The New York Knicks are reportedly set to make acquiring a veteran point guard one of their offseason priorities, and while the player most Knicks fans want may have priced himself out of their market, another point man nearing the end of the line might just fit the bill very nicely.
The New York Post reported Monday that 39-year-old point guard Jason Kidd has recently been speaking to former teammate and current Knicks player Tyson Chandler. The 10-time all-star said those conversations weren't about basketball, but Kidd did sound open to the idea of joining the team while speaking recently at a charity golf outing on Long Island.
Being a teammate of Tyson’s and understanding what he brings to the table every night, it can only help. He had a heckuva year. We missed him in Dallas. Also, when you talk about Carmelo, Amar’e, they got pieces there that can help you win. That helps.
Granted Kidd, who averaged just over six points and 5.5 assists a game for the Dallas Mavericks in around 28 minutes a game a year ago, is far from the player he once was. However, this is deal that could make sense for the Knicks from both a financial and basketball standpoint.
Right now the Knicks are stuck in a very unenviable position as they await the appeal of an arbitrator's decision to grant New York guard Jeremy Lin his "early-Bird" rights.
A decision on that appeal isn't expected to come before July 1st (the start of free agency), and for now the Knicks are "stuck" in regards to their mid-level exception, which the team will be forced to use to retain the wildly-popular Lin if the league wins its appeal.
That could all but rule out Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash for the Knicks. Nash recently told ESPN Radio (h/t Sports Radio Interviews) that "[money] is important and it’ll be one of the factors involved." in where he signs, and without that exception that Knicks may not be able to afford him.
Kidd, on the other hand, could likely be had for less cheddar, perhaps even a $2 million low-level exception, which could then free up the $5-plus million mid-level exception if Lin and the Knicks win the appeal just as they did with the arbitrator.
Also, while Kidd may be a shadow of his former self, he could act as an excellent backup and teacher for Lin, who Kidd had high praise for at that same golf outing.
I think when you have a point guard who is looking to pass the ball and get guys going that always helps. Lin was playing extremely well before he got hurt and they were playing well so we’ll see what happens. Eventually, yeah, Lin will have the tools. He still has to learn the game but I think eventually he’ll be a starter in this league.
Say what you will about Kidd's jump shot (shiver), but he was, in his prime, a phenomenal passer, solid defender and excellent rebounder, and those are all helpful traits to instill in an NBA point guard.
(Hey, there are more than a few NBA teams that wish their point guard's idea of passing wasn't "launch an 18-foot brick and hope for an offensive put back". I'm not pointing fingers, they know who they are.)
Look, I know that when it comes to the "new" point guard the Knicks are looking to obtain that Jason Kidd isn't the first choice of many fans, or even the second.
However, if New York can get an experienced veteran capable of giving you 20 or so minutes a game while helping to accelerate the ascension of Linsanity on the cheap?
Not a bad consolation prize, especially given the mess that the Lin appeal has the team mired in at present.