NEW YORK (AP) — NBA great Jason Kidd is leaving the Dallas Mavericks to sign with the New York Knicks, according to multiple reports late Thursday.
Kidd could rotate in with Jeremy Lin, or inherit the point guard role full time if the Knicks reverse course and decline to match an offer the Houston Rockets made to Lin, a restricted free agent whom they have said they intend to keep.
Kidd’s decision was a surprise in a dizzying span of point guard news. It was believed he would return to the Mavericks, especially after they missed out on Deron Williams. But ESPN.com reported that anonymous sources said Kidd had decided instead to join the Knicks for a three-year deal worth about $9 million.
The Knicks have been seeking veteran point guard help but lost out on Steve Nash a day earlier when Phoenix traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Deals cannot be signed until July 11.
The Knicks didn’t comment on the report and calls to Kidd’s agent were not returned.
The 39-year-old Kidd helped the Mavericks to the 2011 NBA title and also ranks among the top five all-time in assists, steals, triple-doubles and 3-pointers. Even though he’s slowed down from his perennial All-Star days, he could provide the veteran leadership the Knicks need and perhaps be the player who can maximize the production of the Carmelo Anthony-Amare Stoudemire tandem.
Kidd had some of his best years in New Jersey, leading the Nets to a pair of NBA Finals, and still has children there. The Nets dominated the rivalry with the Knicks back then, and now Kidd will be on the other side of it as the Nets move into their new home in Brooklyn.
The Knicks have said they plan to re-sign Lin, so it’s unclear what Kidd’s role will be. Perhaps they could even play together if the Knicks lose shooting guard Landry Fields, who agreed to an offer sheet with the Toronto Raptors.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.