Jason Kidd opened up Friday for the first time since the disappointing first-round series loss to San Antonio. He talked about skipping the team's final-day meetings as well as other topics.
The full story is available here. Here's an excerpt of the interview:
Q: Were you sick going into the series?
A: Yeah. I was sick, but that doesn’t affect my play. San Antonio just played better than we did. We couldn’t make shots.
Q: You also had a back issue?
A: My back was sore, I had back spasms, but it wasn't anything that was alarming or anything. You’re going to have bumps and bruises. I made it all the way to the end without any significant bruises or bumps until the back being a little tight on me. But Casey [Smith, head athletic trainer], we did everything, the only thing that I had was a cold, I was a little bit under the weather, but that was it.
Q: Do you believe your leadership should come into question because of your absence?
A: The big thing is I didn’t let anybody down. Everybody is going to have their opinion, but I think we were all disappointed the way the season ended and so I don’t know what else I could do. They knew I wasn’t going to be there, so I don’t know what else I could say. Overall, I think we had a great season, we had a great run. We were put in a position to play a little bit longer than we did, but we ran into a team that made shots and we didn’t. And then you watch the next series and it was kind of like that was us, Phoenix made all its shots and San Antonio didn’t and they couldn’t stop them.
Q: What do you believe is the missing ingredient for this team?
A: Mark Cuban put a great team together. 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. But you don’t win championships on paper. You try to put yourself in that position and we were there, it’s just San Antonio was the better team.
Q: Are you comfortable moving forward with coach Rick Carlisle?
A: Yeah. Coach Carlisle, he’s a great coach. Cuban wouldn’t have hired him if he didn’t believe he could do the job.
Q: Do the Mavs need more players who can drive to the basket and create their own shots?
A: You always wish you could have a guy that could get to the basket any time he wants. But when you look at our team, we thrive on knocking down jump shots. We get a lot of good looks. A lot of times we play through the Dirk [Nowitzki]. The big thing is for us, we felt we had all the components, we were big, we could play small, we had one of the top five players in the league [Nowitzki], but again, basketball can be mean sometimes."
Q: Were you surprised to see Phoenix sweep San Antonio?
A: Phoenix is playing well. This time of the year, it’s who’s playing well. The ball’s bouncing their way, their role players are playing well. You have the kid [Goran Dragic] that ocmes off the bench and scores 20-something points  in 17 minutes. That’s what makes the game fun, the unknown. Phoenix probably wished they didn’t have to wait until Monday to play to keep that momentum going, but you've got two of the best teams in the West fighting it out. 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. 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.
Q: Have you spoken to LeBron James since Cleveland lost to Boston?
A: I haven’t. I talked to him and wished him luck during the series. I know he’ll probably be under the radar for a while because he’s probably upset. And then the media will be chasing him wherever he goes because this is a once-in-a-lifetime deal for him, I think to be a free agent and kind of dictate 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.