East Rutherford, N.J. — Jason Kidd insisted a migraine caused him to miss a New Jersey Nets game, brushing aside reports he was staging a personal one-day strike to induce a trade or force a new contract.
"I didn't miss a game due to unhappiness, that's the first thing to clear up," the All-Star guard said Thursday at a news conference he called at the Nets' headquarters.
Kidd said he was hit in the mouth Tuesday night in a game against Cleveland, and he later developed a migraine. He alerted trainer Tim Walsh about the problem Wednesday about noon, and he later called and said he could not play against the New York Knicks. The Nets lost, 100-93.
"I am human, at the end of the day, I am human," said Kidd, who didn't seem angry with all the attention the reports created. "I went out and played with one leg. I played with a broken rib and yesterday, I just couldn't go. There was no plan of me not going. I was felt that I couldn't help the team."
Kidd's unexpected absence created instant headlines.
A source told the New York Post that Kidd was "on strike." Yahoo reported that he was looking to be traded to Cleveland to play with LeBron James. There also were reports that Kidd wanted his contract renegotiated.
Kidd said he learned of the fuss after receiving a telephone call from his mother.
He insisted he never asked to be traded, noting recent comments he made about playing with James and Kobe Bryant were just no-brainer answers to questions posed about whether he would like to play with them at some point.
"I am having one of my best seasons," Kidd said. "Why would I want to be asked to be traded? And as a team (9-10) we are doing better than last year."
Kidd is under contract through the end of next season, making $19.7 million this year and $21.3 million next. He and Nets president Rod Thorn refused to discuss any current contract talks.
"I'm not upset," said Kidd, who was the subject of trade rumors involving the Los Angeles Lakers in February. "Everything has been taken out of context. I was sick yesterday and I couldn't play. Everyone has come up with their own theory of me being upset."
Even if Kidd were upset, he could not come out and say it. The team could fine him for deliberately missing a game, a penalty that would cost him $240,585.37, his game-day salary.
"I would never abuse the game of basketball," Kidd said.
Thorn had no reason to doubt Kidd, adding he would not desert his teammates to make a point.
"He was sick," Thorn said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "He was very hurt about some of things in some of the articles."
Kidd said he watched the game in a dark room at home on Wednesday night and then went to bed. He still had a headache on Thursday. He hoped to play here on Friday against the Houston Rockets.
"It's not something that needs to be a big deal, but somehow it has turned into a bigger deal than it is," Kidd said. "We'll move forward and hopefully the migraine will go away."