Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Updated: July 1, 2:15 PM ET
Sources: Cuban to meet with Kidd
ESPN.com news services
The Mavericks might not be ready to give up on the Jason Kidd experiment in Dallas.
Team owner Mark Cuban announced via his Twitter feed Tuesday afternoon that he was "getting ready to fly up to NYC for [a] Free Agent meeting at 12:01 [a.m.]." Sources with knowledge of Cuban's plans confirmed to ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the meeting is scheduled with Kidd at the first allowable minute of 2009 NBA free agency Wednesday morning.
Cuban's pitch will precede a Kidd meeting with the Knicks in New York, according to the New York Daily News. Although the unrestricted free agent has indicated in the past that he would give Dallas the first chance to re-sign him, the 35-year-old Kidd likely has other suitors.
The Knicks face the challenge of going after Kidd and trying to sign their own restricted free agents, guard Nate Robinson and forward David Lee.
Kidd averaged 9.0 points and 8.7 assists for a Mavericks team that won 50 games last season. After steamrolling the Spurs in five games in the first round of the playoffs, the Mavs were taken out in five by the Nuggets.
Kidd was acquired by Dallas the year before, but that Mavs team lost in the first round of the playoffs. The Mavericks lost in the Finals in 2005-06 and then won 67 games the following season before bowing out in the first round of the playoffs. Kidd was expected to be the veteran piece to team with Dirk Nowitzki and get them over the hump when the Mavs gave up young point guard Devin Harris in a multiplayer deal with the Nets.
Kidd made more than $21 million last season. At 36, he knows to expect a dip -- but how much could be the big difference. Another likely factor will be the length of the contract.
The Lakers and Cavaliers might offer only a one-year deal, dangling their hopes of a title as incentive. Kidd would then be a free agent again in 2010, meaning he'd still have a chance for one last big payday.
"You would love to win a championship, but there are no guarantees," Kidd said in mid-May, a day after the Mavericks' season ended. "You could pick the favorites for next year to win a championship and things could go sideways."
So maybe he'd prefer big money now from a team already in contention. That could be Dallas, which might be willing to pay more than other teams to help maximize the prime of Nowitzki's career and to avoid the problem of trying to replace Kidd.
"I'm not looking at it as ... hitching on a bandwagon and jumping on with a team that's a favorite," Kidd said. "I'm looking to help a team try to win a championship. Whether it's here in Dallas or wherever it may be, I still feel that I have a lot to give to the game. I feel great, and I thought I had a pretty good season. As much as everybody talks about my age, I still feel like I can compete at a high level."
The Knicks are early in a rebuilding phase, but are hoping to speed things up by signing LeBron James in 2010. Having Kidd play for them this season, even if only on a one-year deal, could help their recruitment of James next summer.
Kidd said he "would love to be back" with the Mavericks. He also said he believes he has three good years left. He's already played 15 seasons, racking up the third-most assists in NBA history.
Marc Stein covers the NBA for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.