Jason Kidd has spent 16 seasons chasing an elusive NBA championship. He knows better than most that it takes the right mix of players, execution and a little luck to get it done.
"You see you can have the best player in the world and not be guaranteed to make it to the Eastern Conference finals or to the [NBA] Finals," Kidd said, referring to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers losing in the second round to the Boston Celtics. "So, that's basketball and that's what you love and also sometimes as a player you hate -- you hate to be on the end of losing when you feel you have a good chance."
Kidd had thought the trade the Dallas Mavericks made during the All-Star break put them in position to challenge the Los Angeles Lakers for Western Conference supremacy. Instead, the Mavs were ousted in the first round.
"That was one of the best teams I've been on, on the court and also in the locker room. So, on paper we were pretty good," Kidd said. "But, you don't win championships on paper."
So it's back to the drawing board and like every other team with the means, the Mavs will make their pitch to acquire James, the game's most sought-after player.
Kidd knows James well from their summers training for and playing in the 2008 Olympic Games. He said Mavs owner Mark Cuban has not asked him to help recruit James. The Mavs would have to work out a sign-and-trade for James, a scenario that could happen if James forced Cleveland's hand and demanded a trade to Dallas.
Kidd said he spoke to James to wish him luck during the Boston series, but he has not talked to him since the Cavs lost. James has failed to get the Cavs back to the NBA Finals since being swept by San Antonio in 2007.
"I know he'll probably be under the radar for a while because he's probably upset," Kidd said. "And then the media will be chasing him wherever he goes because this is a once-in-a-lifetime deal for him to be a free agent and kind of dictate of where he wants to play or if he wants to stay in Cleveland. It's going to be exciting with him, D-Wade, Chris Bosh and all these free agents.
"All the teams would love to have LeBron, but there's only one team that gets him. ... Even if he stays in Cleveland, there's probably going to be a lot of movement, especially with all those teams that are under the cap. So, there's probably going to be players that are maybe overpaid and players that go to teams that are good and they're going to make them better."