A FAMILY FEUD IN DALLAS : KIDD AND JACKSON NO LONGER BUDDIES.
So, the story is being told, the fractured friendship between Jim Jackson and Jason Kidd is somewhat related to a squabble between the two over the singer Toni Braxton. If there is anything that makes sense about any of this, that is it.
After all, if two of the cornerstones of the local basketball franchise are going to scrap with each other over something, the sultry Braxton is worth it. I know guys who would buy an overcoat to throw over a puddle before her if they left theirs in the closet. Really.
What is most difficult to comprehend is the ripple effect from the Mavericks family feud. It's engulfed more now than the couple of guys arguing at the bar. It's spilled into the street. It's a full-blown catastrophe.
No one but Jackson and Kidd knows where it all really began or where it really got out of control. Time was they were best of buddies, like during a New Year's Eve party not long ago when Jackson spirited his younger backcourt mate away from a volatile situation.
That seems like eons ago now.
Jackson and Kidd were supposed to speak to each other on Monday, but did not. Kidd didn't attend a team meeting last week called by new coach Jim Cleamons because he was working at his camp in Austin, where Southwest Airlines flies to and from every five minutes, I think.
Jackson said he's left repeated messages with Kidd that he wants to talk and make up. Kidd said Jackson hasn't really attempted to reach him at all. You decide.
Kidd said he wouldn't play with Jackson and demanded that the new owners trade one of them or he would sit out next season. He since was reminded that he is scheduled to earn upward of $5 million next season playing hoops. He took back his threat, but he clearly isn't any happier.
``We want to do what's necessary to make everyone in this organization comfortable,'' said one of the new owners, Frank Zaccanelli.
Kidd isn't only unhappy with Jackson, but he isn't real thrilled about his new bosses, either, or the coach they hired. Cleamons, after all, knows Jackson from recruiting him as a high schooler. They hail from the same state, too.
Kidd wasn't thrilled that Cleamons didn't contact him immediately after he was hired. Kidd's agent, Aaron Goodwin, even made a point of letting Zaccanelli know that when the two met by chance during the NBA Finals. It is the only time the pair have met.
That isn't good. Neither party now is happy with each other.
``It wasn't ego. It was a lack of communication that got us in this situation,'' Goodwin said from his California base. ``I have no intentions of talking to the Dallas Mavericks about any of my clients.''
One of his clients is Antonio Davis, who will be a much-sought-after free agent when the bidding starts next week. He is the type of front-court player the Mavericks would love to get. Good luck now.
Maybe none of this would have happened if Jackson hadn't demanded the ball more and done less with it early last season as he struggled to come back from an injury. That is what helped inflame another family feud with the third J, Jamal Mashburn.
Maybe none of this would have happened if one of the J's hadn't squealed to another J's girlfriend about how much her J enjoyed being on the road. (Oops. Pretend you didn't read that here.)
Maybe none of this would've happened if Don Carter, at the behest of Dick Motta, had not insisted that the-then prospective new owners meet with Kidd before any other player. It was an invitation that may have led Kidd to believe he was the Magic Johnson of the franchise while all others were mere Paul Westheads.
Maybe none of this would've happened if the Mavericks' marketing department hadn't come up with this Three J's promotion in the first place. You think of all the great triumvirates in NBA history - like Bird, Parrish and McHale, or Magic, Worthy and Kareem - and the Mavericks get stuck with what suKddenly looks to be Larry, Curley and Mo.
Maybe the best news about the Mavericks since last season's end is that the seat of general manager is still empty and I know who is best suited to fill it.
Who would be better, after all, to run this bickering bunch than the fellow who coined the question, ``Can we all get along?''
Photo: Jason Kidd, above, is not only unhappy with Jim Jack son, he is less than thrilled with his new bosses and the new coach they hired.