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In a fairly surprising turn of events, future Hall of Fame free agent point guard Jason Kidd has agreed to sign with the New York Knicks – and not return to the Dallas Mavericks, a team he helped win a championship with in 2011. Kidd, 39, is expected to receive a three-year deal from New York worth an upwards of $10 million. Given his age and mileage, Kidd no longer possesses the intangibles he once did (has averaged only 7.1 points and 6.9 assists per game the past two seasons), but he can provide the Knicks with a much needed veteran presence in the locker room and on the floor, running the half-court offense and knocking down the occasional trey.
The Knicks are still amisdt sorting out the situation with their own (restricted) free agent point guard, Jeremy Lin. According to reports, Lin has agreed in principle to a contract offer he’s received from the Houston Rockets (said to be 4 years, nearly $30 million). The Knicks have until the end of next week to match that offer in order to retain him. It is widely expected the Knicks will do just that, despite the recent acquisition of Kidd.
Kidd had been a mainstay for Dallas as their starting at point guard ever since he was acquired via trade from the New Jersey Nets during the 2007-08 season. According to various reports, there was plenty of mutual interest between Kidd and Dallas for a new deal to get done. But instead, Kidd opted to go a different direction and will be headed for New York, where he will put the finishing touches on his storybook career.
But at this stage in his career, Kidd is not going to be able to handle regular minutes anymore (he has averaged 30.1 minutes per game the past two seasons). If Lin is retained, Kidd would realistically see no more than 20 minutes a game – regardless of who the starter is – which in all likelihood would be Lin. Kidd would help improve the Knicks in facets Lin has shown inconsistencies in, such as offensive fluidity and cohesiveness. Keep in mind, Lin and the birth of “Lin-Sanity” was at its prime when Knicks’ stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire were on the mend. Upon their return, Lin was unable to adapt to a more isolation-paced offense, and began to struggle, particularly with a reckless rate of turnovers.
Kidd would undoubtedly be a tremendous mentor for Lin, who should benefit greatly from some first-rate point guard tutelage. Reports have surfaced that the potential relationship with Lin factored into Kidd’s decision making process, as Kidd eagerly awaits the opportunity to play the role of teacher. Lin is still developing, and if he can mirror Kidd’s style of play and combine it with his uncanny quickness and elusiveness, the Knicks are going to be that much tougher to defend against.
Kidd, is no stranger to playing alongside an elite scorer (or, for a lack of a better term, ball-hog), a spot-up 3-point shooter, a pick-and-roll (or pop) partner and paint-dwelling big man, all on the floor at once. Tyson Chandler, who was apart of that championship Dallas team with Kidd, would attest to that. The Mavericks championship team starting five of Kidd (floor general), Dirk Nowitzki (scorer), DeShawn Stevenson (spot-up), Shawn Marion (p & r partner) and Chandler (paint dweller) are a similar offensively skilled squad the Knicks potentially will have alongside Kidd as floor general in Anthony, J.R. Smith (if retained), Stoudemire and Chandler, respectively.