UPDATE (5:21 EST): Jason Kidd's situation has changed just a tad in the last few hours; after reportedly being ready to sign on the dotted line as a Dallas Maverick, Kidd has -- per Marc Stein of ESPN.com -- switched gears completely and agreed to a deal with the New York Knicks on similar terms. Even the Mavericks' bad breaks have their own bad breaks at this point, as Kidd represents the third point guard to get away from Dallas this off-season, even if his potential return to the Mavs wasn't ideal.
ORIGINAL: The numbers game of the NBA offseason is a cruel one, with the number of interested teams typically outweighing the number of preferable candidates by a considerable margin.
There just aren't enough superstars for every club in the league to double or triple up on them in their pursuit of contention, and thus when Deron Williams entered unrestricted free agency, it was inevitable that some interested suitor would be left without. As it turned out, that party was the Dallas Mavericks, a franchise that again came up short in its efforts to obtain future Los Angeles Laker Steve Nash.
That's a rough go for a team that mortgaged its title defense in order to chase Williams and the thought-to-be-available Dwight Howard. Nash would have been a decent consolation prize for sentiment's sake alone, but instead, per Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas, the Mavs are close to bringing back Jason Kidd on a three-year, $9 million deal. Based on Kidd's performance last season, that should make for the worst kind of nostalgia; Nash is still playing at a high-enough level to call back fond memories, but Kidd—despite being just a year older than Nash—has regressed rather sharply, and the life of that deal will take Kidd through his 42nd birthday.
Kidd's coming off a season in which he posted career-worst marks in PER (13.1) and assist percentage (28.4)...just after posting a previous career-low in PER (14.4) and a depressed assist percentage (35.4) the year prior.
Defensive versatility was Kidd's saving grace during the Mavs' 2011 title run, and with his natural fade and the lack of Tyson Chandler on the back line, that's perhaps where Kidd's drop-off was at its starkest. That's saying quite a bit considering that Kidd's risky passing style eclipsed his playmaking effectiveness far too often last season, and why that total package compelled the Mavs to commit to Kidd for three seasons is a bit confusing, to say the least. But Dallas is stuck, in a sense, between totally clearing their books and trying to remain reasonably competitive. It's an odd space, and one that allows for a signing as initially odd as this one.