NEW ORLEANS (AP) -Jason Kidd delivered an early message to his new Dallas Mavericks teammates: Be ready for his passes, whether they think they're covered or not.
``I've always felt my teammates are always open.'' Kidd said. ``When you think it's not coming, then that's when it is.''
Kidd was set to make his Mavericks debut against the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night, so invigorated by the prospect of playing for a contender again that he dismissed concerns of travel fatigue or his immediate insertion into the starting lineup of a team he's practiced with twice.
``It's exciting. It's new. It's different and you don't have time to rest in the West because if you lose a game you can drop a couple spots,'' Kidd said after a shootaround on Wednesday morning at the New Orleans Arena.
Kidd left All-Star weekend here as a member of the Nets on Sunday night. He got to bed in New Jersey by 4 a.m. Monday morning, headed to Dallas and officially became a Maverick on Tuesday, then traveled back to New Orleans for his first game with his new team.
Coach Avery Johnson said he expected Kidd, a master of the fast break, to hit the ground running, so to speak.
``There's no waiting. There's no period of him learning. He's going to jump right in there,'' Johnson said. ``We know what we're going to do and we'll see how it works.''
Kidd's debut with the Mavericks didn't shape up to be the type of game that would allow him to ease into his new role.
The Hornets lead the Western Conference and a large crowd was expected at New Orleans Arena. While long lines at the box office were seldom seen earlier this season, there was a wait of about 40 minutes around lunchtime Wednesday.
A number of fans said they had come to see the marquee matchup of two All-Star point guards in Kidd and the Hornets' Chris Paul.
Kidd was just relieved his on-again, off-again trade situation was finally resolved.
``I don't know if I could do another 48 hours of not knowing,'' Kidd said. ``I'm just happy it's over and we can move forward.''
Kidd came to Dallas in an eight-player deal that became a subplot to All-Star weekend, when it was still being hammered out.
The trade moves point-guard Devin Harris, center DeSagana Diop, swingman Maurice Ager, forward Trenton Hassell and retired forward Keith Van Horn to New Jersey. The Nets also got two first-round draft picks and $3 million, while Dallas got forward Malik Allen and guard Antoine Wright.
Kidd was drafted by the Mavericks 14 years ago. Since then, Dallas' ownership, uniforms, arena, and ability to contend for a title all have changed.
``It's not the old Mavs,'' Kidd said.
In giving up Harris, Dallas and its fast-break offense lost one of the quicker young point-guards in the league. Johnson said Kidd's court savvy is expected to compensate for that and more.
``We hope to get the ball in position better with the pass than maybe we did with speed,'' Johnson said. ``We hope more guys will run with (Kidd) and are excited about running because they know they're going to get the ball.''
Kidd said he expects to ``tone down'' some of his higher-risk passing until his new teammates get used to him and won't allow himself to be discouraged if the adjustment doesn't go as quickly as he would like.
``You can't get frustrated. There's too much basketball to be played,'' Kidd said. ``The biggest thing, I think, about this team is just communicating. As much as I can pass, I think it could become contagious where everybody else is passing too.''
Johnson, however, did not dismiss the small margin for error in the West, where competition for any of the top eight playoff seeds is fierce this season.
``It is a big concern. We don't have a training camp and an offseason,'' Johnson said. ``There's 29 games left, but I don't want the guys to be so anxious and so concerned about it that they can't really go out there and perform.''
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