Friday, July 6, 2012
Jason Kidd wants to win, mentor
By Ian Begley
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
Veteran point guard Jason Kidd says he doesn't care whether he starts or comes off the bench for the Knicks next season.
He just wants to win.
In an interview Friday on 98.7 FM ESPNNewYork, Kidd said he is prepared to play whichever role coach Mike Woodson wants and is comfortable playing 20-25 minutes per night.
Kidd agreed in principle to join the Knicks on Thursday. The 39-year-old likely will serve as a backup to Jeremy Lin, who signed a $28.8 million offer sheet with the Houston Rockets the Knicks are expected to match.
Kidd said he decided to join the Knicks over the Mavs because of the quality of New York's roster.
"You look at their roster, you've got some great pieces," Kidd said. "With the intention of signing Lin back, I saw that I can help. Hopefully, (I can) help them win and help Lin. He's a talented point guard, so at this stage of my career, I just felt that I could help those guys win."
Kidd's contract, which ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports is for $9 million over three years, can't be signed until July 11, the first day new NBA contracts can be signed. It's also possible, one source told Stein, that Kidd ultimately could move to the Knicks in a sign-and-trade deal.
If Kidd is brought in via a sign-and-trade, it may allow the Knicks to use their "mini mid-level" exception on another player.
Regardless of how he is obtained, Kidd made one thing clear on Friday: He hopes to be on the floor in the closing minutes of games next season.
"I'm not 25 years old and I don't need the fireworks when my name is called (for) the starting lineup," Kidd said. "I just want to be in there at the end of the game to try to help the team win. ... The last six minutes of an NBA game is where you make your name, so hopefully I'm in there trying to help my guys win."
If Kidd is on the floor in the closing minutes, that may force Lin to the bench. Kidd is expected to serve as a mentor to the 23-year-old Lin -- a role he is comfortable with.
Kidd says he hopes to help Lin understand that "you don't have to have the big numbers every night, you just need to be consistent. Hopefully, I can be there to talk to him and help him out with that."
When asked if he thought Lin could be a great player or a good player Kidd gave a rather diplomatic answer, saying he thinks the third-year guard will become a consistent player.
"That's up to (the media) to label him as great or good. I think if you're consistent in this league, you'll win a lot of ball games," Kidd said.
Many Knicks fans hope Kidd can help Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony develop some much-needed chemistry this year. Kidd is hoping for the same thing.
The 18-year veteran called trying to get the trio of Stoudemire, Anthony and Tyson Chandler to fit together "a great challenge."
"Hopefully, I can make those pieces run smooth," Kidd said. "I think it's a great opportunity."
Kidd also reiterated that point guard Deron Williams was very close to signing with Dallas but decided to join Brooklyn after the franchise added valuable pieces -- such as Joe Johnson -- to the roster.
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.