Mark Cuban mad at Jason Kidd? Fuhgeddaboutit
August, 22, 2012
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com
Mark Cuban's got it all wrong. His anger is misplaced.
Instead of still being steamed at Jason Kidd for his about-face defection to the New York Knicks, he should have patted him on the butt and wished him good luck. It's not too late to send a thank-you card. Heck, instead of banning Kidd's No. 2 from the rafters, Cuban should be carving out a spot right now.
We all now know that isn't happening, not any time soon at least.
"J-Kidd's a big boy, he can do whatever he wants," Cuban said Tuesday during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Ben & Skin Show, regarding Kidd's last-minute decision not to take the Mavs' offer. "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."
He continued: "I like J-Kidd. 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."
For a team so determined to keep it's powder dry -- that's CBA talk for keeping cap space clear to chase marquee free agents and, yes, Dwight Howard remains atop the Mavs' summer '13 shopping list -- handing old-man Kidd a three-year deal worth more than $3 million a year was pure lunacy. It just made for more work next summer to clear out that precious cap space.
Hey, all hail to the future Hall of Fame point guard. But, at 39, it made no sense to bring Kidd back to run the team yet again -- not with a club that doesn't have the makings of a title contender. Frankly, few outside the Mavs' front office apparently wanted to see Kidd bringing the ball up the floor in 2012-13 (not to mention when he's 42) -- not after back, calf and groin injuries sat him down for 18 games last season. And not when you've got to plan games off around extended road trips to keep his aging legs fresh for April and, hopefully, beyond.
If nothing else, the revamped Mavs are more intriguing with jitterbug Darren Collison at the point and should be more entertaining than last season's old-and-slow crew, as Dirk Nowitzki termed them early on.
Kidd's perfect fit for next season truly is with the Knicks, only not necessarily this Knicks team. Serving as an on-court mentor for Bay Area brethren Jeremy Lin -- who instead will now play for the Houston Rockets -- and as a respected statesman for a talented, but long-dysfunctional unit seemed a worthy calling.
If Kidd isn't going to war with Nowitzki, as he stated many times was his preference, and he can't mentor Lin, at least Kidd can still tackle the Knicks' dysfunction with fellow quarterback Raymond Felton.
If Cuban should be mad at somebody, might as well be Deron Williams, the three-time All-Star that Cuban now says did the Mavs a favor by re-signing with the Brooklyn Nets. Of course, that's just silly spin. Williams left his hometown high and dry. The Mavs' pursuit of the Dallas-area sensation had the city in a tizzy awaiting his decision. When Williams announced on Twitter that he was sticking with the free-spending Nets, the city wheezed like a basketball losing its air and fell just as flat.
It took a bit of nifty maneuvering to get the fan base back on board, but still a D-Will-Dirk pairing will forever be an intriguing unknown. Plus, had D-Will signed up, Kidd would have been back in the fold as well and in his proper place at this point in his illustrious career -- coming off the bench for 20 or so minutes a night. And all this rafter talk wouldn't even be an issue.
But, hey, Cuban and Don Nelson are back on speaking terms, so surely Kidd and Cuban will be, too. As for that hallowed spot in the rafters, well, talk to Derek Harper about that.
"Putting somebody up in the rafters, that’s something sacred in my mind,” Cuban said. “You don’t just do it just to do it, to have a big ceremony, to sell tickets. You haven’t seen me decide yet. I go back and forth on Derek Harper all the time, but Harp will be up there before J. Kidd will."