(Kidd in a Dallas uniform. Photo by Ronald Martinez, Getty Images)
2/19/2008 - Mavericks trade for Jason Kidd
In a deal that Dallas GM Donnie Nelson described as "hands down the most unique transaction that I’ve ever been involved in," the Mavericks trade Devin Harris, Trenton Hassell, DeSagana Diop, Maurice Ager and Keith Van Horn to the New Jersey Nets for Jason Kidd. Dallas had been trying for weeks to acquire Kidd and his $20 million salary, but numerous obstacles kept popping up. In order to acquire Kidd and synch up the salaries, the Mavericks signed Keith Van Horn -- who hadn't played in the league in two years -- to a $4.3 million deal. They then swapped him and the rest of players to New Jersey, who instantly waived him.
Never had anyone benefited from a deal more than Van Horn did. Without even stepping on a basketball court, he un-retired and earned a cool $4.3 million.
Besides the financial aspect, the Mavericks had searched long and hard for a suitable combination that the Nets approved of. At one point, a seven-player deal involving Mavericks forward Devean George was consummated between the two teams. But George used his rarely known "Bird Rights" and prevented the deal from taking place. At another point, Mavericks guard Jerry Stackhouse was to be included in the deal. Dallas had no problem exiling Stackhouse, because they knew that the rebuilding Nets would instantly waive him. Then, after the prequesite 30 days, the Mavs could re-sign Stackhouse. But when Stackhouse gave an interview where he inferred that this was plan, the league stepped in and said that Stackhouse could only be traded to the Nets -- and could not return to Dallas. After that, the Mavs insisted on removing him from the transaction.
All in all, there may never have been a deal with more twists and turns. "It’s been the most amazing, interesting trade we’ve ever done, and we’ve done some doozies," said Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
The Mavericks hoped that the 34 year-old Kidd had enough left in him to make them a contender again. Since their first round exit to the Golden State Warriors, the Mavericks were barely in the playoff picture and were no threat to compete with the teams at the top. Kidd improved the team, though not nearly to the extent that they had planned on. In 2008, the Mavericks went out to the New Orleans Hornets in the first round of the postseason.
Meanwhile, the Nets got more than a consolation prize for Jason Kidd. Devin Harris quickly developed into a star and made the All-Star team in 2009. With Harris better, quicker, cheaper, and 10 years younger than Kidd, the Kidd-for-Harris deal was clearly won by the New Jersey Nets.