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Jason Kidd regrets not playing with Tim Duncan

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Tim Duncan announced his retirement Monday as one of the most accomplished power forwards of all time. The most prominent of The Big Fundamental’s accolades are the five NBA championships he won during his 19 seasons as a San Antonio Spur, but as it turns out he was very close to having several more. Before the modern era of LeBron James’ and Kevin Durant’s superteams, the Spurs were very close to adding the best player in the Eastern Conference at the time, Jason Kidd, to the defending champions’ roster in 2003.

Following the loss of Kidd’s Nets in the 2003 NBA Finals to Duncan’s Spurs, free agent Jason Kidd visited San Antonio as a potential destination. As Kidd tells ESPN’s Ohm Youngmlsuk, he came very close to relocating to Texas:

“I thought I was going to be a Spur, I committed when I was down there on my visit (to San Antonio). On my flight home, I think I got cold feet, and sometimes I have nightmares about that. Maybe I could have won a championship or two there. But I got really lucky with Dallas and won a championship.”

He added that the decision to take a six-year, $103 million deal to stay in New Jersey instead of moving to San Antonio was his “biggest disappointment.” At the time the New Jersey Nets were back-to-back Eastern Conference Champions, but were unable to make the final leap to become champions. During the 2003 series against the Spurs, the Nets lasted six games but were ultimately dominated by Duncan, who averaged 24.2 points, 17 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 5.3 blocks in the series.

In 2002 Kidd was runner up to Duncan in the MVP race, so to see them play on the same team during their primes would have been incredible. However it may have altered San Antonio’s big three as point guard Tony Parker would have likely been moved to make room for Kidd. As for the Nets, new ownership significantly rebuilt the roster, and the team has never made it back to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Kidd would eventually earn a championship in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks, but he can only imagine how many more championships that could have been, as the Spurs won in 2005 and 2007 without his help.

Kidd praised Duncan upon the Big Fundament’s retirement announcement:

“He is a great teammate, a great player, and a great person. When you have those ingredients in a champion, you just want to be a part of that and have an opportunity to play with him. But I only got to play with him in All-Star games and with Team USA. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play with him with the Spurs.”

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