Thursday, July 12, 2012
Updated: July 13, 8:13 AM ET
Knicks introduce new additions
By Ian Begley
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Jason Kidd hasn't spoken to Jeremy Lin yet.
But when he does, he'd like to teach the young point guard a simple lesson: how to slow down.
"He just plays at one gear and it's a very high gear," Kidd said on Thursday shortly after signing his three-year, $9 million deal with the Knicks. "So we'll sit down and talk about trying to find that fourth and third gear so that he has the energy to finish ballgames. We want him to play the whole season. At just one gear, it's hard to play 82 games."
Kidd, an 18-year veteran, said he's "excited" to serve as a mentor to the 23-year-old Lin. Kidd was introduced on Thursday at the Knicks' practice facility along with veteran center Marcus Camby.
"I still feel I can start but this is a role they need," Kidd said of backing up Lin. "I'm a basketball player. When I'm out there, I'm a leader. I'll continue to lead. I'm looking forward to the new role."
"To have the chance to mentor a very good player, to be able to share what I've learned the last 18 years, is something I've been looking forward to," he added.
Lin played at a high pace throughout his run with the Knicks last year and it seemed to take a toll. Lin's season was cut short by a knee injury that was first described as "wear and tear" but later turned out to be a torn left meniscus. He played 35 games and missed the final five weeks of the regular season and the Knicks' playoff series against the Miami Heat.
Kidd, 39, said on Thursday he used to play just like Lin.
"It was always fifth gear and go," he said.
He learned later in his career the importance of playing at a slower pace, in part to preserve his health over an 82-game campaign.
He'd like to see Lin learn the same lesson.
"If I've learned anything in the last 18 years, it's the last six minutes of any NBA game, down 15 or up 15, you can still win or lose," Kidd said. "So that's the best part of the game, I think."
Lin is expected to sign a four-year, $28.8 million offer sheet with Houston that the Knicks will match, though GM Glen Grunwald did not want to reveal the team's decision on Thursday because Lin hasn't signed the offer sheet.
"I think it's likely that we'll bring him back," Grunwald said. "Once again, we'll wait to make that decision when we need to make that decision. Now is not the time."
Grunwald praised both Kidd and Camby, saying the veteran duo brings "experience" and "wisdom" to the Knicks, who lost in five games to the Heat in the first round of last year's playoffs.
"Marcus is a great leader and is still a great shot blocker, and Jason is still a great point guard," Grunwald said. "... We're trying to put together a team that can compete and I think these two guys are going to be a big part of it."
Camby, 38, will join the Knicks for the second time in his 16-year career. He first played in New York from 1998-2001 and was a key part of the Knicks team that made a run to the 1999 NBA Finals.
Camby was being courted by the Heat but chose to join the Knicks, returning to New York in a sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets. During his Knicks tenure, Camby was on teams that battled the Heat in several hard-fought playoff series.
"Being a part of (the Knicks-Heat) rivalry for so long, so long, I obviously consider myself a Knick at heart and I just couldn't see playing in any other uniform," Camby said.
Camby will give the Knicks valuable minutes off the bench to spell Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire.
He's looking forward to "coming back home and trying to finish what I tried to get started here many, many moons ago. I'm just trying to be a part of something special."
In addition to signing Kidd and trading for Camby, the Knicks have re-signed J.R. Smith and Steve Novak during a busy offseason.
Grunwald said the Knicks haven't yet decided on whether they will match the offer sheet that shooting guard Landry Fields signed with the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. The deal is for three years and approaches $20 million.
"We haven't reached any decision at this time," the GM said. "We're still looking at that offer sheet and what other alternatives might be available to us."