Despite citing Jason Kidd’s half-hearted recent efforts in a Nets jersey and confidently stating “there were only a few other teams that wanted to take on Kidd’s totalitarian nature and his remaining contract,”, the New York Daily News’ Filip Bondy takes the Nets organization to task for their timing and return on the long-negotiated megadeal.
What Rod Thorn (above) did was get an injured young point guard from Dallas in Devin Harris, three role players, a couple of meaningless, low draft picks, two salary-cap exceptions and a walking, talking zombie in Keith Van Horn. The moment that Thorn pulled the trigger on this wrong-sided deal, he surrendered the last reason why any free agent or basketball fan would ever want to fight his way through the metal briar patch called Xanadu and arrive fully dazed at the Meadowlands.
We can blame Thorn a bit for not trading Kidd earlier, during the last two years, when the Nets’ arrow was clearly pointing down and the team might have received fairer compensation. We can blame Kidd, who always wants more and seems to believe a contending team is guaranteed along with the contract.
We can blame Lawrence Frank, who has not done wonders with this team and who has now lost his kingmaker and primary supporter. We can blame Vince Carter, who slows down the offense with his half-court mandate and may never be much more than a very high-priced, balletic scorer.
Most of all, we can blame the owner, Bruce Ratner, who has sentenced this franchise to limbo, facing untold years in a swamp that has become more a metaphor than a home.
Ratner should be very thankful these days for James Dolan, who has stolen all of the owner’s bad thunder. Without the Knicks to kick around, area fans might notice that Ratner’s plans for Brooklyn continue to stall, that he has turned his back on Newark and that he has locked himself into a morgue-like location where no self-respecting superstar would ever want to dunk basketballs for long.
Stop Mike Lupica, while not overly concerned with Harris’ injury, is underwhelmed with the Nets’ return on the deal, or at least the most important component :
I’m not sold yet on Devin Harris. He may turn out to be a really good, special, young player. But I was never that fond of him, and I wouldn’t put him in the top half of starting point guards in the NBA right now. That doesn’t mean he can’t improve, but despite being surrounded by mountains of talents – MVP Dirk, All-Star Josh Howard, former All-Star Jerry Stackhouse, and Jason Terry (underrated star) – Devin couldn’t really do better than 14 ppg and 5 apg.
Dallas is currently 25th, out of 30 teams, in assists per game. They are barely ahead of three teams that played without point guards for long stretches of the season – Sacramento (Bibby was out most of the season), NY Knicks (Marbury), Washington (Arenas), and two teams that really don’t have NBA-quality point guards and know it – the Cavs and the T-Wolves. That’s it. Considering that the Mavs are a jump-shooting team, they should be among the leaders in assists. Devin Harris’ career high in assists is 12. Kidd averages about one less than that per game. And that is why they had to get Kidd.
By necessity Harris’s numbers will improve in NJ – say 17 and 6 – but I just don’t think the team will. He’s a decent player with loads of potential, but I don’t see how you couldn’t just describe him succinctly as “Marcus Williams, with 2 years more experience”.