Sunday, March 24, 2013
How long will Kidd last?
By Ian Begley
Jason Kidd celebrated his 40th birthday in a Knick uniform on Saturday night.
The question now is: will he be celebrating his 41st in orange and blue?
Kidd is under contract for another two years, and Mike Woodson believes the 19-year veteran can fulfill the full obligation of his deal.
“Absolutely. I really do,” Woodson said. “And I say that because he’s figured out how to train. And I said this [Friday], there's certain athletes that come along in a lifetime and play various sports, I call them freaks man. They just seem to keep ticking, nothing seems to bother them or faze them from a physical standpoint or a mental standpoint. Yeah, I think he can play two more years. Absolutely.”
Kidd, though, isn’t so sure. He told reporters in Toronto on Friday that he will take a wait-and-see approach to the final two years of his contract.
"We're going to revisit," he said. "We would love to make it to 42, but we have to be realistic. If the body and mind can't compete at the same time then I've got to move to the side and watch these younger guys play."
Kidd’s future presents an interesting conundrum for the Knicks’ front office.
Publicly, they’ll say they’d love to have him back. Kidd was a driving force in their 18-5 start (remember when he was shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc?). The future Hall of Famer also figures to be an integral piece in any playoff run the team makes.
Kidd’s scoring 6.6 points, grabbing 4.2 rebounds and handing out 3.4 assists per game for the Knicks. He’s made 48 starts but is now the point guard for the Knicks’ second unit.
“He's taking care of himself and he's still running up and down and helping you win basketball games,” Woodson said. “And that means a lot.”
But what would it mean for the Knicks if Kidd decided to retire?
New York would be losing a veteran presence in the locker room and on the floor, but they’d have an opportunity to add a younger point guard via free-agency, the draft, or a trade.
With Pablo Prigioni’s future up in the air and questions surrounding Ray Felton’s ability to defend, the point guard position presents an interesting set of issues for the Knick front office.
If Kidd retired and Prigioni did not return, it would give the front office an opportunity to obtain a quality backup. Maybe a player who could push Felton for the starting position?
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
For now, Kidd’s teammates continue to marvel at his ability to produce at age 40.
“J-Kidd knows the game just like a coach,” he said. “To have him just in the locker room and to have him on the court ... it helps out tremendously.”
Martin, for one, believes Kidd can play out the final two years of his contract.
“From the looks of it, he's still got his legs up under him. He doesn't have to play huge, huge minutes every night. But we'll see,” Martin said. “The game would love to have him. He's a true professional, first ballot hall of famer in my book, so we'll see.”
Question: Do you think Kidd, the third-oldest player in the NBA, will play the final two years of his contract? If not, who should the Knicks pursue to replace him?