It's hard to believe that it has been less than a year since Jason Kidd forced his way off the Nets. Kidd quit on the team last December and moped his way through a couple of months before the Mavericks made their misguided trade in hopes of gaining a title. It didn't work out for Kidd, who is averaging fewer points and assists than he did in New Jersey, or the Mavericks, who didn't make it out of the first round.
It's worked beautifully for the Nets, however. Devin Harris was picked up for future returns, but he's outplaying Kidd now and will continue to lead the Nets after Kidd retires. Ryan Anderson, picked up with Dallas' first-rounder, has looked like a player. He's scoring seven points a game and playing 18 minutes a night. They still have another first-round pick coming their way in 2010, which means the trade should continue to seed the next Nets contender.
But Kidd's unacceptable off-court behavior and uselessness to the future of the franchise shouldn't obscure how much he meant to the Nets. The day he came to the team in a trade for Stephon Marbury is the day that the team officially ceased to be a punchline. Kidd made the Nets a serious team, made every one of his teammates better and, ultimately, won back-to-back Eastern Conference titles.
Hopefully the way the trade worked out will mean that however many Nets fans brave the snowy conditions to take in the game, and there aren't many on the best of nights, will give Kidd a rousing ovation. His time with the team is done, but his legacy may be as a linchpin in two great eras for the franchise.