Mavs offseason report — Kidd: 'Hopefully I’ll be back'
Earl K. Sneed takes a look ahead to the uncertain future of point guard Jason Kidd before he enters free agency on July 1.
Kidd: 'Hopefully I’ll be back'
DALLAS — Yes, he’s 39.
Yes, he’s played an astonishing 18 seasons.
But if Game 4 of the Dallas Mavericks’ first-round series sweep at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder proved anything it’s that veteran point guard Jason Kidd still has plenty left in the tank.
Making it known throughout the 66-game shortened season that he would like to play another two years in order to reach a 20th campaign, Kidd tallied up a near triple-double with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 4-for-8 from three-point range in the final game versus the Thunder, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out eight assists to boot.
But was that the last time you’ll see Kidd in a Mavericks uniform?
“I’d love to have him back,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said of Kidd. “Obviously, in my career I’ve played with two of the best passing point guards there ever were with [Steve Nash] and him. He’s been great, he’s been a warrior and probably one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever been around. That’s why he was able to stick around a long time, ’cause he still has it. He can make big shots, he competes on defense, he doesn’t care about stats and he’s been a great friend off the court, too. So, just a great guy, a Hall of Fame player, and we wish to have him back, but if he decides, ‘Hey, there’s a good team and I can come off the bench and still give them something,’ and he leaves, then I can’t be mad at him.”
On July 1, Kidd will hit the market as a free agent after engineering the Mavs to their first title in franchise history last season. This after dealing with several nagging injuries while averaging career-low numbers with just 6.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 48 games.
Those numbers saw a spike in the playoffs to 11.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists. Now, the Sportsmanship Award winner and the Mavericks’ front office will have decisions to make as both head into a summer of uncertainty.
“Well, I’m a player, so I don’t have anything to do with that,” Kidd explained at Sunday’s exit interviews. “That’s up to our owner and the president and GM, those guys and the coach. They’ll figure out how to get this team better, and hopefully I’ll be back. … I think [Mavericks owner Mark Cuban] and those guys have a plan, and we’ll see what happens this summer."
He added: “I really have enjoyed my time here, it’s gone by extremely fast. And I feel like I can still help a team win, and hopefully it’s back here.”
That plan may or may not include Kidd, however, after president of basketball operations and GM Donnie Nelson admitted Sunday that while the Mavs’ brass would love to have six free-agent players and free-agent-to-be coach Rick Carlisle back for next year, it will have to be at the right price.
And with Cuban armed with financial flexibility for the first time since purchasing the team and looking to make a big splash in free agency, that could leave Kidd free to land with another suitor or possibly back as a backup for a squad looking to get younger after once again taking the court this year as the oldest in the league.
“Hopefully I do have a little value. I don’t want to come cheap or come free, but the finance part always takes care of itself. The fit and also being comfortable (are important when picking a team in free agency). This is a comfortable place, it fits I think well, and again, Cuban and those guys have a plan and we’ll see what happens. … I will help whatever it takes to recruit, but I’ve gotta find a home first, too,” Kidd concluded.