EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Jason Kidd era is over in New Jersey. The New Jersey Nets and Dallas on Tuesday completed a trade sending the All-Star to the Mavericks, who now have one of the NBA's best point guards as they look toward the playoffs. This will be Kidd's second stint with Dallas.
The eight-player deal, in the making since before the All-Star break, sends Kidd, forward Malik Allen and guard Antoine Wright to Dallas for point guard Devin Harris, center DeSagana Diop and swingman Maurice Ager, plus retired forward Keith Van Horn and Trenton Hassell. New Jersey also gets two first-round draft picks and $3 million.
The Mavericks scheduled an afternoon news conference.
Van Horn and Hassell replace Jerry Stackhouse and Devean George in an original trade proposal. Stackhouse's presence in the deal was muddled by plans to get him back to Dallas — within the rules, although in a way the league frowned upon — and George used his veto power to block his involvement.
"He's a once in a lifetime type of guy to play with and coach," Nets coach Lawrence Frank, referring to Kidd. "He's had an unbelievable impact on everyone in this organization and we wish him nothing but the best."
Trade rumors had followed Kidd since last season when the Nets nearly pulled off a deal to send him to the Los Angeles Lakers. Last month he publicly demanded to be traded, starting a new round of rumors that have hung over the team for the last three weeks.
New Jersey was 23-30 and tied with Philadelphia for the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference entering Tuesday's games. The Nets have lost 14 of their last 20 games.
"We were in a holding pattern for so long, now there's no more holding, no more waiting," Frank said. "You've got six or seven teams thirsting for the playoffs, and we're going to have to hit the ground running and adjust, and we're certainly capable of doing that."
Kidd is averaging 11.3 points, 10.3 assists and 8.1 rebounds. Harris, the next most prominent player in the deal, is averaging 14.4 points and 5.3 assists.
Nets president Rod Thorn said as the Nets struggled this season, Kidd lost some of the intensity that defines him as a player, making it imperative that the team trade him.
Thorn said he first noticed it in December, an indirect reference to an incident in which Kidd sat out a game against the New York Knicks with a migraine, a move some considered a one-day walkout to force a trade.
"Over the course of time it became very evident that his heart wasn't in it," Thorn said. "The kind of player he is, if his heart's not in it then he's not the same player, and it became evident to me that his heart wasn't in it anymore. It just wasn't going to work."
Kidd spent the first two-plus seasons of his career in Dallas. The Mavs drafted him third overall in 1994 and he was the NBA's co-rookie of the year in 1994-95. He was traded to Phoenix in 1996, then went from the Suns to New Jersey before the 2001-02 season. He helped the Nets reach the NBA finals his first two seasons, but they haven't made a long playoff run since.
The Mavericks have been among the NBA's top teams the last few years, but have fallen short of a title. They're trading Harris' promising future in hopes that Kidd, who turns 35 next month, has enough tenacity and leadership to push them over the top.
Dallas has been eyeing Kidd for a while, and owner Mark Cuban may have accelerated the process after seeing other top Western Conference teams make pivotal additions.
This is the third big trade involving a Western Conference power as the teams prepare for the stretch run. Before the All-Star break, Shaquille O'Neal was dealt from Miami to Phoenix and Pau Gasol went from Memphis to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Kidd trade seemed done earlier last week until George vetoed it. Stackhouse's talk of being bought out and re-signing with the Mavs also didn't sit well with league officials.
The big winner in this is Van Horn, who has been out of the league the last 1 1/2 seasons. Dallas still owned his rights, so his involvement is essentially to make the numbers work. He'll be signed then traded — and, like Kidd, he'll be heading back to his original team. It seems highly unlikely he'll actually play for the Nets.
Kidd's arrival should be a boon to reigning MVP Dirk Nowitzki, providing him with the easy baskets he used to get when teamed with Steve Nash. His presence also will open things up for Josh Howard, plus let Jason Terry spend more time at shooting guard.
Harris' numbers have gone up in each of his four seasons, helping him earn a five-year contract worth roughly $42 million before this season. However, he's nowhere near the distributor Kidd is, nor is he liable to get a triple-double. He may eventually have that well-rounded of a game, but the Mavericks decided they couldn't wait.
Losing Diop hurts Dallas' front line, as he is the primary backup to starting center Erick Dampier. However, Diop — who is a free agent after this season — had fallen out of favor lately.
George, also headed toward free agency, was in his second season with the Mavericks. He never found his niche because of injuries and a logjam at the small forward-shooting guard spots. Ager was another in that crowded mix. In his second year from Michigan State, he never worked his way into the rotation and recently was sent to the NBA Development League.
Allen was averaging 5.4 points in almost 16 minutes per game for the Nets.
Dallas also announced it waived forward Nick Fazekas, the 34thoverall pick in the 2007 draft.