What if Jason Kidd actually signed with the Spurs in 2003?
Tonight, head coach Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks visit the San Antonio Spurs, who actually have an old history filled with intrigue and what-ifs.
Remember when the Spurs could've signed the former All-Star point guard 13 years ago?
Back in 2003, San Antonio clinched the West title and put a stop to the Los Angeles Lakers' efforts to become the first team to win four consecutive NBA titles since the Boston Celtics won eight straight from 1959 to 1967.
They went on to defeat the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals -- but still had dreams of making their team stronger.
Kidd, in his prime at the time coming off a campaign in which he averaged a career-high 18.9 points, 8.9 assists and 6.3 rebounds with the New Jersey Nets, was set to become a free agent. Despite watching a young Tony Parker develop into a nice facilitator for perennial MVP candidate Tim Duncan, the Spurs' brain trust saw value in trying to persuade the flashy point guard to join the team and kick off a dynasty (they did anyway, but that's besides the point).
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was actually on record, talking about the potential courtship in 2013:
"I thought that Jason Kidd being there," Popovich said, "being the mentally tough person that he is and with his skills, that would be the greatest education for Tony Parker. And Tony can go play 2. Let him play the 2 position. He was a scoring guard at the time anyway. Not a great shooter, but we could figure it out, and let Jason be the point. As Jason gets older, let him move over to 2, let Tony take 1. Brilliant, brilliant. This is great. Let's go get this thing done. Tony did not love that idea at all. But we still tried to do it."
After two straight trips to the NBA Finals, but no ring to show for it, Kidd still resisted the temptation to team up with Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and company. He stayed in New Jersey, instead re-signing with the Nets for six years and $99 million -- a move he came to regret when the franchise was sold to the developer Bruce Ratner and kicked off extravagant plans (and cost cutting) for a move to Brooklyn in the future.
Think about it for a second.
What would've happened if Kidd joined? Would they have been better? Would they have won the finals in '03-04, '05-06 and '07-08, bringing Pop's ring total to EIGHT?
We'll never know.
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