Jason Kidd insisted a migraine caused him to miss a New Jersey Nets game, brushing aside reports he was staging a personal one-day strike to induce a trade or force a new contract.

"I didn't miss a game due to unhappiness, that's the first thing to clear up," the all-star guard said yesterday at a news conference he called at the Nets' headquarters.

Kidd said he was hit in the mouth Tuesday night in a game against Cleveland, and he later developed a migraine. He alerted trainer Tim Walsh about the problem Wednesday about noon, and he later called and said he could not play against the New York Knicks. The Nets lost, 100-93.

"I am human, at the end of the day, I am human," said Kidd, who didn't seem angry with all the attention the reports created. "I went out and played with one leg. I played with a broken rib, and yesterday I just couldn't go. There was no plan of me not going. I just felt that I couldn't help the team."

Kidd's unexpected absence created instant headlines. A source told the New York Post that Kidd was "on strike." Yahoo reported that he was looking to be traded to Cleveland to play with LeBron James. There also were reports that Kidd wanted his contract renegotiated.

He insisted he never asked to be traded.

Kidd is under contract through the end of next season, making $19.7 million this year and $21.3 million next. He and Nets president Rod Thorn refused to discuss any current contract talks.

Knicks on top.

The New York Knicks' struggles on and off the court didn't keep the team from remaining the NBA's most valuable franchise for the third straight year, according to a list compiled by Forbes. The team was valued at $604 million.

The Sixers ranked 13th, at $380 million.

Last night's games

Nuggets 122, Mavericks 109

DALLAS - Allen Iverson scored 35 points one night after putting up 51, and this time his effort was enough to lead Denver to victory, sending the Nuggets past Dallas.

Hawks 90, Timberwolves 89

ATLANTA - Joe Johnson's 18-footer at the buzzer lifted Atlanta to a victory over league-worst Minnesota.