanted for Kidd: a good young player (Harris), expiring contracts (Diop and George) and draft picks. What’s more, the Nets plan to buyout the rest of Stackhouse’s contract. Stackhouse can become an immediate free agent, but must wait 30 days to re-sign with Dallas.
One league source expected Stackhouse to return to the Mavericks if the trade had been completed.
For the Nets, the trade would clear cap space next season. It will allow them to re-sign forward Nenad Krstic and start rebuilding the franchise after seven straight playoff appearances with Kidd. The Nets are still discussing a Vince Carter-Jermaine O’Neal trade with the Indiana Pacers, but two sources close to those discussions placed odds below 50 percent. According to one source, the Nets have gone so far as talking to O’Neal’s doctors in Indiana about the state of his troubled knee.
Despite Cuban’s public dismissals, the talks between the two teams were restarted on Sunday when the Mavericks lost to the Nets in New Jersey. After watching the Lakers and Suns make moves for Pau Gasol and Shaquille O’Neal, the Mavericks could no longer sit on the sidelines. There was an element of toughness and leadership that had been missing in Dallas, and team officials believe Kidd transforms them. Immediately, this trade solidifies the Mavericks, who are 34-17 and holding the third spot in the Western Conference playoff, as a serious championship contender.
When motivated, Kidd can still play the point-guard position at the highest level. He desperately wanted this trade and Nets officials knew that they could no longer function as a franchise until they honored his wishes.