Nets Chief Throws Cold Water on Kidd Trade

Friday, September 17th 2004, 11:25 am
By: News On 6

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ The New Jersey Nets are not going to trade All-Star point guard Jason Kidd unless they get a deal that makes them a better team, chief executive Rod Thorn said Thursday.

``I would be very, very surprised if Jason Kidd is traded,'' Thorn said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Kidd's name has appeared several times in recent days in reported trade talks.

One report had him being shipped to Portland for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

There was also a reported three-team deal that would have had Kidd traded to Minnesota in a trade involving the Nets and Knicks. New York would have gotten Aaron Williams and Wally Szczerbiak while the Nets would have gotten Kurt Thomas, Sam Cassell and Ervin Johnson.

``I would never say I won't trade any player,'' Thorn said. ``But you are talking about one of the best players in the league. To think we are just going to give him away is foolish. It's mind boggling.''

Kidd, who transformed the Nets from an also-ran to a two-time Eastern Conference champion, is upset with the team following the loss of All-Star forward Kenyon Martin.

The Nets were forced to sign and trade Martin to Denver this summer after the Nuggets dangled a free agent offer sheet that would have forced New Jersey to pay Martin $30 million in upfront money this year.

New Jersey also cleared room in its salary cap by trading starting guard Kerry Kittles to the Los Angeles Clippers and waiving veteran backup guard Lucious Harris.

The moves reportedly were made so new team owner Bruce Ratner could cut costs and not be affected by a luxury tax.

Kidd also comes with a big price. He has five years and $90 million left on a contract that he signed in the summer of 2003. He will make $14.8 million this season.

``The only way we would trade any player is if it was a good deal for us,'' Thorn said. ``It has nothing to do with money. This has nothing to do with money.''

Kidd, who had surgery on his left knee in July, is on schedule with his rehabilitation, Thorn said.

However, it is uncertain whether he will be ready for the season opener against Shaquille O'Neal and the Miami Heat on Nov. 3.

Kidd missed 15 games last season because of problems with the knee. Nonetheless, he led the NBA with nine triple-doubles and was selected to the All-NBA first-team for the fifth time in his career. He averaged 15.5 points and 9.2 assists in 67 games.

Kidd's struggles in the playoffs were the main reason New Jersey was eliminated in the second round by Detroit, the eventual NBA champs.