NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Once the New Jersey Nets finish construction of an arena in Brooklyn, they will have a better chance of signing free agents.

“Unless it’s built, you can’t believe it,” former Nets guard Jason Kidd said Saturday night before his Dallas Mavericks played New Jersey at the Prudential Center, the team’s temporary home for the next two seasons.

The Nets’ new Barclays Center in Brooklyn is not scheduled to open until 2012.

New owner Mikhail Prokhorov and the Nets seemingly were handicapped this past summer during free agency market because they did not have their own building.

Kidd, who led the Nets to consecutive NBA finals in 2002 and ’03, said not having a building causes players to wonder whether it will ever be completed.

Kidd was traded by the Nets to Dallas in 2008, when New Jersey cleaned house to create cap space. Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter were also traded in the deals that turned the Nets from a playoff team to the worst one in the NBA last season.

Kidd thinks the Nets will get better.

“I think you have to be patient,” he said. “You have a free agent class coming up, they have a new owner and a new coach, so I think you have to be patient and, at the same time, you have to have a little luck, too. Hopefully, those things will turn for the better for the Nets.”

While he didn’t closely follow the Nets’ bid to acquire Carmelo Anthony from Denver, Kidd felt a deal was going to happen before Prokhorov told his team to break off talks.

He told reporters to wait until the trade deadline to see what happens.

“That’s the NBA,” he said. “There are going to be trades. There are going to be superstars traded, but I haven’t watched this one or paid too much attention to it.”

Kidd even joked that if the Nets’ new arena doesn’t get finished, they can stay in Newark.

“It’s a great state. No. 1, Jersey is great,” Kidd said. “It’s close to the city, great restaurants, great people, great fans. The unfortunate thing is they do have the turnpike from the airport which is what people pretty much get to see. They don’t get to see (the state).”

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