Mark Cuban seems to be all full of good cheer these days. Earlier on Monday, our Dan Devine relayed that Cuban wouldn’t mind looking into the possible benefits of Human Growth Hormones as utilized by NBA players, and we’re here to tell you that Cuban is also letting one lingering feud fall by the wayside. No, not his long-simmering beef (delicious) with skinny jeans, but with former Dallas Maverick point guard and current Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd.
A year and a half after Kidd surprised Cuban by leaving the Mavericks and heading to the New York Knicks to play for a lone up-and-down season, the Mavericks owner seems to be willing to cheer for his former point man as he struggles through his rookie season as an NBA head coach. From Eddie Sefko at the Dallas Morning News:
"I hope Jason does well," Cuban said. "I really do. I mean, we had a little falling out, but that's behind us. That was a one-year grudge. It's over."
That’s very nice and cordial of Mr. Cuban, which is what flies in the face of when Cuban said he “was pissed” when Kidd spurned Dallas’ offer to finish his career in New York, leaving the Mavericks for the second time in his career, this time via free agency.
"J-Kidd's a big boy, he can do whatever he wants," Cuban said. "But you don't change your mind like that. I'm sure I'll get over it at some point, but as of right now, I wouldn't put J-Kidd's number in the rafters."
Cuban said Kidd called him before agreeing to the deal but Cuban didn't answer because he, "was in D.C. with my kids at a museum."
"I like J-Kidd," Cuban added. "He's a good guy. But I just thought that was wrong. You can't put a guy's number in the rafters when he decides he doesn't want to be there."
This time around, though, Cuban is at least considering retiring Kidd’s number as a Maverick, despite Jason choosing to play 2012-13 with the Knicks. From his talk with Sefko:
"I just have to decide how to do it, because there's a lot of guys from those years' teams," Cuban said. "While J. Kidd is a Hall of Famer, he wasn't really a Hall of Famer who spent most of his career here. He had some great years here, but so did a lot of guys. It's not really a reflection on J. Kidd. It's more a reflection of how I want to deal with it. Do I want to do a Ring of Honor? Put a team in and honor all the guys on the team? I don't know. I haven't decided yet."
That is somewhat understandable, because though Kidd won a championship with Dallas in 2011, he was far from his All-Star level self that particular year. That isn’t to say Kidd wasn’t a major contributor, probably his team’s third-best player that season behind Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler, but he was perhaps a step slow at age 37.
On top of leaving in 2012, also remember that while Kidd didn’t force a trade out of Dallas in December of 1996, he didn’t make it easy on Mavericks brass and coaching staff with his feuds with teammate Jim Jackson, and his ill-at-ease fit on a rebuilding Mavericks club. The team traded him to Phoenix for a package that included Sam Cassell, who would later be used to acquire Shawn Bradley … and you can start to see why the Mavericks stunk for a few more years before Cuban bought the team in January of 2001.
Kidd wore the No. 5 during that initial run in Dallas, and No. 2 during the championship run, bookends on a career that saw its prime spent in Phoenix and New Jersey with a Nets team that recently retired his number. Kidd’s a certain Hall of Famer in five years, but it’s just fine for a Hall of Famer that played with four teams – one of them twice – to only have his number retired once. Even if the Mavericks aren’t exactly replete with retired numbers. Even if the team is (deservedly, make no mistake) going to retire the number of longtime Mavericks guard Derek Harper, who never made an All-Star team in his ten and a half seasons with Dallas.
Perhaps Cuban just feels for the guy, considering all he’s going through with the 3-10 Nets. Jason Kidd could use the pick-me-up, and I’m sure the rookie coach appreciates it – even if he won’t get to play in Cuban’s building until next March.
- - - - - - -