The future of Jason Kidd as a Maverick
By Mike Fisher
There are the parts of the Mavs’ future with Jason Kidd that are not complex:
*Contrary to one national report, Kidd has no intention of retiring. As he’s stated often in this space, he’d like to play two more years.
*His championship ring in Dallas is a lifetime goal achieved and he’d “like to go to war with” Dirk Nowitzki in pursuit of another.
*It is the Mavs’ desire to retain him … and I believe, to have him remain with the organization after his playing days are over.
“I feel like I can still help a team win, and hopefully it’s back here,” said Kidd, putting a cherry on top of the easy aspects to this story.
“Finance or fit?”
Kidd’s stats were down this past season and hey, they are likely destined to go down again. (Though Kidd half-jokingly notes that he’d like to contend for NBA Most Improved Player next season.) But as always, the 10-time-All-Star’s value isn’t in raw numbers. His contributions are unique. So how unique should his contract be?Kidd is coming off a three-year deal that paid him $10.121 million this season. That sort of number seems wildly out of line with the direction the organization wishes to do (with Kidd and in general). So what will Kidd be looking for, “fit or finance”? “It’s more fit, but hopefully I do have a little value,” Kidd says. “I don’t want to come cheap or come free, but it’s … The finance part, that always takes care of itself.”
J-Kidd as a recruiter …
There are stories out there quoting Kidd as insisting he WON’T help the Mavs recruit Deron Williams. Those stories are only revealing half of what Kidd is saying. At one point during Sunday’s exit interviews, Kidd did indeed say, “I won’t have any influence on D-Will’s decision.” And that quote, standing alone, leaves a certain impression. But fortunately for the Mavs, that’s only part of what Kidd is saying. “He’s his own man and he’s going to make the right decision for what fits best for him to try to win a championship,” Kidd adds, in what certainly can be interpreted as an attempt to make clear that Williams isn’t under anybody’s thumb as he approaches July 1 free agency. Similarly, this Kidd quote is making the rounds: “I’m a free agent, so who am I recruiting?” But one second later, he adds, “No, I will help whatever it takes to recruit, but I’ve got to find a home first.”
Can Kidd really be happy as a backup?
Some wonder whether Kidd — one of the most competitive people you will ever meet — will truly comfortably make the adjustment to being anyone’s caddie. “If I was young, it would probably be hard,” Kidd says. “But understanding and making adjustments, as a professional, you have to accept your role, and that’s what I’ve done as I’ve gotten older, and so if that means coming off the bench, then I can handle that. That’s just another challenge, and that’s the way I would look at it.” Being a backup to Deron is acceptable. (Though Jason kids that the mental adjustment means “I would probably have to talk to Don Kalkstein a lot,” Kidd said, referring to the club’s sports psychologist.) But that doesn’t mean Kidd is ready for semi-retirement. Asked how short the list of other PGs he’d happily back up is, Kidd answers, “Very short.” But again, if Deron remains interested in Dallas, it will not be difficult for Kidd and Deron to get on the same page. They’ve already decided that Dallas in the summer it too hot for golf, so they’ll probably hook up in San Diego. “We’ll spend some time golfing and we got the same agent,” Kidd says. “So that makes it easy.” In a bit of fashion coincidence (or maybe not), on Sunday as Kidd addressed the media wearing a Texas Rangers t-shirt, Deron was in New York attending church while wearing a Texas Rangers jersey. Silly coincidence. Probably. There is not yet a way to pin down Kidd’s future salary; so much is dependent on the courting of Deron and the trickle-down effect from there. There is no point to be certain that a contending team might not overpay to add his record-setting brilliance to its roster. There are folks in Oakland who want to bring him home. There are thoughts in Brooklyn about keeping Deron and asking him to recruit Kidd back to the Nets (those folks haven’t asked Kidd about what he’d think about reuniting with coach Avery, but hey, this is speculation time, right?) Best at this point to keep it simple: Jason, Do you expect to be back here next year?