It is Finished? …Devin on his way to New Jersey…
Jason Kidd was excused Monday night from the New Jersey Nets' first practice after the All-Star break and is already scheduled to travel to Texas on Tuesday, according to sources deeply involved in the seemingly interminable Kidd trade talks.
Nets president Rod Thorn, meanwhile, sent word to reporters in New Jersey through a team official that the Kidd-to-Dallas deal "appears to be a go."
Those are the clearest signs yet that the Nets and the Dallas Mavericks, after a flurry of obstacles, will soon complete the second of two trades they've hashed out to send Kidd back to his original team.
Perhaps no NBA swap has ever tested the never-done-until-it's-done maxim more than this one, heading into Day 7 of the trade limbo that has ensnared the Nets, Mavericks and Kidd. But the teams, sources say, indeed have a conference call lined up for early Tuesday with league officials to go over the binding trade details after Keith Van Horn appeared to have clinched the deal Monday night with his highly anticipated sign-off.
Those details: Kidd and forward Malik Allen will be going to Dallas for 24-year-old point guard Devin Harris, center DeSagana Diop, swingman Trenton Hassell, guard Maurice Ager, Van Horn via sign-and-trade, first-round picks this June and in 2010 and $3 million in cash. In a separate transaction, Dallas will acquire Antoine Wright for a second-round pick.
Also, this was sent over from the Mavericks, and this is an oddly late practice time:
The Mavericks practice at 3 pm. Media availability is around 5:30 pm.
JA Adande with questions for Kidd to answer on the court …
If this Nets-Mavericks trade goes through, we can finally learn whether Jason Kidd can cut it in the Western Conference.
It's the glaring hole in his résumé.
If you look at the history, the Western Conference has meant the worst for Kidd. As frustrated as he might have been with the state of the Nets toward the end of his days in New Jersey, the facts show that the only reason we think of Kidd as a winner is because he spent the past six-plus seasons in the Eastern Conference.
In the West, Kidd's playoff results were practically McGradyian. He advanced past the first round only once in five tries -- and that lone victory came against a San Antonio Spurs team playing without an injured Tim Duncan in 2000. In his five years with the Phoenix Suns, his team won only eight of 25 playoff games.
But after he was traded to New Jersey in 2001, he took advantage of the diminished competition. The Nets won 52 games his first season in New Jersey, the high-water mark of his career and the first time he popped up in Most Valuable Player discussions. He won nine of 15 playoff series in New Jersey and the Nets had a playoff record of 43-35. The Nets went to the Finals in 2002 and 2003.
Of course, when they got there, they had to face the West. That meant more futility. They got swept by the Lakers, then were taken out in six games by the Spurs, suffering a fourth-quarter meltdown when they were on the verge of forcing a Game 7.
Including those two series, Kidd's playoff record against Western Conference teams is 10-25.
And that was an improvement over his first stay in Dallas, when Kidd, Jamal Mashburn and Jim Jackson suffered through a dysfunctional team that never produced more than 36 wins in a season.
"The nicest thing about this whole thing is the opportunity to get a fair shot going back to Dallas," Kidd said. "We were young and the Three J's didn't quite work out. But there's been a lot of basketball played from then and now. So I've seen a lot."
There is one important difference this go-round: He gets to play with the league's reigning MVP.
Kidd's game is about eliciting the best from his teammates. He'd much rather try to get the best out of Dirk Nowitzki than a broken-down Penny Hardaway or an aging Clifford Robinson.
Dallas is the best destination for the point guard and the best move for the Mavericks. If he had gone to the Lakers, Kidd might have had the same problems adjusting to the triangle offense that fellow Oakland native Gary Payton did in 2003. As much as LeBron James wanted Jason Kidd in Cleveland, it's not the move the Cavaliers needed to make. LeBron doesn't need a set-up man to score. He's doing just fine on his own. The Cavaliers need people who can play off him. They need more shooters, more scorers. Those aren't Kidd's strengths. Mike Bibby, who's more of a combo guard than a pure point, actually would have been better for the Cavs -- but now he's heading to Atlanta.
In Dallas, Kidd can be the leader Nowitzki has struggled to be. And he can provide the toughness. One of Kidd's underrated traits is his physical strength, just ask anyone who has matched up against him.
The Mavericks are already fourth in the league in rebounding differential and now they're adding the top rebounding guard in the league. Hard to believe, but in acquiring Kidd, the Mavericks picked up more rebounds than the Suns did in trading for Shaquille O'Neal. Check the stats: 8.1 boards per game for Kidd, 7.8 for Shaq.
But that's an added bonus, like finding out Jessica Alba can cook. Kidd's returning to Dallas because of his passing, and with him around, the Mavericks are sure to boost their average of 19 assists per game, which ranks 25th in the league.
The boys at Dallasbasketball.com Take a good look at the money commitment of it all …
Monday is a holiday, so banks are closed. But according to calculations you’ll only find on DallasBasketball.com, the KVH inclusion in the Kidd-to-Dallas trade signifies that the Bank of Cuban is open. … and ready to cough up a staggering $27 million to complete the deal.
Let’s begin with the principles: From what we can gather, Devin Harris, Trenton Hassell, DeSagana Diop, Moe Ager, $3 million, No. 1 picks in ’08 and ’10 and the KVH exception go to New Jersey in exchange for Jason Kidd and change.
Somewhere in conjunction with this, we assume the Mavs will also sign a backup center (and our financial figuring will reflect that).
Get your calculators ready:
The suddenly-and-temporarily-activated Keith Van Horn will get $4.237 million.
The Mavs’ net payroll with go up by $4 mil for this season, and future salary will be increased by $4.5 mil.
The Mavs’ tax charge this year will be increased by $11 million, and in the future by $4.5 million.
So the total financial hit for this deal lines up thusly:
Payroll: $8.5 million.
Tax: $15.5 million.
Cash: $3 million.
TOTAL: $27 million!
In summary. … We wrote recently that this team seemingly had gotten stagnant – and really paid attention when team leader Jerry Stackhouse said the Mavs needed a “jolt.’’ We wondered if Cuban would make a move. … especially an expensive one. He did it - and in doing so made a MASSIVE financial commitment. In this final version (and of course not counting any actual future salaries paid to Kidd), it will cost Mark Cuban $27 million in added payroll and tax to do the deal.
If you’ve been wondering what happened to Mark Cuban's “maverick-like’’ financial aggressiveness in the last couple of years, you just got 27 million answers: The Bank of Cuban has merely been awaiting the right opportunity.
Peter Vescey with a shocking story …if it is true…
I'm here to tell you the move on Kidd has as much to do with Avery Johnson's dissatisfaction with Dirk Nowitzki as a leader as with Devin Harris' point-guard shortcomings.
According to an infallible source, the Mavericks' coach pressed team owner Mark Cuban to deal Dirk after the NBA's MVP came up shamefully small against the Warriors in last season's upsetting first-round elimination, but was overruled.
Johnson's ideal leader is supposed to offer positive guidance and counsel on and off the court, as well as in and out of church. That disqualifies Kidd. Still, one sphere of influence is better than none. Convinced a championship is otherwise beyond capture, Avery compromised his primary concern.
Kidd, of course, will provide a stronger presence than Harris, meaning A.J. will allow him to be the PG instead of trying to be it himself. Therefore, the players will have more comfort and confidence in the PG.
What the Mavs lose is team chemistry, giving up good locker-room guys for one who's just as capable of leading young players astray as directing them to the Finals.
They also lose Harris' capacity to move his feet fast. Ten years younger than Kidd, who's more effective guarding bigger people these days, Devin bothered Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Allen Iverson, if not Baron Davis. He beats them to the hole, too, second only to Leandro Barbosa.
Four seasons ago, the Mavs had Steve Nash and Harris at PG. Now they have Kidd and
Jose Barea, who isn't competent enough to be a backup on a title contender, and Jason Terry, whose mentality is shoot-first, think-pass-last.
DeSagana Diop, by all accounts, has not improved offensively in two years. At the same time, the Mavs can't help but miss his part-time shot blocking and rebounding. Erick Dampier's worthwhile contribution once every four games obliges Nowitzki to play center 20 to 30 minutes a game.
This is not good, especially should Dampier go down for the count for any length of time.
Matt, at Mavscentral.com looks at the Mavs woeful work against the East …
If you have been paying attention to the team this season, you have probably noticed that the Mavs have struggled on the road this year. They have also struggled against the teams from the East, which is very surprising since Dallas went 27-3 against the East last season. I wanted to compare this year to the past couple seasons and the numbers are somewhat disgusting to look at.
Road East Road vs. East
2004-05 29-12 (.707) 23-7 (.767) 11-4 (.733)
2005-06 26-15 (.634) 23-7 (.767) 8-7 (.533)
2006-07 31-10 (.756) 27-3 (.900) 13-2 (.867)
2007-08 12-15 (.444) 12-11 (.522) 5-9 (.357)
The numbers don't lie. Dallas has really struggled on the road and versus the Eastern Conference this season. Between 2004-05 and 2006-07, Dallas' 86-37 road record was the best in the league. During that same time span, Dallas' 73-17 record against the Eastern Conference was also the best in the league.
Not much non-NBA, but here is what I got:
Horns pound Aggies …
Texas A&M players glared, scowled and tried to push Texas around. Nothing worked.
The team the Aggies routed on their home court last month was nowhere to be found. This time, D.J. Augustin and the Longhorns pushed back.
The result was a Texas blowout, 77-50 Monday night that kept the streaking No. 7 Longhorns rolling and tied for first in the Big 12. Texas' last loss was a humbling 17-point defeat in College Station on Jan. 30 when the Aggies (20-6, 6-5 Big 12) bullied their way through the Longhorns.
Texas (22-4, 9-2) hasn't lost since, knocking off six straight wins with Monday night's ranking among the most impressive.
"If we would have won by one, it would have been revenge," Texas' Damion James said. "But  sounds good."
Augustin was at his absolute best with 27 points and nine assists. He nearly outscored the Aggies by himself in the first half with 17 points as Texas took a 39-18 lead into halftime.
Ah, the Chronicles of Ryan Perrilloux …
LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux's troubled career hit another sour note Monday, as Coach Les Miles announced he had indefinitely suspended the Tigers' expected starter this season for a violation of team rules. It was the third such disciplinary measure imposed on Perrilloux since last May.
Sources at the university familiar with the situation said Perrilloux's infractions involved missing classes, workouts and at least one team meeting, all violations of a private agreement Miles and Perrilloux reportedly reached last season.
Perrilloux's situation could be even more dire, according to school officials who said Miles still is mulling the situation. Miles was unavailable for comment, but said in LSU's terse, four-sentence statement that the quarterback's status for spring football, which begins Feb. 29, is uncertain.
Miles canceled a slated Monday press conference at which he planned to announce coaching changes because he feared questions about Perrilloux would overshadow what he wanted to be a bright day for his assistants, school officials said. Late in the day, LSU issued another press release announcing the promotion of secondary coach Doug Mallory and linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Bradley Dale Pevoto as co-defensive coordinators, and the hiring of Joe Robinson, formerly on the staff at Arizona, as the special teams coach.
Perrilloux has had several scrapes with the law in the past 14 months.
The first was the revelation in January 2007 that federal and local investigators wanted to question Perrilloux about an alleged counterfeiting ring in the River Parishes. That issue largely petered out when federal officials made it clear they did not regard Perrilloux as a major player in their probe, and he was never charged.
Perrilloux was cited by Baton Rouge police last May after allegedly trying to board a riverboat casino with another person's identification. Miles suspended Perrilloux after that incident, and the signal-caller who emerged from East St. John High School as perhaps the most celebrated recruit in the nation during the 2004 season, did not participate in any team drills and functions last summer.
Miles reinstated Perrilloux on the eve of the August preseason camp but then, during the team's bye week in late October, Perrilloux was involved in a fight at the Varsity nightclub on the edge of campus. While some individuals first accused Perrilloux of wielding a gun in that fracas, videotape showed no gun was ever involved, and the accusers begged off their story when pressed by Baton Rouge detectives. Again, Perrilloux was not arrested.
But with negative publicity about the incident distracting the team before its anticipated showdown at Alabama, Miles again suspended Perrilloux, and the sophomore did not travel to Tuscaloosa.
It was after that second suspension that the coaching staff reportedly spelled out strict guidelines Perrilloux had to abide or face possible dismissal. That program appeared to be running smoothly, and Perrilloux was voted the Southeastern Conference championship game's MVP in the Tigers' victory over Tennessee that vaulted LSU into the BCS championship game.
Between the SEC title game and the BCS championship against Ohio State, Perrilloux, who usually is off-limits to the media, spoke with the press, and his tone and words appeared to reflect the knowledge the starting quarterback at a major program must follow a stricter behavioral code than that permitted the average undergraduate -- exactly the sort of philosophy the coaches wanted to see in the probable starter in 2008. Perrilloux was quick to praise starter Matt Flynn, who handled his lengthy time as a backup with undimmed competitive ardor and class, according to teammates and coaches, as a role model and said henceforth the team always would come first.
LSU did not reveal Perrilloux's proffered excuse for missing meetings, classes and workouts. His biological father passed away earlier this month, but sources said the relationship between those two had been rocky for years, and some of the transgressions allegedly occurred before the death.
Perrilloux did not return a phone message left at his Baton Rouge residence. His mother did not return messages, either.
Now, Miles must decide if a third-strike rule is in effect and perhaps kick Perrilloux off the team or if the incidents, taken individually, do not warrant such discipline.
Miles dismissed three players from the team last year after they were involved in publicized scraps.
Champions League is Back! …glory!
Round of 16 - 1st leg Matches & Scores:
-Tue Feb 19
Schalke v Porto - live at 1:45pm central on Setanta Premium
Liverpool v Inter - live at 1:30pm central on ESPN2
Roma v Real Madrid - delayed at 4pm central on ESPN Classic
Olympiacos v Chelsea - live at 1:45pm central on Setanta
-Wed Feb 20
Arsenal v Milan - live at 1:30pm central on ESPN2
Celtic v Barcelona - delayed at 4pm central on ESPN Classic
Lyon v Manchester United - delayed at 5pm central on Setanta
Fenerbahce v Sevilla - live at 1:45pm central on Setanta
Sweet Email – But this one is going to hurt:
I really do! I'll take a photo and send it to prove it. I bought it from a guy who sells shirts and hats with college & pro teams' logos. He has a yard sale from time to time and I found the shirt and said, "This is cool, and probably should have been sent to Africa." I think I paid the guy $2 for it.
That is Nashty