- Posted: 5:54 PM, July 6, 2012
Jason Kidd was all set to re-sign with the Mavericks until a round of golf with his good friend Williams convinced him otherwise. According to Kidd, he and Williams both had the Mavericks on top their free-agent wish list until the pair of point guards broke down Dallas’ diminished roster.
“I was with my good friend Deron and I am looking at him and he talked to me about it and the reason why he thought he couldn’t go was because of the (Mavericks) roster,” Kidd said in a WFAN interview.
“I kind of looked at it, too and I backed off and I looked at it and said, 'hey, New York has a chance to be successful. I can help those guys win.'”
Kidd decided that he would return to the New York area and sign with the Knicks for the same three-year, $9.08 million deal he would have received from the Mavericks. Kidd said his agent Jeff Schwartz, the Mavericks and Knicks were discussing a sign-and-trade or the 39-year-old would sign with the Knicks taxpayer mid-level exception. Now Kidd will join Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and former Mavericks teammate Tyson Chandler in New York.
“I played with ‘Melo in the (2008) Olympics and in the qualifying,” Kidd said. “I played a couple of years with him, understand his game and how talented he is. I played with (Amar’e) for the qualifying and Olympics, too. I am excited to be able to play with these guys. One of the other guys with Tyson, I played with him for a year and how hard he plays and what he means to the team. I understand I am 39, but I am more like 32 right now.”
Now the question becomes what role Kidd will play with the team he once tormented as a member of the Nets. The Post reported Friday that the Knicks will match the Rockets’ offer sheet for Jeremy Lin, who will likely be the starter.
“I am here to help coach (Mike) Woodson and the Knicks,” Kidd said. “As long as he wants me to play, I am little bit older now, so if it’s off the bench or it’s to start, whatever he needs me to do I am open to it. At the end of the day, I understand how important the last six minutes of the game are. Hopefully, I can be on the floor at that time.”
Kidd was impressed by what his soon-to-be teammate displayed during the Linsanity run.
“I think he has all the tools to be a consistent point guard in this league, people deceived by size and strength,” Kidd said. “I think he is a guy that can put points on the board and definitely find the open guy. My job in helping him is just to understand the time and situation, when to score and when to get your teammates going.”
Kidd and Williams had designs on being teammates, and Kidd's representatives did discuss the possibility with Brooklyn.
“We talked to the Nets, explored every option and it just didn't work,” Kidd said. “It’s unfortunate, I would have loved to go back to the Nets, especially going into Brooklyn. I think it's going to be a great rivalry because the Nets are a very good basketball team and it’s great for the tri-state. They are going to see a lot of great basketball.”
Kidd starred for the Nets from 2001-’08, leading them to back-to-back Eastern conference titles in 2002 and 2003, before being traded to Dallas. Not only was Kidd leaning toward the Mavericks, but he said Williams was eyeing a return home until the Nets traded with the Hawks for six-time All-Star Joe Johnson.
“I think Brooklyn did the right thing by not waiting and got pieces to show that we are just not going to sign you and that’s it,” Kidd said. “They went hard to get pieces to make the team competitive heading into Brooklyn. That kind of got him excited, got him to change his mind and got him to stay. A lot of people thought it was the money, but from my point of view he was leaning toward Dallas and he just made a decision when he saw that roster that he was going back to Brooklyn.”
As for Kidd’s new roster, he sees one of the Knicks’ big questions being who will have the ball in crunch time.
“For us we just have to concentrate on getting better on offense and defense,” Kidd said. “If we can be consistent throughout the year and understand the situation, who is going to have the ball down the stretch. It just can’t always be ’Melo and Stoudemire, other guys have to step up. It’s going to be a great challenge and hopefully we are up to it.”