Jason Kidd jumps ship, joins Knicks

July, 5, 2012
7/05/12
4:25
PM CT


Some 17 hours ago, with Steve Nash stunningly on his way to join Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, Jason Kidd was talking about working out a deal with Mark Cuban to finish his career with the Dallas Mavericks.

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Suddenly, a horrific Mavs offseason is on the verge of total collapse and humiliation, a scenario so far removed from the excitement of just days ago and the pursuit of Deron Williams. In a matter of days, patiently waiting superstar Dirk Nowitzki has lost Jason Terry, missed out on Williams and Nash, and now watches his good friend Kidd reverse field on the Mavs' three-year, $9 million offer that seemed good to go.

Kidd is off to the Big Apple to join the New York Knicks.

From the moment the Lakers nabbed Nash to douse the Knicks' Plan A, their push for Kidd was going to be hard, and it appears they've convinced the 39-year-old point guard to become the headstrong captain of a mismatched, dysfunctional, yet highly talented basketball team.

From a loyalty and convenience standpoint, re-upping with the Mavs made sense. Cuban got Kidd out of New Jersey in 2008 and he ultimately won a championship. Along the way he became dear friends with Nowitzki, who's off touring Europe but as of now might feel as though he's trapped on an island.

From a competitive standpoint, Kidd staying in Dallas made little sense with the Knicks beckoning.

Here's what Kidd had to sort through: Re-sign with Dallas and a stripped-down roster that now includes only Dirk, Shawn Marion, Brendan Haywood and spare parts Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones from the 2011 title team, or finish out his career at Madison Square Garden setting up former Mavs teammate Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.

There's also an opportunity to mentor Jeremy Lin, a fellow Bay Area native. The Houston Rockets have made Lin a backloaded offer, according to reports, but the Knicks will have the opportunity to match and there's every reason to believe they will.

Imagine Kidd's legend if he can create harmony in the Garden and deliver the Knicks to the Eastern Conference finals while playing just a subway ride away from buddy Deron Williams in Brooklyn.

For the Mavs, the shock of this offseason deepens. With Kidd out of the picture, they are again down to just seven players under contract (plus three draft picks) and not one is a point guard. Free agents Williams, Nash and Goran Dragic are gone. Kyle Lowry has been traded to Toronto. Lin, a restricted free agent and a Mavs target, is almost certain to be retained by the Knicks.

On Wednesday, Kidd talked about why Williams chose Brooklyn over Dallas. Kidd sounded confident of his own return to Big D.

"Yeah, I’ve always loved playing with Dallas and I’d love to finish my career there," he said. "It’s just a matter if we can get a deal done with Cuban that he feels is right."

One was thought to be done. But now Kidd is on his way to New York and where exactly the shell-shocked Mavs go from here is anybody's guess.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9