The Zionist Conspiracy
Thursday, February 14, 2008
The Seaver Trade, The Erving Sale and the Jason Kidd Era
Despite the current snag in the prospective deal between the Nets and the Mavericks, it is clear that the Jason Kidd era is over for the Nets.
The greatest players in Nets franchise history are Julius Erving, followed by Kidd. Erving led the Nets to two ABA championships. Kidd led the change from NBA doormat to six straight playoff appearances, including two NBA Finals appearances in his first two seasons here.
Yet it remains to be seen how Kidd will be remembered by Nets fans. After Kidd sat out on December 5 due to a purported migraine, Nets fans could sense that the end was near. Kidd's recent lackluster effort and public trade demands have resulted in fans like me being excited about what the Nets would be getting back from Dallas and hardly feeling nostalgic about the Nets' most successful period in the NBA.
The Nets' sale of Erving is remembered as catastrophic for the franchise, which it was. The ABA's best team immediately became one of the NBA's worst. But Erving was sold only after the Nets were forced to pay millions to join the NBA, millions more to the Knicks, and Erving then held out of training camp demanding a pay raise. Yet history has judged the Nets ownership at the time very harshly.
Tom Seaver was traded only after taking shots at Mets ownership and management, demanded that his contract be renegotiated, and, after tentatively agreeing to an extension, then demanded a trade after Post columnist Dick Young (whose son-in-law worked in the Mets front office) ripped Seaver one time too many and Seaver lost his temper.
The Seaver trade was catastrophic for the Mets, and led to a revolt among fans. The team, predictably, became terrible. Ownership was blasted, while Seaver remained a beloved figure.
Does Kidd deserve to be remembered differently then Nets fans remember Dr. J and Mets fans remember Seaver? Nets ownership and management surely deserve blame for taking an elite team and making it a second round playoff team. The Nets gave Kenyon Martin away and never replaced him, sold draft picks, cut decent players just to save money and were content with being less than a top contender. The Nets also refused to give Kidd a one-year contract extension that he probably deserved.
On the other hand, the Nets did spend some money, particularly on Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson and Kidd himself. While too many of management's moves didn't work out, the Nets didn't resemble M. Donald Grant's Mets.
While Kidd can still play at a high level when he wants to, unlike Erving and Seaver at the time they were sold and traded, Kidd has passed his peak, providing another reason why fans aren't broken up about his departure.
But perhaps the biggest reason why fans were devastated by the Erving and Seaver trades but not the idea of trading Kidd is that sports have changed a lot over the past three decades. Players are no longer expected to play their entire careers - let alone more than a few years - with one team. Trade demands are routine, especially in the NBA. Fans are more cynical, and rarely become as emotionally attached to players anymore - even franchise players.