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Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Kidd on Game 1: 'I'll be there in spirit'

By Mike Mazzeo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Brooklyn Nets will kick off the 2013-14 regular season on Wednesday night when they take on the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

Jason Kidd, however, won't be with them. The first-year head coach is suspended for the first two games of the regular season after pleading guilty in July to driving while ability-impaired.

Kidd will travel with the Nets to Cleveland and go through shootaround with the team, but he’ll have to watch the game somewhere else, probably at the team hotel with a friend.

“I’ll be there in spirit,” Kidd joked. “So again, I said it yesterday, this is the way we’re built. No matter coaches or players, you go with the guys that can go. No matter if I was coaching, the two games [or] tomorrow, I’m still a young, rookie coach and I’m learning. So me not being there gives the guys the opportunity to coach.”

Lead assistant Lawrence Frank likely will coach the team, barring a personal matter. Assistant coach John Welch was George Karl’s right-hand man in Denver for eight years, so he’d be the likely candidate if Frank is unable to make the trip.

“Is there a disappointment? I think it’s a lesson learned. You go with the penalty and move on,” Kidd said. “There’s nothing else to talk about or do. It’s not changing, so it’s behind us.”

• The Nets aren’t worried about how they start, noting the 82-game season is a marathon, not a sprint. After all, the Miami Heat's Big Three started 9-8 after they were put together and ended up in the NBA Finals in Year 1.

“Really it’s how you finish ... it’s how the playoffs go,” point guard Deron Williams said. “But we want to get off to a good start. We want to start off right.”

• Power forward Kevin Garnett has enjoyed being in his new locker room.

“Yes. I will say that we have a bunch of good guys, I mean personality-wise. More importantly, we communicate very well. A lot of guys have similar backgrounds in here, we have some international guys, but it’s a good mix,” Garnett said. “At the end of the day, we all work hard, and the locker room ... I always call it a TV show. Obviously the cameras and things aren’t involved, but if you guys could be a fly on the wall in there, it’s one of the better locker rooms I’ve been in. From a personality and a guys standpoint.

“Obviously I would compare it to 2007-08, which is one of the best teams I’ve ever been on [the championship team in Boston], and my team back in 2003-04 back in Minnesota was a pretty deep team, the personality was great, as far as depth and stuff. Those were similar, but this is probably the best out of all of those teams, if not similar.”

Garnett doesn’t think egos will be a problem with this team.

“When you give yourself to the team and to what you’re talking about as the common goal, you don’t have that being a problem,” Garnett said. “I can attest to that. I’ve been a part of a group of talented guys like this team here, and usually when you have problems where you’re head-butting and stuff, it’s because guys can’t get over their egos or whoever they think they are, or someone has been continuously telling them who they are.

“When you come together as a team, you take your faults, I’ll take mine, and we’re gonna go forward with that. If we’re both talking about winning, when it comes to winning times there won’t be any problems. We’ll figure it out, and there will be a common ground. Again, when you have problems on teams like that, it’s usually two guys can’t get over their [expletive] selves.”

Garnett had a funny line when asked about his relationship with center Brook Lopez: “He’s a big Batman guy, I’m a Wolverine guy. So sometimes we clash, but I respect him.”