There was no migraine headache holding Jason Kidd out of the New Jersey Nets' loss to the New York Knicks Wednesday night, but a superstar sending a message to a floundering franchise that he's irate with management and teammates, several league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
As the Nets flew back to New Jersey late Tuesday from a victory over Cleveland, sources said Kidd already had decided he would be sitting out against the Knicks in the Meadowlands. Kidd didn't tell Nets officials until Wednesday afternoon, but several people inside and outside the organization were made aware of the meaning behind his sick day.
Kidd's agent, Jeff Schwartz, isn't believed to have formally demanded a trade, but Wednesday's bold act could be the precursor to starting that process. Two sources said Kidd has been a constant text messaging partner with LeBron James since playing with him this summer on Team USA and that the Cavaliers are his preferred destination.
"They've been communicating about the (trade) options that could get them together in Cleveland," one Eastern Conference official said.
As one Nets official confessed, Kidd's absence due to a purported migraine was "very suspicious." No one wanted to believe he would sit out a game in protest, but that's how bad it has become between Kidd and the longtime laughingstock that he delivered credibility to. He has no history of migraines with the Nets, and with the way he traditionally has loved to destroy the Knicks, the timing of a walkout left Nets officials deeply disturbed.
In an act of defiance that has been building for most of this season, Kidd, 34, has grown irritated over his belief that the franchise no longer is chasing greatness while his chance for a championship closes. He called out his teammates two weeks ago in Utah, just days after his bid for a contract extension was spurned by team president Rod Thorn. Right now, the Nets are 9-10 and going nowhere.
Thorn has praised Kidd for a "football player's" mentality when it comes to playing hurt, but the point guard privately is wondering how much more he wants to sacrifice his body for a team mired in mediocrity. So far this season, Kidd has played brilliantly for the Nets, second to Steve Nash with 10.4 assists. He performed with cracked ribs and a bad back a year ago, pushing the Nets past the Toronto Raptors in the opening round of the playoffs by averaging a triple-double.
Yet Kidd has been frustrated with some of his teammates' inability to stay on the floor and play through pain, especially Vince Carter. These days, everything about the Nets bothers Kidd. Everyone had to wonder Wednesday night: Could this have been the beginning of the end for Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets?
- Jason Kidd