Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Rumors swirling about Kidd

But free agent-to-be may stick with Nets

Enquirer news services

On Tuesday, Jason Kidd officially will become a free agent. Talk about his potential destinations, however, already is fast and furious.

Monday, Kidd made a charity appearance in New York with Dallas owner Mark Cuban - as a report on surfaced that Kidd might orchestrate a return to the Mavericks, with whom he began his NBA career. That's doable only via a sign-and-trade deal which, according to the report, would start with Steve Nash coming to New Jersey.

"Just coincidence," Cuban said via e-mail when asked if their appearance together had anything to do with the report - an answer that avoids a tampering charges.

Last week a sign-and-trade scenario to Sacramento for Mike Bibby and Hedo Turkoglu was rumored - and was dismissed by Kings' president Geoff Petrie. That erupted shortly after Kidd and the Nets returned from the Finals in San Antonio, where the Spurs can pursue him without playing sign-and-trade because they have the salary-cap room to give him a contract worth $90-94 million over six years.

"There's a lot of things going on," Kidd said Monday night.

"There are going to be a lot more," Nets president Rod Thorn said of such reports.

Kidd said he plans to discuss the various possibilities this week with his agent, Jeffrey Schwartz.

But over the weekend, Kidd lobbied Thorn to keep scouting director Ed Stefanski from leaving to become Portland's general manager or take another job. That's not the action of someone who's about to leave, and the Nets responded by extending Stefanski's contract to keep him on board.

Still, does anyone believe Kidd and Cuban didn't talk about a move?

"The Nets have the opportunity, I would say, for me to stay here, but I'm not going to rule out any other options," Kidd said.

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