Somewhere in New Orleans arena, the East All-Stars are gathered in their locker room. Jason Kidd is among them, with the word "East" on his chest.
But as ESPN's Marc Stein tells it, if this game were held tomorrow night instead of tonight, Kidd would need to switch jerseys and locker rooms.
... the New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks are again closing in on a deal that would send Kidd back to his original team, according to NBA front-office sources.
A reconfigured trade likely won't be submitted for league approval until Monday -- and is bound to draw a longer-than-usual examination from the league before it's approved after the many complications that derailed the teams' original agreement on Wednesday -- but sources say that the Mavericks and Nets have reached a tentative agreement on the two major changes to save the blockbuster swap.
Sources say Mavs swingman Trenton Hassell and the retired Keith Van Horn will be plugged into the trade in place of Jerry Stackhouse and Devean George. If the newly proposed deal goes through, New Jersey would receive 24-year-old point guard Devin Harris, center DeSagana Diop, guard Maurice Ager, forwards Hassell and Van Horn, two first-round draft picks and $3 million in cash for Kidd and Nets forward Malik Allen.
I suspect both teams preferred the previous deal. I guess this, right here, is the test case for why a lot of teams never comment on trades until they are official.
Here's why I say that: everyone and their brother from both teams had commented publicly on this deal. It had become plain that New Jersey was happy to kiss Kidd goodbye, and what would Devin Harris have felt like in Dallas?
They're all professionals, and surely would have performed at a high level regardless. But if we're supposed to believe that some contract worries might have affected Chicago's start -- what could this do to your team?
Not to mention, the players, coaches, and executives involved all have personal relationships that surely would have become odd. And everyone was going to be asked about it by the media again and again and again.
On the bus ride over to the arena from the hotel, I was wondering if there was any way the Nets could bring Jason Kidd back now. Hadn't the public nature of the negotiations forced the teams to find another way to get it done?
This one was just going to be hard to take back. I think everyone who follows the NBA closely looks forward to a time when these players could move to the next phase of their careers. Now it appears they'll get their wish.