July 5, 2012

Kidd's departure latest free-agent failure for Mavs

The one person the Dallas Mavericks could always count on to come back to their nest was Jason Kidd.

DALLAS -- The one person the Dallas Mavericks could always count on to come back to their nest was Jason Kidd.

Kidd has repeatedly said he would love to finish his career with the Mavs with the hope that one day his jersey would be hanging in the rafters.

The jersey part might still be a go. But Kidd threw the Mavs a big-time curveball Thursday when he decided to turn down their three-year, $9 million contract offer and instead agreed to take a similar deal with the New York Knicks.

Kidd's departure was yet another gigantic blow to a Mavs franchise that lost out on Deron Williams, Jason Terry, Steve Nash and Kidd in a span of four days. In other words, the Mavs have lost out on a player a day this week as the empire that was so full of joy on June 12, 2011, when the Mavs won their first NBA title surprisingly appears to be crumbling before everyone's eyes.

Despite missing on Williams, Terry and Nash, the Mavs could always count on Kidd returning for a 19th NBA season. Or at least they thought they could.

But the lure of being a mentor to Knicks playmaker Jeremy Lin -- not to mention looking at what's left of the Mavs' championship team -- made Kidd's decision easier.

"I just felt it was the right move," Kidd said. "If [the Knicks] can re-sign Jeremy Lin, and they have Carmelo [Anthony] and Tyson [Chandler] and those guys, hopefully I can help them get a little bit better.

"They have a lot of pieces, which was intriguing to me. Hopefully I can fit in."

When he went to bed Wednesday night, Kidd was sure he was going to re-sign with the Mavs. Then, he had a major change of heart.

"It was very close," Kidd said. "In the morning I felt like I was going to be a Mav, then I went and played golf, and I just didn't feel right.

"I talked to my wife about it and my agent, and we all kind of agreed that if you feel like you want to go to New York and try to help them, then you should. So that's the decision we made."

The loss of Kidd continues a weeklong nightmare for the Mavs, who have seen Williams agree to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Terry commit to the Boston Celtics and Nash traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kidd was intrigued with the idea of helping Lin, who was a surprise sensation last season, and he recently bought a home in the Hamptons.

"It could have gone either way," Kidd said. "I feel like I can still give a lot to the game and I still feel like I can compete and help a team win, so I feel like I can help New York.

"They were interested, so that always helps."

Kidd, who had a strong desire to return to the Mavs, has said all along that he wanted to play at least 20 years in the NBA. If the Oakland native plays through the length of this contract he will be 42 years old when it expires and will have played 21 years in the NBA.

The inability of the Mavs to sign any free agents and piece together a championship team played a significant role in Kidd's departure.

"It's a business at the end of the day," Kidd said. "[Mavs owner Mark] Cuban is going to get that team back to a higher level.

"But I have a time limit, and I don't know how much more time I have."

With Kidd gone, the Mavs are still in search of a point guard to run their offense. That search more than likely will end with Ramon Sessions, Aaron Brooks, Raymond Felton or Randy Foye. Brandon Roy, another candidate, reached a two-year deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves late Thursday, according to multiple reports.

"Ramon would seem to be a good fit," said Jared Karnes, who is Sessions' agent and has had discussions with the Mavs. "I think it would be an incredible fit.

"With the pick-and-roll situation and the way that Ramon ranked so high in synergy on his pick and rolls, the efficiency there is set. I know Ramon would really like to play there. There is a lot there could really benefit both sides, and it could be a good fit."

Kidd said he spoke about his decision with Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, who "gave me his blessings," Kidd said. "He thought that I should go to New York."

Kidd averaged 6.2 points and 5.5 assists per game this past season for a Mavs team that was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder. He also shot 36.3 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from 3-point range.

"I love those guys in Dallas," Kidd said. "We went through a lot of battles and we came up with a championship, and that's all you can ask for.

"I'll miss those guys."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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