DALLAS -- Jason Kidd caught the title he spent a career chasing last June, and the ring he helped design is coming soon. The extended off-season brought a new bride and new home in the Hamptons. He'll be 39 this season and entering the last year of his contract.
Sounds like it's about time to hang up the Nikes.
Not a chance.
Kidd would like to play two more years, and why not? The Dallas Mavericks are as good a bet as any to get out of the Western Conference again and defend their championship.
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The core is getting older, but owner Mark Cuban and general manager Donnie Nelson don't mess around when it comes to upgrading the roster around franchise pillar Dirk Nowitzki.
Watching guys like Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea walk hurts. Seeing guys like Lamar Odom, Vince Carter and Delonte West walk in helps ease that pain.
Kidd is excited and energized to do it again this season. And again and again.
Is having a veteran core an advantage in a short season with less practice time? We have a mixture of young talent we're going to lean on some nights, and let the young guys go out there and showcase. But winning or losing, you have to understand the importance of taking it one game at a time. That's all you can focus on. Understand what we did last year. We have some talented pieces that can definitely get us over the hump.
Should veterans such as Odom and Carter be able to pick up Rick Carlisle's system quickly? It's not going to change. Our system is very simple. Like I told those two guys, you're going to be surprised by how many shots you get. That's the nature of the beast when you come here. You just have to make open shots. I told them playing with Dirk, you're going to get open shots and you just have to take them.
With several guys on the final year of their contracts, does it feel like the team is full of seniors? We had that last year and that wasn't talked about with a lot of guys playing for another deal. And those guys really didn't let that affect them. By winning, it shows you really don't have to put up monster numbers. You just have to win to be successful, and J.J. and Tyson are blueprints for that.
Do you have another contract in you? I still feel I have a lot of gas left in the tank and this season will be a lot different. I tell people it's going to go by so fast. You're doing Media Day and then we'll be at the All-Star break and then hopefully we'll be talking about the playoffs. It's just going to go by so fast.
What are you thoughts on your new backup? Delonte brings a lot to the table because he's been in this league. He's a defender. He can play point, two, knock down shots. I look for [Roddy Beaubois] and [Dominique Jones] to have a chance at that, too.
Do you worry about you and your older teammates wearing down with such a hectic schedule this season? Cuban and Donnie have done a great job making this team deep again. Our bench is strong. It's not just the starters. When other teams only have two or three guys and no bench, those guys are going to have to play a lot of minutes.
How much better do you feel about the roster now as opposed to the start of camp? We were definitely going to lean on Dirk early and heavy, but with the likes of Vince and Lamar, it definitely puts us in a different category.
How up do you expect Lamar to be when you face Kobe Bryant and the Lakers? That's the business. Sometimes things happen and Cuban was right there to pick the ball up. That's just a heck of a deal that's going to help us.
Did last year's championship quench your title thirst? With the talent we have, you want to give it your best shot because you never know what happens. That's what we felt last year. We weren't supposed to get out of the first round, we weren't supposed to beat the Lakers, we weren't supposed to beat the young and fast Oklahoma City team, so I think for us it's hoping we can put ourselves back in that position and see what happens.
Are the defending champs being overlooked? We're under the radar. I thought LeBron [James] said it best, it's like the Miami Heat lost the championship. It wasn't that the Dallas Mavericks beat them. I think we're still under the radar even though we did win.