In 2003, the New Jersey Nets were one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. Led by Jason Kidd and a host of other key players like Kenyon Martin, Richard Jefferson, Kerry Kittles and even Dikembe Mutumbo, the team advanced to the NBA Finals where they eventually lost 4-2 to the San Antonio Spurs. It was their second straight year that they were eliminated in the NBA Finals.
After back-to-back NBA Finals eliminations, the Nets’ star point guard nearly bid farewell to the New Jersey franchise. The All-Star Guardian recently revealed on an episode of the All The Smoke podcast that he was “very, very close” to joining the Spurs after being eliminated by them in 2003.
On the podcast, hosted by Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, Jackson seemingly surprised Kidd by asking how close Kidd was to joining his Spurs team after leaving.
“How close were you the year after we made it to the finals?” Jackson asked.
“I was there. So I’m meeting up with Tim and Pop and I’m in,” Kidd said. “The only thing that stopped me was, and it was a small thing, I was like, ‘Man, I have to sit here and watch you guys get the rings after you just lost to yourselves.’ This is just a game and we will get through it and we will have chances to win more. But then the loyalty to build something in Jersey and “I think we could do it” but not knowing the business side of what was coming. They traded with K-Mart the following year and things quickly fell apart. But being a lead was very, very close.”
Kidd almost joined the Spurs after losing to them in the Finals is interesting when you compare it to Kevin Durant leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors after losing to them in the Western Conference Finals Has. Would Kidd have faced the same criticism as Durant did in 2003? The situations are similar Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker just won an NBA championship and Greg Popovich and Duncan met to recruit Kidd for San Antonio.
Ultimately, Kidd remained loyal to the Nets, only returning so the team could be dismantled. Jackson revealed another interesting nugget about what Kidd’s signing for Tony Parker in San Antonio would have meant.
Stephen Jackson shared how he knew Kidd was so close to joining Spurs and how it could have changed the NBA.
“If J-Kidd comes, you stay in San Antonio. If not, you’re going to Atlanta because they’re going to keep Tony,” Jackson said. “Me, J-Kidd, Gino and Tim? I would have more chips”
Kidd ended up back in New Jersey and Tony Parker stayed with the San Antonio Spurs where he won NBA titles.