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MavKikiNYC
12-04-2003, 09:29 AM
Kidd's frustrometer is soaring off-scale. Wonder if he wishes if he had signed with the Spurs, or, dare I say it, the Mavericks.

Wonder if Kidd had any idea of what Zo's chances of playing more than 12-15 games would be.

Wonder if Kidd will be fined and/or suspended (hey....in today's NBA, you never know) for his comments below.

Seems like a lot of coaches/players have a common opinion of Violet Palmer, now that they don't have Dee Kantner to kick around.

Nets Don't Heed the Warnings and Drop Their Fourth in a Row
By LEE JENKINS

Published: December 4, 2003


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Dec. 3 For the past month, the Nets have berated themselves for every rebound they could not gather, every open shot they could not make and every game they could not win.

They finally found another party to blame. The officials might be the easiest targets, but on Wednesday night they became the latest outlet for the Nets' frustrations.

With the Memphis Grizzlies ahead by 2 points with six seconds remaining, Nets point guard Jason Kidd drove into the lane and threw up a shot while attempting to create contact. He thought he was bumped by Stromile Swift. He expected a whistle from the referees. But he drew nothing, not even iron, and the Nets lost their fourth game in a row, 96-93, to the Grizzlies at Continental Arena.

Asked whether he thought he deserved a foul call, Kidd let out some of his pent-up anger over this season. "I thought I did everything possible to get to the free-throw line," he said. "Unfortunately, they didn't think so."

Speaking of the game officials, Violet Palmer, Mike Callahan and Gary Zielinski, Kidd added: "Nothing surprises me with that crew. That crew is that crew. Unfortunately, that crew missed a good game."

Even when Kidd spoke about the Nets' next game, on Friday against Milwaukee, he continued to refer to the officials. "Hopefully, that crew is better than tonight's crew," he said.

Kidd said he would not be fined for his comments, but the league office might think otherwise.

The Nets swung a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit into a 2-point lead with 1 minute 56 seconds remaining, but they could not hang on. Kidd made two errant passes, one of which Swift turned into a dunk. Then Kerry Kittles tried to force a pass to Richard Jefferson, which put the Grizzlies on the break again, and James Posey finished with a dunk.

Coach Byron Scott stamped along the sideline as the Nets racked up their 17th turnover.

"We didn't take care of the ball when we needed to," said Kenyon Martin, who had 20 points for the Nets. "But we can't blame it all on that. It's been the same song. The game was there, but we didn't get it done."

With 39 seconds left, Memphis led by 4 points, and even though Martin scored quickly and the Nets got a stop, they cannot seem to finish their rallies anymore. The Nets (7-11) have already lost six games at Continental Arena, after having lost eight at home in each of the past two seasons.

Scott did not sound angry with his players. Instead, he took Kidd's side.

"Jason should have been shooting two free throws in my opinion," Scott said. "I saw Jason come off the pick-and-roll and get a little nudge by Swift. If it's questionable, most guys who are All-Stars get the benefit of the doubt."

This is how far the Nets have fallen, relying on a last-second call to force overtime against the Grizzlies, a rebuilding team that was playing on the road for the sixth time in seven games and missing two regulars. Their point guard, Jason Williams, could be out for an extended period with back spasms, and their shooting guard, Wesley Person, was traded earlier in the day to Portland for Bonzi Wells.

Even when the Nets were staggering this season, they at least took advantage of seemingly inferior opposition. But the Nets cannot even depend on a sure thing anymore. Pau Gasol sealed the outcome with his final free throw. He was 11 of 12 from the line with 19 points.

The Nets made 1 of 10 3-pointers. As a result, the Grizzlies and their 70-year-old coach, Hubie Brown, are 6-5 on the road, 9-8 over all.

"We have not had success on the road the last two years I have been here," said Shane Battier, the Memphis forward. "So to come here and beat a playoff-caliber team, it feels good."

Kidd said he was not limited by a bruised left buttock, but he was 3 of 10 from the field and committed five turnovers. For one night, the team belonged to Jefferson, who shot 6 of 9, 12 of 13 from the line, and finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Ranked last in the N.B.A. in rebounding, the Nets outrebounded the Grizzlies, 52-42, but another trouble spot popped up.

Scott said the turnovers might have been a result of a team pressing for a victory. Jefferson thought the Nets should have become more conservative down the stretch. Either way, they tried to make too many extra passes, and paid for their selflessness.

Jefferson insists the Nets will re-emerge because they have been through rough spots before, but this roster has never experienced anything quite like this. Scott worries that his young players still think they can struggle through the regular season and make another dash through the playoffs, just like last season. He has been around long enough to know such streaks do not often happen twice.

Scott was asked before the game whether the Nets had hit rock bottom, and, after a long pause, he said that they had not. With every night, though, they are inching closer.

MavKikiNYC
12-04-2003, 11:44 AM
Saw the replay this morning on sports highlights.

9 times out of 10 a player like Kidd gets that call, but the non-call didn't look all that inappropriate. Kidd was definitely trying to draw contact and ended up being responsible for initiating the contact and putting up a totally wild shot. Given that it was a game-deciding play with the clock running out, the refs had to have more than that.

MavKikiNYC
12-04-2003, 10:28 PM
Oh, man.....if Kidd somehow became available again......

SPORTS OF THE TIMES
For the Nets, Even Kidd Is Vulnerable to Change
By HARVEY ARATON

Published: December 5, 2003


THE deathwatch begins now for a lame duck coach, Byron Scott, his Nets stumbling through the first quarter of the N.B.A. season with the body language of a team waiting for that proverbial other shoe to drop. Scott's vulnerability will dominate the dialogue for the two-time finalists, but it may be remembered as a footnote compared with the franchise upheaval likely to come.

The Nets have plenty of time to fast break their way back into a strong defense of their Eastern Conference championship. But a more conclusive opinion has already been reached regarding their inability to generate the necessary support for the massive expenditure ownership has undertaken to construct this team.

A winner was built. The fans won't come.

"It's gotten ugly in just a couple of months," said one person with ties to the splintering YankeeNets group and to the negotiations to sell the team, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"If the new owner is a businessman first and a basketball fan second, he's going to have to crash the payroll," another Nets insider said.

While the inflationary Yankees fiddle with Javier Vazquez, Gary Sheffield and assorted friends, the fragile Nets seem ready to burn. The franchise that introduced itself to the N.B.A. in 1976 by selling off its primary asset, Julius Erving, is suddenly confronted with a plausible retro situation.

In the context of what has transpired since the six-year, $103 million contract for Jason Kidd was hailed as the Nets' salvation, Kidd, the best point guard in basketball, will probably become a financial albatross for the next Nets' ownership as it moves to find a competitive level commensurate with its business limitations.

Just to be clear, this is no talk-radio rant. No one is saying that Kidd is on the trading block, or momentarily will be. Those involved in determining the Nets' future have more urgent issues, yet the notion of the next ownership eventually moving the franchise savior in order to save the franchise was called an "interesting thesis" by one insider and "a discussion that's already started as a whisper campaign" by another.

Before the free-agent romancing of the 30-year-old Kidd began in earnest last June, rumors surfaced of the Nets' seeking a younger, less-expensive point guard as an alternative path, given their administrative uncertainties. Part of the ownership actually preferred that route, especially when Kidd returned from his recruiting trip to San Antonio demanding the Nets shell out an additional $23 million for Alonzo Mourning.

The more conservative approach harkened to the days when the former owners mockingly known as the Secaucus Seven operated with the belief that wild spending sprees in the chase for a championship were the road to ruin. The contemporary Nets owners wanted to play ball the way their partner, George Steinbrenner, always has with his Yankees. They hoped a championship-caliber product would electrify northern New Jersey and produce a new arena in Newark. Instead, the Kidd negotiations created the perfect storm of liability, wreaking organizational havoc.

The risky and now disastrous signing of Mourning, the buyout of Dikembe Mutombo, the effect those payoffs have had on the prospective free agent Kenyon Martin, the fallout from the screaming headlines regarding Kidd's dissatisfaction with Scott add it all up and you have a destabilized team that won't beat a Western Conference champion even if it should buck the odds and win the East for a third successive season.

At this point, an N.B.A. championship wouldn't make much bottom-line difference, according to a third insider. "The Devils won the championship," he said. "How do they draw?"

With the Nets' financial woes mounting, Charles Wang, who wanted to buy the Nets and move them to Long Island, has withdrawn his bid. Bruce Ratner, another potential buyer, wants them in Brooklyn, creating the possibility of alienating New Jersey's already indifferent fan base while an arena takes years to build. As one of the insiders pointed out, under that plan, what good would it do Ratner to pay Kidd the bulk of his $103 million to attract 12,000 people in New Jersey and be 34 years old when he goes to Brooklyn?

Under any plan that keeps the team based at the Meadowlands for the foreseeable future, there will hard decisions to make, none of them painless. Given the shortage of revenue, do the Nets continue doling out huge contracts (to Martin and later to Richard Jefferson) and hope their fortunes take a miraculous turn? Do they cling to Kidd, their most valuable and marketable player and deal Martin? Or do they take that alternative path and try to trade Kidd, whose contract will only be movable while he's considered in his prime and while the Western Conference powers and the noted Kidd lovers San Antonio and Dallas are keen to keep pace with the revved-up Lakers.

Walking slowly from a news conference following a fourth straight defeat Wednesday night in front of another depressingly sparse home crowd, Kidd may already have concluded what the Yankee end of YankeeNets have: that his staying in New Jersey was a mistake. He and the Nets' front office can make Scott the fall guy if the team continues to underachieve, but firing the coach won't bring back a healthy Mourning or even Mutombo. It won't raise the money to pay Martin. It won't produce a magical new arena full of fans to erase those bottom-line blues exacerbated by $123 million spent last summer.

When the perfect storm comes, the winds of change are usually close behind.