Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Pregame buzz: Jason Kidd would enjoy backing up Deron Williams?
By Jeff Caplan
LOS ANGELES -- With Chris Paul now calling Los Angeles home, Deron Williams stands alone as the top All-Star point guard that could be available in free agency next summer. But, don't sleep on another veteran point that will also hit the market -- Jason Kidd.
All three passed through L.A. this week with Williams and his struggling Nets losing to the Clippers on Monday night and Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks in town for a Lakers-Clippers swing that culminates tonight against Tinseltown's newest glamour boys, the ones in red and blue, not purple and gold.
Of course, there's plenty of buzz swirling around a possible return home next summer for Williams to play for Mark Cuban's club. Kidd wants to go two more years to play a 20th season at 40 years old. Kidd said he took some lumps playing golf with Williams over the summer, but the sting has eased, said Kidd, who would welcome Williams to Dallas -- and hand him the baton that is Kidd's starting job.
"It would be great to back him up," Kidd said Monday night, "wherever he’s at."
Kidd politely smiled as he answered a question about a possible return to the Nets through free agency to join Williams in Brooklyn, but that would certainly seem to be a long shot. (Now, if Jersey winds up making an increasingly doubtful-looking trade to acquire Dwight Howard, then we'll revisit the subject. Of course, if the Nets believe they have no shot at Howard and believe Williams will walk, they could look to m0ve him before the March trade deadline.)
Kidd certainly knows what it's like to feel blue in Jersey. Traded last season from Utah after Jerry Sloan abruptly retired, Williams is clearly have a tough time playing on Avery Johnson's team that is 3-11 and offers little hope on the horizon.
"It's tough," Williams told ESPNLA.com's Ramona Shelburne after Monday's loss. "We've had a brutal schedule. Everybody has. We've been on the road and played a lot of games in a short amount of time. We're a young team, a team that was just put together. So it's been tough. We knew everything wasn't going to come together overnight."
Kidd said he's been thinking about Williams through this difficult opening stretch.
"I was going to give him a call and just tell him to stay positive and keep teaching while you’re playing," Kidd said. "He’s got a young team. They’re going to make some adjustments, but they’re definitely looking towards the future in the sense of going into Brooklyn."
And Kidd might be looking towards a future playing behind Williams -- wherever he's at.