Prior to the start of last season, the Knicks acquired a free agent that provided an impact on the floor and inside the locker room. During this summer’s frenzy, New York added a similar player in terms of credibility, experience, and ability to help gel all the pieces on the squad into once cohesive unit.
Jason Kidd will travel east from Dallas to the Big Apple, joining his former teammate Tyson Chandler one year after the big man left the Mavericks following their championship run in 2011. The 10-time All-Star is a future Hall of Famer and a proven leader at the highest level.
“I’m loving that,” a beaming Chandler reacted at Team USA practice in Las Vegas. “J. Kidd is invaluable in the locker room and he’s going to be huge for us. He is going to help out the offense out as well as the defense and really just get guys in gear.”
Kidd owns a wealth of playoff exposure, including back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, and a title with Dallas two seasons ago. Some pundits considered Kidd the missing piece to the Mavericks quest to a championship, considering his evolving game that expanded out to the 3-point line to go along with top notch distribution skills.
Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony is ecstatic to join forces with the former No. 2 overall pick, “With J. Kidd, a point guard, who can just bring the ball up the court and get everybody involved. I don’t have to do too much ball handling. Right now my mindset is to work off the ball a lot, especially on this team [Team USA] right here. It’s kind of helping me out to prepare for that in my regular season.”
At 39-years old, Kidd garners massive respect from his peers. Lakers star Kobe Bryant believes the addition of Kidd will positively affect the Knicks dynamic on the offensive side of the ball.
“I think it puts Carmelo and Amar’e [Stoudemire] in position to do what they do naturally, which is score the ball and not having to worry about facilitating for others. Just kind of do what they do best,” Bryant expressed.
Kidd captured co-Rookie of the Year honors in 1995 and developed into one of the elite signal callers in the league. A true point guard, Kidd was the NBA assists leader five times, named to the All-NBA First team five times, and a four-time member of the All-NBA Defensive First Team. New York welcomes a player that also ranks No. 3 in all-time triple doubles.
While practicing for Team USA, Thunder star Kevin Durant shared praise for the Knicks new man, “That’s a guy you look at and want to be like. He’s a hero to a lot of people, playing for almost 20 years in the league at a high level. He’s playing great basketball at the age of 39 years old, that’s something that I wish I could do and hope I can do.”
Entering his 19th season, Kidd is seeking another shot at the ultimate prize on the grand stage. The commentary from his counterparts around the league is proof he can elevate the Knicks to the next level.