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Friday, June 29
Kidd downplays role of off-court trouble

Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Jason Kidd said his trade from the Phoenix Suns to the New Jersey Nets caught him by surprise, even though he heard speculation last season that his days in Arizona were numbered.

The first-team All-NBA point guard believes his arrest in January on a domestic violence charge may have played a part in the Suns' decision to send him to the Nets on Thursday.

"That could be, but most likely, people will say it's a basketball decision," Kidd said in his first news conference since the deal.

With his wife, Joumana, at his side, Kidd expressed regret about leaving Phoenix, but hope about his prospects in New Jersey. Kidd talked about his trade after appearing at a summer basketball camp he operates for kids.

The Suns are sending Kidd to the Nets for point guard Stephon Marbury.

Insisting Kidd's off-court problems had nothing to do with the deal, Suns owner Jerry Colangelo has said the trade was necessary to bring excitement and personality to the team.

Calls to the Suns on Friday were not immediately returned.

The franchise experienced sagging attendance in recent seasons, and Kidd's off-court problems added to the Suns' woes.

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

The Suns signed free agent Penny Hardaway in 1999, but injuries prevented Hardaway and Kidd from playing together most of the last two seasons.

Kidd said he was proud of his performance in Phoenix, even though he felt injuries kept the team from having what he felt was a complete roster. "I had to play the cards I was dealt," Kidd said.

Even though he was upset to have first heard about the trade through news reports and not his boss, Kidd said he was treated fairly in the deal.

Still, the guard said he wished he had gotten more support from Suns management after his arrest for allegedly striking his wife.

He reached a plea agreement that included counseling, asked fans for forgiveness and promised it wouldn't happen again. The couple has reconciled.

"I still went to work. You've got to understand ...," he said. "I never threw in the tent."

Joumana Kidd said her husband took responsibility for his actions.

"The president of the United States didn't stand up like my husband did," she said, referring to President Clinton's initial denials of his affair with a White House intern.

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