SOURCES: 'ON-STRIKE' KIDD DECIDES TO SIT OUT
By FRED KERBER
December 6, 2007 -- Jason Kidd was "on strike," last night several team sources claimed, and he essentially called in sick, perhaps in an effort to force a trade from the Nets or get a contract extension.
Coach Lawrence Frank said Kidd phoned him complaining of a migraine yesterday at about 2 p.m. Kidd never showed for last night's 100-93 defeat against the Knicks, also short-handed, in the Meadowlands.
Maybe it was the contract extension he sought and did not receive. Maybe it is the general state of the team. Maybe it is a desire for a trade. Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, Kidd chose a game against the division rival Knicks to state his case. And the Nets certainly proved how much they need Kidd, losing to the 6-11 Knicks who were without Eddy Curry and Stephon Marbury.
"He's on strike," on team source said.
Kidd's teammates were tight-lipped, though one claimed, "I can't picture Jason doing that. I would be disappointed if he did."
But another source said the Nets were planning on - if not already - talking to Dallas, the Lakers and perhaps Cleveland about a trade. Kidd nearly was traded to the Lakers last February.
Asked after the game about Kidd, Frank said, "Right now my thoughts are with this game."
The Nets (9-10, 4-7 at home) were drastically short-handed all evening and played the first half with eight available bodies. Josh Boone, down with a migraine - he has a history of the ailment - was on the bench for the second half but did not play. Jamal Crawford scored 29 and Zach Randolph had 25 for the Knicks. Richard Jefferson scored 31 points and Vince Carter
had 19 for the Nets.
Kidd's absence immediately caused some consternation within the organization because of the All-Star's recent unhappiness over the Nets rejecting his camp's bid for a one-year, $13 million contract extension. Kidd vented about the team recently in Utah, claiming the club possessed a glass jaw while expressing doubts about the future. After a sit-down with team president Rod Thorn, Kidd backed off and proclaimed all was fine.
Which made last night's timing puzzling. Kidd loves beating the Knicks. The Nets are 23-2 including playoffs, against the Knicks with Kidd since he arrived. And Kidd has been durable. He hadn't missed a game since Feb. 14 last season, at Toronto when a back kept him out. That was the final game before All-Star weekend and Kidd returned after the break.
So when he didn't show, speculation was rampant. Kidd played 30 minutes Tuesday in Cleveland and chatting with LeBron James afterward.
There was a pretty good team in the infirmary or at home for reasons personal and medical last night. For the Knicks, Curry was lost to a sprained ankle and Mar bury was home with family, pre paring to bury his fa ther today. For the Nets, Antoine Wright (shoul der) sat a second straight game. Nenad Krstic has been shut down. Carter
(strained calf) played after an MRI exam was negative.
So Eddie Gill (four points, fouled out) started for the ninth time in his career - first as a Net - at point for Kidd. With Wright out, the Nets were down to one perimeter player, Bostjan Nachbar, plus Jamaal Magloire and Sean Williams.
Without Kidd, the Nets struggled terribly on offense. Open shots were rare. Made shots even more rare - they had seven assists at halftime. That wasn't even one assist per player. With Randolph and Crawford getting out to quick starts and with the Knicks smothering Carter
and Jefferson, the Nets trailed, 51-42, at halftime. The Knicks led by 14 in the fourth and the Nets got to within five, but stalled.
With their quick start, the Knicks led 20-10 before nine minutes expired. It was the eighth straight game and 9th time in 11 games total that the Nets trailed by 10 or more points at home.
As if the injuries weren't trouble enough, the Nets saw half of their available team - Malik Allen, Jason Collins, Gill and Williams - all saddled with three fouls by halftime.