Kobe Bryant has long looked at Jason Kidd and thought, "What could've been?" But now that question should take on a whole new meaning in Kobe's mind.
To Kobe, Kidd should be the latest example of how the grass isn't always greener somewhere else. How many superstars have recently demanded trades and ended up in similar or worse situations -- or proven themselves not good enough to get a team over the hump?
Vince Carter demanded out of Toronto, and while he's played well in New Jersey, his Nets haven't gone any further (second round) than his Raptors did. Furthermore, the Raptors are now better than the Nets.
Allen Iverson asked out of Philadelphia (sort of), and while the Nuggets are a legitimately good team, A.I.'s no closer to winning a title in Denver than he was with the Sixers. In fact, he'll probably never get to the finals with Denver, as he did once in Philly. Plus, things are looking up for the Sixers.
Ron Artest got his wish of being traded from Indiana and now he might as well be playing in Siberia. With the Pacers, Artest was playing for a legitimate Eastern Conference contender, a team that would probably still be strong if he hadn't bounced. In Sacramento, he's about to miss the playoffs for the second straight season.
Shawn Marion complained and complained and complained his way out of Phoenix and wound up with the worst team in the NBA. Instead of playing for a shot at the finals, he's injured and watching the equivalent of an NBDL team lead the Heat to the lottery.
Meanwhile, the contract extension Marion wanted in Phoenix is far from a certainty in Miami. And after averaging just 14 points on 46 percent shooting as the Heat went 3-12 with him on the floor, his stock has -- if anything -- fallen a bit on the open market.
Steve Francis acted a fool in Houston, got traded to Orlando and now, after an ugly stint in New York, he's on the Rockets' bench and viewed as arguably one of the most overrated players in league history.
I guess you can say things worked out for Alonzo Mourning, who demanded out of Jersey. He went back to Miami and got a ring, but while Zo' played a strong role in the run to the title, he was coming off the bench and no longer a star.
And now we have J-Kidd. He's truly a great player, but Dallas' collapse since the trade does not look good for him. I mean, he criticized the Nets for not having enough talent, then they put him on a team with the reigning MVP, a team that won 67 games last year, and he turns them into a lottery squad!
I know it's not all J-Kidd's fault, but there can't be a person on earth who believes Dallas would have threatened to miss the playoffs if it hadn't made this trade.
You can talk all you want about Dallas being overrated, about Avery Johnson over-coaching himself out of a job, and about Dirk's injury. But no matter how you slice it, this falls on Kidd, especially since he demanded the trade.
Ironically, Kevin Garnett, the one superstar who showed undying loyalty (too much, in my opinion) and never demanded a trade is the one who actually got what he deserved.
KG, so classy that he took the high road when Minnesota's foolish owner, Glen Taylor, criticized him recently, is the one guy who got what all the aforementioned superstars desired -- a legitimate shot at a ring (and a lucrative extension, I might add).
Oh, and Ray Allen never demanded a trade either, and he, of course, has a shot at a title, too.
Imagine if the Lakers had bowed to Kobe and traded him to Chicago. Andrew Bynum would have developed into a great big man with Pau Gasol (no reason to think the Lakers would not have still made that trade) and Lamar Odom alongside him. And the Lakers collection of guards (not to mention what they'd have gotten from Chicago) would probably have made them a contender in the future.
Meanwhile, Kobe would be playing in MJ's house without enjoying MJ's success. His Bulls would be an also-ran playoff team in the weak Eastern Conference. He'd have no hope of beating Boston or Detroit and inside he'd be what many of the above superstars probably are -- regretful.