NEW YORK (AP) -Jason Kidd turned a loser into a winner, then knew it was time to move on when he realized he couldn't take the New Jersey Nets any further.
And as he returns to New Jersey for the first time since he was traded, Kidd prefers to focus on the good times he and the team had before things went sour last season.
``The things that we accomplished while I was there, nobody can take that away,'' Kidd said Thursday. ``We took something that was almost nothing and we had a great ride. Got to the finals twice, made it to the playoffs every year and we brought a lot of respect to New Jersey basketball.''
Kidd will get a look at what is left now when his Dallas Mavericks visit Friday night. He tried to downplay the importance of the game after practice, but it's meaningful in New Jersey, which never had much sustained NBA success before Kidd arrived in 2001.
is going to be a lot of emotions in that game obviously on both sides with the big trade that happened last year. It should be a fun game, obviously seeing those guys again and getting out there, mixing it up a little bit. I'm really looking forward to it.''
The Nets were coming off two straight 50-loss seasons when they acquired Kidd from Phoenix in July 2001. They went 52-30 the next season and made the first of two straight trips to the NBA finals, then remained an elite team in the Eastern Conference over the next five years.
But Kidd recognized the Nets were on the way down when they became no better than a second-round team, and when the team wasn't interested in extending his contract that runs out after this season, it became apparent it was time to go.
He sat out a December game with a migraine, which was reported as his form of protest, and the Nets decided there was little other choice than to move the player who is their career leader in assists, triple-doubles and three other categories.
Nets president Rod Thorn struck a deal with Dallas to acquire the promising Harris, who could be an All-Star this season, later saying of Kidd that it was ``evident that his heart wasn't in it.''
``I did everything I could,'' Kidd said. ``Played every night, I made my teammates better. There wasn't anything else I could have done. If I was still here, I would still be playing hard.''
The Mavericks lost in the first round of the playoffs, where Kidd was badly outplayed by Chris Paul. With Harris averaging 23.8 points this season - for far less money than Kidd - many believe that New Jersey got the better end of the trade.
But as well as Harris is playing individually, it will take much more to match the impact Kidd had in New Jersey.
``Devin's playing great and you're measured by wins and losses in this league,'' Kidd said. ``At the end of the day, that's what you're counted on to do as an employee is to try to win every game. At the end of the day, we'll see what happens.''
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