Kidd to stay with Nets for US$99 million


Sun, Jul 13, 2003 - Page 24

Jason Kidd agreed to a six-year, US$99 million deal to stay with the New Jersey Nets on Friday, rejecting an offer from the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.

Since arriving via trade two years ago, the All-Star point guard transformed the Nets from an also-ran into a two-time conference champion.

"After great thought and consultation with the important people in my life, I have decided that I want to remain a New Jersey Net," Kidd said.

Kidd's decision came the same day that word emerged that center Alonzo Mourning would join the Nets as a free agent. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in an e-mail to the AP that Mourning wouldn't sign with Dallas, and instead had chosen New Jersey.

A Nets spokesman would not confirm the deal, and a call to Mourning's agent, Jeffrey Wechsler, was not immediately returned.

Mourning can't officially sign with the Nets until Wednesday, nor can Kidd. He made his choice known just 24 hours after reports he wanted the Nets to get rid of coach Byron Scott. On Thursday, Nets president and general manager Rod Thorn denied published reports Kidd demanded Scott be fired.

"I have enjoyed being here the past two years, I have worked hard with my teammates and believe in our future," Kidd said Friday. "I've been fortunate to have had significant interest from other great organizations, but ultimately I want to finish what we started here and bring a championship to the Nets."

Spurs general manager R.C. Buford confirmed Kidd pulled out of talks with his team.

"While it is disappointing news for us, we are happy for Jason and his family and wish them continued success," Buford said.

Kidd averaged team highs of 18.7 points and 8.9 assists, plus 6.3 rebounds, and made his sixth All-Star game appearance this season. He also averaged 20.1 points, 8.2 assists and 7.7 rebounds in the postseason, helping New Jersey reach the NBA Finals.

The Nets lost to the Spurs in six games. In 2001-2002, the Nets were swept in the championship series by the Los Angeles Lakers.

New Jersey had won just one playoff series in its NBA history until Kidd arrived in a trade that sent Stephon Marbury to the Phoenix Suns.

Dunleavy to coach

lA Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers introduced Mike Dunleavy as their new head coach Friday.

Dunleavy signed a four-year contract to return to Los Angeles, where he coached the Lakers to the 1991 NBA Finals.

"I've had one other stint in LA and it turned out very well for me," Dunleavy said. "I figure two times will be the charm."

Dunleavy replaces Alvin Gentry, who was fired in March and temporarily replaced by Dennis Johnson. Dunleavy is 398-390 in 10 seasons with the Lakers, Milwaukee and Portland.

With the Clippers he will be coaching in the same division as his son, Mike Jr., who plays for the Golden State Warriors.

Dunleavy was fired by Portland after the 2000-2001 season. He was 190-106 in four seasons with the Trail Blazers, but only 18-18 in the playoffs, with trips to the Western Conference finals in 1999 and 2000.