'You weren't in the room'
The All-Star point guard insisted Monday that he never screamed at teammates at a 30-minute, closed-door team meeting after the Nets' 110-63 loss Saturday night to the Grizzlies.
Loud arguments, often decorated with profanity, could be heard in the hallway after the game in Memphis. Several area newspapers reported that Kidd's voice could be heard clearly at times.
"I didn't yell," Kidd said Monday. "You guys had your ear on the door. I wasn't speaking to you guys, so you figured you needed to get close. You weren't in the room. It wasn't directed toward you guys.
"What I said was to my teammates. I respect my teammates as much as they respect me. It wasn't anything out of character. It was the way I thought the team was feeling at the time and I thought I would just express it."
The two-time defending Eastern Conference champions have struggled this season, posting an 11-12 record. The poor performance has raised speculation that coach Byron Scott's job might be in jeopardy.
Kidd was annoyed that his locker room talk drew so much attention.
"If you weren't in there, it wasn't directed toward you guys, so there was nothing to write about," he said. "A lot of stuff you guys have written was way out in right field."
Kidd refused to explain what might have been misrepresented in the postgame stories.
"When you get the invitation in the mail, then you can write it," Kidd said. "If you are not invited to the party, don't write anything."
A reporter told Kidd that it's newsworthy when the team's best player could be heard screaming through the door.
"You're lying!" Kidd said. "I wasn't screaming."
Since coming to New Jersey and helping transform the Nets from an also-ran to a title contender, Kidd has spoken his mind to the team on at least two or three other occasions, Scott said.
Scott felt the postgame talk was positive. He also said after the postgame yelling, everyone calmed down.
"Any time you lose a game and get outplayed on both ends, some things are going to come up," Scott said. "Some things are going to be discussed in that locker room as it was. I told the guys today it was good you get all that out."
Guard Lucious Harris said no one on the team was offended by Kidd, who chastised -- then challenged -- teammates in his talk.
There were reports that someone went back at Kidd as he was speaking, but no one on the team would confirm that.
"If you lose by 50 points, you let it out," Harris said. "Maybe it was good for us to let it all out."
Forward Kenyon Martin also said he had no problem with anything Kidd said.
"We look up to Jason as our leader, and he spoke up," Martin said.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press