A Jersey Stomp

By Clinton Hosannah
Updated: February 15, 2008

Toronto RaptorsTORONTO — The possibility for another mega-trade throughout the league involving Jason Kidd going back to the Dallas Mavericks, kept the future Hall of Famer out of the New Jersey lineup against the Toronto Raptors, and the Nets paid the ultimate price.

The Raptors cruised to a 109-91 victory to cap off the official midway mark of the season before they embark on their time away in New Orleans for All-Star weekend.

Unfortunately for the Nets, being caught in the Matrix meant no leadership and hardly any great passing by second string guard Marcus Williams. A mediocre showing by Richard Jefferson and a lackadaisical performance by former Raptor Vince Carter set the backdrop to this sombre drama.

“It’s been a very very emotional day and it was hard, I wish we had competed a lot harder,” said New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank. “But you got to give Toronto credit.”

With the NBA trade deadline looming, the pressure is on to keep up with the Joneses. Teams are preparing to duel in the play-offs and some are re-constructing in order to build around their franchise player, like the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade.

The Raptors’ prognosticator, GM and President, Bryan Colangelo, will also be in the market. His All-Star weekend will be more about work than it will fun.

“I got to go work that’s the problem I got to go down there and I got meetings scheduled, [the] competition committee meeting, and a lot of things to address…trade deadline is a week away so there’s things for me to do,” said Colangelo. “I sleep in the off season.”

Although the GM tends not to comment on the affairs of other teams, he did point out that New Jersey had their hands tied in the trade fiasco.

“By virtue of the rules of the C.B.A. (Collective Bargaining Agreement) that allow the player to have the rights here in this case, and he’s (Devean George) controlling the cards. So whether or not they get it worked out is an unknown right now,” said Colangelo.

In a situation like this things can get sticky with everyone involved. It seems almost impossible for mavericks’ players, administration and fans, to not be upset with Devean George.

But in that same breath one wonders how George, a 6-foot-8 forward who has a 3.8 ppg average, and who shot 0-for-11 the night he stopped the trade, was able to obtain a contract that would allow him to wield such power?

“It’s life, things happen and you roll with the punches,” said Frank. The Raptors were also affected by the trade rumours. Fortunately they did not have to adjust much of their plans.

“Anytime a trade goes down right before the game, that kind of catches you off guard,” said Chris Bosh about the Nets’ misfortune. “All of a sudden you have to change up your mentality…guys that usually don’t play they have to step up.”

Management, however, is taking the win lightly knowing that Kidd would have been a factor in the way the game could have turned out, had he played.

“It is a circumstance that oddly the deal was held up to the extent that a couple of players didn’t play tonight, putting us in a favourable position,” said Colangelo. “Of course Jason not playing changed everything.”

As for the Dinos, it’s off to New Orleans for the team. Four of them will be making All-Star appearances and the rest are looking forward to the time off.

“It’s a game to have fun, that’s how it’s supposed to be,” said Andrea Bargnani, speaking about the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge.. “Play, shoot, never pass the ball…no stress no pressure.”