East Rutherford, N.J. Kobe Bryant wanted out of the Lakers' organization so badly after last season he probably would have welcomed a reunion with Shaquille O'Neal. Now Bryant loves L.A. again.
Jason Kidd wants out of New Jersey now. He would welcome a reunion with Dallas, where he started his career, or with his Team USA buddy Bryant. It's not likely that Kidd will do an about-face, and the Nets are not planning for one.
"I think we just need to play better basketball regardless of any extenuating circumstances," coach Lawrence Frank said Monday after the Nets prepared for Tuesday night's game with the Lakers. "I think the more you win, the better people feel about themselves and each other, unfortunately. But I don't think this is a cause where we win and now Jason changes his mind."
Team president Rod Thorn is looking for deals involving many of his players, not just Kidd. Dallas and the Lakers remain as possible new teams for the point guard.
If Thorn doesn't find anything he likes in the next 16 days, he could follow his good friend, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and hold onto his best player.
The Lakers-Bryant marriage seemed headed for a messy divorce. They patched up things quickly, though. Andrew Bynum, the big man Kobe wanted traded for Kidd, has emerged as a young star and Los Angeles is a Western power again. The Lakers made Bryant even happier over the weekend when they acquired big man Pau Gasol for no starters.
"They have a chance to be really good," Frank said. "You've got to give them credit for the move they made."
On Monday, the Nets completed the first of what could be several moves that reshape them.
They finalized the deal for Stromile Swift, sending Jason Collins and about $150,000 to Memphis for the athletic, yet enigmatic power forward. Swift, who will be at the shootaround Tuesday, hasn't lived up to the hype of being the No. 2 pick in the 2000 draft.
The Nets targeted Swift to keep up with the changing NBA game, which now favors smaller lineups and a quicker pace. It's the style that Kidd likes, but it may be too little, too late to please him.