Kidd has found himself in a New York state of mind
Three years for a 39-year-old point guard seems like too many years. Also, it seems as if Raymond Felton would have served the Knicks better as the point guard leading a fast-paced second unit.
However, I do not consider the addition of Kidd for three years over Raymond Felton a bad move, as long two conditions are met:
1) The Knicks must re-sign Jeremy Lin.
2) The Knicks need to find a way to work out a sign-and-trade for Kidd in order to preserve their mid-level exception.
First, let us get Raymond Felton out of the discussion. His first half with the Knicks and his chemistry with Amar'e Stoudemire during the 2010-2011 season made him appear like the player the Knicks should have signed.
However, looking at last season, Felton came back in such poor physical shape that you have to wonder if he can get back physically. On the flip side, the signing of Kidd does not mean that the Knicks will not sign Felton. His poor performance may make his stock low enough for the Knicks to sign him to a minimum deal.
If he gets back in shape, the Knicks can use Felton and Kidd together—much like the Dallas Mavericks used J.J. Barea and Kidd in the backcourt during their championship season.
Who would you rather sign for 9 million/3 years?
The obvious benefit of bringing in a player like Jason Kidd—other than his ability to knock down open three-pointers without being a humongous defensive liability—is his experience.
In particular, his experience at the point guard position will serve as a boon for Jeremy Lin. If the Knicks ask Kidd to be a guard off the bench and to mentor Lin—also Iman Shumpert and salvage whatever is left of Toney Douglas—then the Knicks will benefit.
He can also come off the bench and play some minutes at shooting guard. This will lower the need to find a replacement for Iman Shumpert, and it will allow the Knicks to allocate their money to other areas of need.
If they ask Kidd to play starter's minutes and be the primary playmaker, then Kidd will likely struggle in year one of the contract and struggle to stay healthy for the rest of it.
Imagine a 40- or 41-year-old playing starter's minutes and having primary playmaking responsibility without the Phoenix Suns' medical staff.
With Kidd on board, the Knicks should not consider their roster complete. Even though most of the Knicks improvement must come internally—like Carmelo Anthony developing a consistent all-around game, Amar’e Stoudemire learning how to rebound, defend and score down low and improving team chemistry—players remain in free agency that can help the Knicks.
With the "mini-MLE," the Knicks can sign a player to a starting salary of $3.09 million or combine it with other player contracts in a sign-and-trade—like they attempted with Steve Nash.
While my dream for the Knicks would be to acquire Nicolas Batum, they have the contract (Toney Douglas, Dan Gadzuric, Jerome Jordan and Josh Harrelson) to give a contract starting around $6 million to a guy like O.J. Mayo—who is seeking more than an MLE but cash- strapped Memphis will not pay—or to a backup center like Marcus Camby.
Tyson Chandler, though a monster of defense, has not mastered the art of defending without fouling. During his time in Dallas, having a competent backup center in Brendan Haywood allowed him to unleash all his energy and tenacity.
This was not only because he could rest more, but because he did not have to worry about his foul situation as much.
Bringing in Camby will allow Chandler to fully unleash his defensive and rebounding talents without regard for the consequences.
The Knicks have brought in a champion point guard with tons of experience. However, this move is only as effective as the rest of the moves the Knicks' front office makes. Without those other moves, the Knicks are simply paying for an old, slow and overpaid point guard.