Seems like we get one of these every day doesn't it? The NBA, especially the Western Conference, has been rocked the past two weeks by three major trades.
After the Lakers stole Pau Gasol from Memphis for basically nothing, Phoenix gave up a relatively young All-Star Shawn Marion for a past-his-prime Shaquille O'Neal. I've already given my thoughts on that trade, and I still don't like it for Phoenix. Today, we get news that Dallas has traded for Jason Kidd. As John Hollinger quickly noted today, this reeks of panic.
Dallas gives up Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse, DeSagana Diop, Devean George, Maurice Ager, $3 million, and two future first-round picks for Kidd, Malik Allen, Antoine Wright, and second-round pick.
Ever since this was first talked about in the off-season, I have thought it was idiotic for the Mavericks. Clearly this a trade of Kidd for Harris. Many people involved with the trade think the Nets will buyout Stack's contract, allowing him to potentially resign with the Mavs after 30 days. The other players are involved mainly for contractual purposes. Why are they giving up their young 26-year-old for a 36-year-old? Even if you believe that Kidd brings "intangibles" and "leadership" that Harris doesn't have yet, Dallas is still giving up a great bench scorer in Stackhouse and a superb inside defender in Diop. Who else can score off Dallas's bench besides Jason Terry? Eddie Jones and Trenton Hassell aren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard at this point in their careers. There's no guarantee that Stack comes back to Dallas. He could wind up with plenty of other contenders, Detroit anyone?
I also find it funny that Dallas would let go of Diop even though Shaq is now back in the West. Remember when teams would stock up on back-of-the-bench seven-footers to give more fouls on Shaq? Why else would Detroit hold on to Elden Campbell and Dale Davis? Dallas used to use stiffs like D.J. Mbenga and Shawn Bradley for those reasons as well. At least Mark Cuban shares the same opinion as me on one thing. Shaq is no longer the dominating force of old. Erick Dampier is apparently good enough if the matchup occurs.
But, back to main point of the trade, Harris for Kidd. Devin Harris is a young fourth-year point guard in the midst of his best season yet. He's currently averaging 14.4 ppg, 5.3 apg, and shooting 48% from the field. Kidd, in his 14th year, is averaging close to a triple-double (11.3 ppg, 10.4 apg, 8 rpg). However, he turns the ball over 3.6/gm and shooting only 37% from the field. The big reason for his monster rebounding totals are his horrible frontcourt. With Nenad Krstic sidelined, people Jason Collins and Malik Allen have played far too often. As John Hollinger noted, since Josh Boone began playing more, Kidd's totals have predictably gone down. Frankly, I wouldn't trade Harris straight-up for Kidd. Kidd has more experience you say? Harris went to the finals two years ago with Dallas and lost. Kidd went to the Finals twice with New Jersey and lost twice. I doubt one more Finals loss is worth it. If Cuban wasn't willing to commit to Harris learning and growing, why didn't he just keep Steve Nash four years ago instead of drafting Harris? Now, Harris has grown into his starting role, averaging career highs, and you want to get rid of him for a washed-up Kidd? This whole trade confuses me. Cuban is giving up too many good players and draft picks for a player that won't contribute as much as his name hints at.
As for the Nets, I love what they're doing here. They now have two potentially great point guards in Marcus Williams and Harris. Without giving up any of their core, they just made their team younger and more explosive. They won't need Kidd's rebounding as younger players like Sean Williams and Josh Boone improve at power forward. Their frontcourt gets much deeper with the addition of Diop as a defensive presence to back up the offensive-minded Krstic. Although likely near the bottom of the round, they still get two first-round picks as well. For once, teams won't be able to double off Kidd onto Jefferson and Carter. Harris is too quick and too good of a shooter to allow that. His ability to penetrate is also much better than Kidd's as well. This will add an entirely new dimension to the Nets.