“I didn’t quit on the team,” says the Mavs’ Jason Kidd of his exit from Jersey to the Daily News’ Ohm Youngmisuk, insisting “I gave everything that I could give to the Nets. There were no more rabbits that I could pull out of the hat. There were no more rabbits that Rod (Thorn) could pull out of a hat. That is as far as they could go. I took them as high as I could.” Indeed, it’s not as though he could’ve gotten Bryon Scott fired a second time.

Rod Thorn, the Nets president, insinuated that the player who transformed the franchise from laughingstock to title contender had all but quit on the Nets when “it became very evident that his heart wasn’t in it.” He uttered the same sentiment many in and around the organization were expressing privately after Dec.5, when Kidd sat out a game against his hated rival Knicks with what he called a migraine.

Many felt Kidd was not sick but simply wanted to be traded and was protesting Thorn’s decision not to give him a contract extension. Kidd still insists he was not feeling good after taking a hit the night before in a game in Cleveland.

“I don’t believe in protesting and would never do that to the game,” Kidd said. “My whole thing about the extension, that will take care of itself. Rod does business the way that he wants to do it.”

And as for the notion that he didn’t play as hard as he could have while with the Nets this season in an effort to get traded, Kidd points to the 12 triple-doubles he registered this season as a Net.

“I would have to ask them (critics) to try to get a triple-double,” says Kidd, who had eight triple-doubles after the migraine incident. “I did everything that I could. Rod felt that I could wake up and have a triple-double, but that is not possible.

“So if I am not playing hard enough, tell me what else you need me to do?” Kidd continued. “I would guard the Kobes, the Michael Redds at the end of the game. It’s not my man but I would guard them. So if I’m not doing my job, then tell me what else you need me to do? Those people should share in the responsibility of taking some blame, too. I don’t mind taking the blame, but don’t just throw everything on my shoulders. We win as a team and lose as a team.”

“When I asked to be traded (this season), it was more or less (to get) everybody to look at themselves to see if they are doing their job,” he added. “That is from top-to-bottom, including myself. Are we giving the best effort here as a whole? Is everybody living up to what their expectations are of themselves? People sometimes look at it as a crime that you shouldn’t try to ask people to be better. Coaches ask players to be better. Why couldn’t players ask coaches or management to get better? It is nothing personal.”

When asked if he was talking about Thorn, coach Lawrence Frank, Carter or any other teammate, Kidd replied: “It’s everybody. Everybody has to be accountable and do their job. New Jersey has no identity. That was my whole thing. Are we a running team? Are we a halfcourt team? What are we? I don’t think they still know.”