December 28, 1996 in Sports

Sonics To Test Kidd-Less Mavericks Tonight

Bob Condotta Tacoma News Tribune
 

George Karl called the trade of Jason Kidd by the Dallas Mavericks to the Phoenix Suns “interesting.”

Eric Snow said “he had a lot of questions” about it.

The general feeling is that the Suns may have gotten the better of the trade by dealing off three question marks in Sam Cassell, Michael Finley and A.C. Green for Kidd, regarded as a franchise player when he was drafted three years ago and who has six years left on his contract.

Of more immediate concern to the Sonics, however, is how it may affect tonight’s game in Dallas against the Mavericks, which starts at 5:30 PST at Reunion Arena.

“We’ll probably have the same game plan,” Snow said. “They will still have the same (plays) just different personnel. But those (three new players) are guys we’ve played against twice already this year.”

All three are expected to be in uniform tonight.

And, as Karl pointed out, Kidd wasn’t expected to play anyway with a sprained neck, and didn’t play during Seattle’s 93-79 win at KeyArena last Sunday.

“The team we played here a week ago isn’t affected at all by the trade,” Karl said. “None of the guys who played in that game were traded. They just added guys to that team.”

Tonight, Karl and company are more concerned with how to deal with Derek Harper, Kidd’s replacement, and George McCloud, who each gave the Sonics problems in that game a week ago.

Thursday’s trade definitely affects the future of the Western Conference and Pacific Division. Phoenix, which had a roster full of players who will be free agents at the end of the season, got a head start at the rebuilding it was expected to do this summer.

“I think Jason’s very good,” said Karl, who coached him in the All-Star game two years ago. “I think he’s one of the great players in the game.

“I think Phoenix got the point guard they are going to build around and this is just the start of their new direction. (The trade) was just the beginning of their new foundation.”

As for Dallas, Karl said, “Finley was probably the A player for them in that trade.”

Notes

One key to the Sonics’ current five-game winning streak has been better shooting all around. Seattle has shot 39 percent or better from the 3-point line in four of the five games, and has shot 70 percent or better from the free-throw line in the last six games. … If the Sonics win tonight, they will have the same record after 31 games they had last year.


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