Posted 02/18/2008 at 12:18 PM
The Jason Kidd to Dallas trade appears to finally be happening with Devean George and Jerry Stackhouse taken out of the picture. George’s refusal of the trade met a lot of uproar and it will be interesting to see how he is treated by fans and what role he has with the Mavericks the rest of the way. The Jerry Stackhouse situation is a bit more interesting and had that deal gone through the Mavericks likely could have been in some trouble with the league.
Recall a few years ago the Minnesota Timberwolves were given a franchise-killing penalty after illegally making an ‘agreement’ to sign Joe Smith to a multi-year deal if he signed for a lesser one-year deal this year. The Wolves were busted and made an example out of, initially losing first-round draft picks for five consecutive seasons as well as heavy fines and suspensions of GM Kevin McHale and the other front-office members involved. Those penalties played a huge role in the reasons why Minnesota was never able to take the next step with Kevin Garnett on the lineup and eventually led to the trade and complete decline and overhaul of the past three seasons. The Stackhouse situation was really not that different although the league is unlikely to penalize Dallas since the deal did not go through.
Is the All-Star victory for the East a sign of a leveling of the conferences in the NBA? The Western Conference has been considered the dominant league for much of the past decade but this season the two top records are both out East. The depth in the Western Conference is obviously still much better considering that at 23-30 both New Jersey and Philadelphia would make the playoffs right now but the Eastern Conference is elevating itself and also features potentially more star-power with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, and Dwight Howard.
For all the talk of Jason Kidd going to Dallas to be on a better team and having a chance at contending for a title it might be worth arguing that Kidd might actually have a better shot in the playoffs with the Nets as ridiculous as that sounds. At the All-Star break New Jersey would be the #7 seed in the East and Dallas would be the #6 seed in the West. It wouldn’t take much for New Jersey to move up to the #6 spot and likely face an Orlando team that would be less-intimidating than facing the Spurs, Lakers, Suns, or Jazz in the West. A small losing streak would also knock Dallas out of the playoff completely, currently sitting just two and a half games ahead of Denver as the Nuggets sit out of the playoffs in the #9 position. Obviously New Jersey doesn’t have the team to seriously contend for the NBA title but Dallas is not exactly in great position either and would be the underdog in a first-round series.