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Kidd ready for return to Mavs ... if it happens

NEW ORLEANS -- He hedged because he had to, sometimes speaking of the New Jersey Nets in the present tense, other times talking about them as though they were already in his past.

Jason Kidd left the arena with his 9-year-old son, T.J., tugging at his sleeve and headed to the airport for a charter flight back to New Jersey -- a place he mistakenly called "a great city" in his postgame interview -- that would have him back home (well, his home for now) well before dawn.

All indications pointed to the likelihood that by the time the sun sets Monday, Kidd would be back on an airplane, this time heading to Dallas to take his physical, with the hope the on-again, off-again Dallas-New Jersey deal finally would reach the finish line.

"My agent told me it's very close," said Kidd, who learned at midafternoon via a phone call from his agent that the trade had been revived. "But until I'm told I'm not a Net, if all this falls apart again, hopefully we can find a way to make the playoffs and go from there."

Asked what he would miss most about New Jersey, Kidd quipped "the snow" before breaking into the past tense again.

"The state itself is beautiful, the golf is great, the fans were wonderful for the time we were there, and I wish them the best of luck."

If you watched only the first five minutes and the final two minutes of Sunday's All-Star game, you still saw enough from Kidd to see the different style of playmaking he would be bringing to the Mavericks.

His first seven passes of the game were all of the no-look variety, including a gorgeous outlet pass to Dwyane Wade off a steal for the game's first bucket. And the biggest defensive rebound of the evening fell into Kidd's hands with 18.5 seconds left after his soon-to-be-teammate, Dirk Nowitzki, took an ill-advised, closely contested 3-point shot that wasn't even close. Kidd added a little levity on the final inbounds play of the night, catching Nowitzki sleeping and bouncing the ball off his body, then retrieving it before the East ran out the clock.

"I look at myself as an easy fit no matter where I'm at. You don't have to run plays for me, you don't have to call my number; it's just a matter of me getting players the ball at the right time, play defense, do the little things, help rebound and play hard. That's my game, and it doesn't change no matter where I play at. I'm not a guy that shoots lights-out, but I feel I want the ball down the stretch to make a play or be involved in the play, and I enjoy that," Kidd said.

If the trade goes through -- and some were cautioning Sunday night that it was far from a slam dunk, especially if Keith Van Horn does not want to spend the rest of the season playing for the Nets, which the league quite possibly would require -- Kidd will be back in this arena Wednesday night for his Dallas debut. Mavs point guard Devin Harris -- although likely still out with a sprained ankle -- could join the Nets as early as Tuesday night, when New Jersey plays at home against Chicago.

Kidd's arrival would make the Mavericks one of the league's oldest teams, especially with Jerry Stackhouse now sticking with Dallas. His first challenge might be finding the right mix between his preferred fast-breaking style and the Mavs' propensity to play in the half-court.

He is far too slow to keep up with the speediest point guards in the West, but his savvy and experience are qualities the Mavericks wouldn't have gotten from Harris unless they were willing to spend another three to five seasons allowing him to mature.

In NBA terms, Kidd is an old man, and it was that old man inside him that kept his feet planted when he was introduced with the rest of the Eastern Conference starters, several of whom danced to the rhythm of the jazz music that accompanied the intros.

"I was supposed to be dancing, then I heard my name and I raised my hand because that was my out to get out of dancing. These young guys, they gave me a two-step move, and I can only get to two steps. So I had to find a way to get out of it," Kidd said.

Deep down, Kidd knew he had to get out of New Jersey, too. The writing has been on the wall since the Nets told him early in the season that they were not prepared to give him a contract extension, and his name had been in trade scuttlebutt for years.

Now, it appears the guy who has only two dance steps will be heading to the state that's home to the two-step.

Then again, the NBA hasn't been all that happy with the way the Mavs and Nets have been dancing around various trade-related rules, so it remains possible the deal won't go down, although Kidd seemed fairly convinced that only one more night of limbo awaited him.

"I just want to be one of the pieces that fit in and help us in, and for Dirk and Josh [Howard] or anybody else, it's only a matter of being ready to catch the ball and score," Kidd said. "I've played this game for a while, so it's not going to take long -- if it happens."

Like he said, if it happens. But it sure sounded as though he expects it will.

Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider. To e-mail Chris, click here.