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If Kidd Is Skipper, the Crew May Go Overboard

February 23, 1996|MARK HEISLER

Whatever happened to the team of the '90s?

The Dallas Mavericks and their three famous Js--Jason Kidd, Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn--are nip and tuck with the Clippers.

Mashburn, who has proven to be a one-dimensional gunner, is out for the season. Jackson, who was sidelined at the end of last season because of an ankle injury, hasn't recovered his form. He and Mashburn have quarreled publicly, even drawing Kidd into it, unhappily.

"Those two guys have been in the league longer than I have," Kidd told the Dallas Morning News last week. "For me to look up to them, why should I do that if they're going to have those kind of problems early on?

"Why shouldn't I just go buy my own boat and have everybody jump on my boat instead of everybody getting in their boat, when we don't know who's steering the boat?"

Replied Jackson: "He makes enough money, if he wants to buy his own boat, let him buy it. Buy 20 of them. Buy a yacht. I hope he has an anchor and some life rafts."

The Mavericks, who rank 27th on defense in the NBA, hope to sign a big free agent. They're not only willing to trade one of their Js, insiders say Dick Motta, the coach and personnel boss, has indicated a willingness to deal two--as long as Kidd stays.

"We're right at the bottom of the barrel," Kidd said. "We're rebuilding, and we all know that. . . .

"We're playing teams like Utah down to the last shot, a team that's been together for 10, 11 years. You're talking about Karl Malone and John Stockton and [Jeff] Hornacek. I mean, it makes you feel good inside, that, hey, maybe when we're in our 10, 11th year, we'll have that same kind of camaraderie and that same kind of fun that we can win close ballgames. It's going to take time."

At the Mavericks' pace, they might not have enough time.

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