Jason Kidd, making his most definitive statement to date about his future, says his intentions are "100 percent" to stick with the Nets.
"I've said my intentions are to stay in New Jersey," he told the New York Post. "That's my No. 1 choice."
"I'm 100 percent to stay. That's it. So we'll see what happens."
Throughout the past two seasons, Kidd has pointed to the elements that would keep him in New Jersey. By far, the most important is his having a legitimate chance to win a title. But he has mentioned other factors that would keep him, such as receiving a maximum contract; being certain team president Rod Thorn is in charge of basketball decisions; retaining Kenyon Martin and being around to watch the development of Martin and Richard Jefferson. What would drive him away?
"Honestly, I haven't even thought about it," Kidd said.
Obviously, these statements won't mean much until he signs on the dotted line. Yet, "It's great to hear," said Thorn. Coach Byron Scott echoed similar sentiments. "It makes me feel good (hearing that)," Scott said. "He's the cornerstone of this franchise. He's the best thing that ever happened to this franchise."
BROWN TO NORTH CAROLINA?
The buzz around Philly is that Larry Brown may take the North Carolina job, even though it would mean a big pay cut.
Asked about his interest in the opening, Brown said, "I have a lot of interest in the success of that program, and the school. I love it. I want to see it do well.
"But I've got a job, and I'm happy here. I've got a lot of things going for me, and I'm involved with a team that's really making progress, and doing good things, and I'm going to focus all my energy there."
So you decide what that means. If he takes the job in the next week or so, that could leave the Sixers in a terrible position heading into the playoffs.
Brown has made such a move before. While coaching the New Jersey Nets in the 1980s, he left the team late in the season as they made a playoff push, to become coach at Kansas, Dean Smith's alma mater.
Ed Snider, chairman of the company that owns the 76ers, said Brown would be "out of his mind" to take the job.
At 62, Brown is "too old to go back to college," Snider said. And Brown, who is under contract through the 2004-05 season for approximately $6 million a year, has a "good deal" with the Sixers.
"What's he going to do, go around recruiting at this stage of his life?"
The Warriors visit the Suns Friday night, then play in Dallas on Saturday evening.
According to league rules, teams can fly no more than one time zone when traveling to second city in a back-to-back set. But the Warriors will lose two hours on this trip.
According to Warriors coach Eric Musselman, the league acknowledged to the franchise that it had made a mistake with scheduling. Adding to the issue is the change of the Suns-Warriors game from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to accommodate ESPN.
Said Warriors player representative Adonal Foyle: "I don't know what the recourse for that is. You just hope the schedule will be better next year. I guess you just deal with it."
The Warriors estimate that they will not arrive in Dallas until 4 a.m.
NBA THANKS YAO
It seems clear who NBA officials would like to see named rookie of the year.
Commissioner David Stern and several other top-ranking league poo-bahs dropped in to chat with Yao Ming on Tuesday. Gushed Stern, who is eager to promote the Chinese center in Asia, "He's wry and good natured. He's got a gleam in his eye."
"Mostly, I just wanted to tell Yao, we're proud of him," Stern said. "He is answering 1,000 questions, the same ones he's heard so many times, with dignity, grace and good humor, and we recognize the burden he is under.
"He is very much an ambassador both ways. America is learning things about the Peoples' Republic of China and a lot of people in China are learning about America through him.
"That's the best we can do in sport. That's very important.
"Of course he is able to do this because he is an extremely gifted and talented basketball player. He also comes to this job with extreme burdens, based on the expectations of the most populous nation. "He has a very good sense of it. He has maturity beyond his years."
Said Yao of Stern, "Usually when I've seen him, I've seen him behind a podium. I didn't know he was that short."