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Friday, June 29, 2001
Both Kidd and Marbury to get fresh starts

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns are sending first-team all-NBA point guard Jason Kidd to the New Jersey Nets for All-Star point guard Stephon Marbury.

Stephon Marbury

Jason Kidd

Suns owner Jerry Colangelo confirmed the deal at a news conference late Thursday afternoon.

"This was a basketball judgment call regarding where we were as a franchise, where we were going and what our preference was in going forward," Colangelo said. "I hope and pray that it's a deal that both teams can look back on and say `This was a good deal for our team."'

Other players would be involved, but Kidd and Marbury were the main components of the trade.

"The rest is mainly just to make salary cap numbers work," Colangelo said.

Battle of point guards
  Kidd Marbury
Age 28 24
Seasons 7 6
Scoring avg. 14.1 20.0
Assists avg. 9.4 8.2
Turnover avg. 3.3 3.2
Playoff games 22 8
All-Star games 4 1

The Suns apparently will have to add one or more players to make the trade work, because Kidd will earn about $8.5 million next season, and Marbury $11 million.

According to the Friday edition of The New York Times, the Suns are expected to get forward Johnny Newman and center Soumaila Samake from the Nets and send forward Chris Dudley to New Jersey. Dudley then, according to the Times, likely would be waived by the Nets.

The deal could not be made official until July 18 because of base compensation and contract issues, Colangelo said. But the agreement has already been made between the teams.

"Jason is the best rebounding point guard in the league," Nets president Rod Thorn said. "He's All-NBA in defense and we need help on defense. On the whole, I think we helped our team dramatically."

Colangelo said Kidd was upset he wasn't notified of the deal by the club before he heard about it in news reports. The Suns owner apologized, but said the only reason the trade was made public Thursday was because it had been leaked to several news organizations.

"If he's upset, I understand," Colangelo said. "I apologize for something I had no control over. I wish him the very best, and we'll miss him, for a lot of reasons."

Kidd did not respond to an Associated Press call but told Phoenix television station KSAZ that the trade was just part of pro basketball, a game with no guarantees.

"You're never guaranteed, one, to be able to play this game the day after you play a game," he said. "The other side is, you're never guaranteed to be on that team forever, so you just got to take it with a grain of salt and show your talents every time you have that opportunity to play."

The stunning trade signals a major makeover for a Suns team that had been built around Kidd. The franchise had experienced sagging attendance in recent seasons, and Kidd's off-court problems had added to the Suns' woes.

Colangelo called it "a general malaise on the part of our fans."

He said the trade was necessary to bring some much needed excitement and personality to the team.

"There were a lot of games I didn't enjoy myself, so how could I expect the fans to enjoy them?" he said.

Kidd, 28, was first team all-NBA the past two seasons and was part of the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the Sydney Olympics.

He played 4½ seasons for the Suns and became one of only three players to lead the league in assists at least three years in a row. He rehabilitated a somewhat tarnished image he developed in his early NBA days in Dallas and became a model citizen in Phoenix.

He and his wife, Joumana, were a visible couple in Phoenix. But last January, Kidd was arrested at his home and accused of striking his wife.

He reached a plea agreement that included counseling and, in a postgame radio appearance, asked Suns' fans for forgiveness and promised such an incident never would happen again.

Kidd averaged 16.9 points and 9.8 assists a game last season and shot 41 percent from the field.

The Suns made the playoffs in all five of Kidd's seasons, but advanced beyond the first round only once.

When the Suns obtained Penny Hardaway in a sign-and-trade deal with the Orlando Magic, he and Kidd were dubbed "Backcourt 2000," but injuries prevented the two from playing together most of the last two seasons.

Colangelo was especially eager to blend Marbury's offensive explosiveness with that of forward Shawn Marion, who led the Suns with 17.3 points a game last season.

"I'm looking forward to seeing some new juice, some excitement," Colangelo said. "And I'm really, really infatuated with Marbury and Marion feeding off one another."

Marbury, 24, averaged a career-high 23.9 points and 7.6 assists per game last season and shot 44 percent. However, the Nets were just 26-56 and the point guard didn't hide his disgust with the situation and suggested he should be traded.

"I think I can win a championship with this team," Marbury said during a conference call Thursday night. "This will make my career go through the roof."

Colangelo compared Marbury to league MVP Allen Iverson in style and ability.

"There are a lot of people in the league who will say Marbury is as talented a player as there is in the league," Colangelo said. "That's not pressure on Marbury. That's just to say the guy has real talent."

The Suns tried to move up to get Marbury in the 1996 draft, but he went to Milwaukee with the fourth pick overall and his rights were traded to Minnesota.

At his own request to be closer to his Brooklyn home, he was traded to New Jersey midway through the 1998-99 season.

Marbury was a teammate of current Suns forward Tom Gugliotta at Minnesota, where the two reportedly did not get along well.

Colangelo, who said Kidd's off-court problems had nothing to do with the deal, said to expect more trades soon.

"We're in an action mode," he said. "I'm just telling you there's more to come."

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