Jason Kidd and his wife, Joumana, returned to New Jersey from a lavish 26-hour recruiting visit to San Antonio late Monday, laden with a $94 million maximum offer and visions of winning a championship. The Spurs' presentation was so persuasive that Kidd was leaning toward signing with the NBA champions, according to three people with intimate knowledge of the Nets.

When the Nets learned on Tuesday of Kidd's inclination, the organization acted quickly to try to convince him that New Jersey was still the best place for him and his family. The Nets, though, are running out of time. Kidd told the Spurs and the Nets that he hoped to make a decision by Friday and no later than Monday.

"The Nets are deeply concerned," said a person with intimate knowledge of the organization who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Every effort on earth will be made to retain him."

The Nets have offered Kidd the maximum contract of six years, worth approximately $99 million. The Spurs did not comment, but according to four people with knowledge of the team's plans, they extended Kidd the maximum contract, which surpasses the Nets' deal because Texas has no state income tax.

The Nets have facilitated national endorsement opportunities for Kidd. They are believed to have made inquiries for Kidd's wife to work on a television show with the team's YES Network. Last week, they arranged for Kidd to play championship golf courses in New Jersey, at Baltusrol and Metedeconk.

While the Spurs wooed Kidd and his wife for 26 hours, the Nets have done so for two years. That is why Nets President Rod Thorn believes his team has the advantage.

"At the end of the deliberations, as the case may be, the pomp and circumstance will take backseat to the substance," said Thorn, who is the club's principal negotiator. "That's where the Kidds will make their decisions. He obviously knows that we would like to have him."

The Spurs showed Kidd that he is their top priority. Gregg Popovich, the coach of the year, flew to New Jersey before the Kidds went to San Antonio to have dinner with them. He picked them up from the airport when they arrived on Sunday. Popovich and Tim Duncan, the league's MVP, entertained the Kidds with gourmet meals prepared by a private chef, gave Kidd a tour of the Spurs' practice facility and showed a video montage that pictured Kidd with the Larry O'Brien championship trophy, according to several people with knowledge of the visit.

Thorn contended that fancy parties would not sell Kidd. "He's an adult," he said. "When you're talking about the team's trying to sell something that the player doesn't know anything about, some teams do lavish things.".

"I would assume at some point in time, we'll have some substantive conversations with his agent," Thorn said, referring to Jeff Schwartz. "I think we've gone after him pretty aggressively as it is. I think he understands that."

Nets Coach Byron Scott has been curiously absent from the proceedings. He is on vacation and is expected to return before the Nets begin their training camp for summer league on Thursday. Kidd's relationship was far stronger with Eddie Jordan, who left to become the Wizards' coach, than with Scott.

According to two Eastern Conference officials, the Nets have had talks with Jeff Wechsler, the agent for Alonzo Mourning. If the Nets were able to sign Mourning with the midlevel exception of $4.9 million, then Kidd would have his All-Star in the frontcourt along with Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson.

But the risk is high because of Mourning's health. He is fighting a kidney disease, which is still an unknown factor.

What is far more unclear to the Nets is what happens if Kidd bolts for San Antonio. Tuesday, Gary Payton agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers for the midlevel exception. "Yes, it's official; it's a real good opportunity for him," Aaron Goodwin, Payton's agent, said.

That would seem to put pressure on San Antonio to sign Kidd.

Another free-agent point guard, Andre Miller, was visiting Denver on Tuesday.

The Nets are not trying to think of the alternatives. Barring a sign-and-trade, there are no other high-profile point guards remaining; contingency plans could rely on the 20-year-old draft pick Zoran Planinic or a journeyman.

The Spurs, if they were to sign Kidd, however, could face some ramifications.

Jermaine O'Neal withdrew his interest in San Antonio and Dallas. Pacers President Donnie Walsh said Tuesday that the team was "working on the contract, and we're very close to getting it done."

That leaves the Spurs to consider Karl Malone, who is also interested in signing with Payton, P.J. Brown, Michael Olowokandi and Mourning for their big man to replace the retiring David Robinson. If they were to sign Kidd, that would leave less than $4 million to spend on other free agents.

And if the Spurs were able to sign Kidd, there could be an issue in the backcourt. The Spurs have told Tony Parker that they envisioned playing him with Kidd. Parker, the second-year point guard, has told friends, family, teammates and Spurs officials that he does not want to take a backseat to Kidd. A person told of Parker's situation said Sunday that Parker would be inclined to ask for a trade.

The Spurs have declined to comment.

Since Parker's salary would come to $713,500 next season, the Nets would not be able to sign Kidd, trade him and then get Parker back in exchange.