Sat, Jan 15, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Kidd seems to be happy

AMERICAN BASKETBALL Before Vince Carter came to New Jersey, Nets captain Jason Kidd was saying that he wanted to be traded, but he has now changed his mind

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , HOUSTONAP, HOUSTON, TEXASREUTERS, NEW YORKREUTERS, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

Randolph Morris, right, of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots against Julian Terrell of the Vanderbilt Commodores at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AFP

Six months after he asked to be dealt to a championship contender, Jason Kidd said Thursday that he would not seek a trade before the trading deadline on Feb. 24.

"I'm not going to ask for that," Kidd said at the morning shoot-around. "Besides, there's no guarantee if I'm traded somewhere that I'll win a championship there. So we'll see."

Hours later, Kidd played a season-high 46 minutes in a 94-85 loss to the Rockets in overtime. He finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and a season-high six steals.

Kidd, the Nets' captain, first said that he wanted to be traded last summer, after the team traded power forward Kenyon Martin to the Denver Nuggets, the first in a string of cost-cutting moves. Kidd gave the Nets a list of teams that he wanted to be traded to.

Now, without offering a public explanation, Kidd has apparently changed his mind, less than a month after the team obtained Carter from the Toronto Raptors.

"I'm not going to ask for any trade," Kidd said before the game. At 31 years old, he has five years remaining on the six-year, US$103 million contract he signed in the summer of 2003.

His comments came just two days after the Nets announced that their leading scorer, Richard Jefferson, was lost for the season with a ruptured ligament in his left elbow.

Since arriving in New Jersey, Carter has publicly lobbied for Kidd to remain with the team. He has said that even if the Nets fail to make the playoffs this season, their new core of Kidd, Carter and Jefferson would help attract elite free agents in the off-season.

"Of course you'd like to win," Carter said on Thursday morning, "but it's all about the potential."

Carter called Kidd "one of the best, if not the best, point guards in the league."

Jefferson signed a six-year, US$72 million contract before this season. Carter is under contract for two more seasons after this one.

Carter said he had not spoken directly with Kidd about his hope that Kidd would remain with the Nets.

"I think there's a time and a place for it," Carter said. "It's not one of those things where I would pull him aside. He gets it enough. It's been on TV. He's read it in the papers. He doesn't want to come to practice and hear about that. So when the situation happens, it happens."

Still, Kidd did not sound completely convinced that the Nets would be able to attract the type of elite player who could fill the void created by trading Martin.

"You can attract players, but do you have room for them?" Kidd said, referring to the salary cap. "That's the bottom line."

But Kidd did appear confident that the combination of Carter, Jefferson, who is known as R.J., and himself would only get better next season.

"How many games did R.J. and Vince play together?" Kidd asked [the answer is eight]. "Next year will be a time for them to get adjusted to each other's game. And the future's always bright as long as you have talent on your team."

Bob Sura scored a career-high 35 points, including a game-clinching 3-pointer with 1:02 left in overtime Thursday to lead the surging Houston Rockets to a 94-85 victory over the New Jersey Nets.

"I knew I had to step up," said Sura, playing on a knee that had been drained of fluid Tuesday. "I'm hanging in there. I'll fight through it as best I can and try to help our team."

Juwan Howard scored eight of his 12 points in the extra period, and a hobbled Tracy McGrady added 18 points for the Rockets, who matched a season-best three-game winning streak and moved two games above .500 (19-17) for the first time this season.

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