Has anyone noticed how weird Jason Kidd's game has gotten recently?
Not "bad" or "ineffective," just "weird." He'll pace that Dallas offense without picking up the same sort of ball-dominating stats he used to, but he still seems absolutely in control of things even if he's just relegated to making the lead pass, or penetrating enough to start a wave of extra passes. And even though his Mavs are down 0-2 in their playoff series (and title defense) to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kidd still seems like a game-changer of the highest order.
He's also a free agent this summer. A free agent of the highest order, in Kidd's estimation, who will probably play his last game as a Dallas Maverick whenever the Mavs play their last game — sometime later this week, or in late June. And according to Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, if teams don't come correct with their free-agent cash, Kidd just might call it a day. Here's Chris' tweet, from Wednesday night:
It's safe to say that even in the midst of a playoff run that has seen Kidd miss 14 of 18 shots over two games, and even though the surefire Hall of Famer will turn 40 towards the ends of next season, Jason is in the catbird seat. Based on the market alone, a 39-year-old point guard that has shot 36 percent from the floor for two consecutive seasons leading up to the season in which he'll turn 40, shouldn't be making anywhere near the mid-level exception, much less something approximating the three-year, $25 million deal he signed in 2009.
But Kidd is a weird player now that does things with the ball that a whole heap of ball dominating youngsters just haven't gotten familiar with. He takes chances and probes the defense in ways that don't show up in the assist ledger, surprising defenses that are used to defending the same, stale, pick-and-roll basketball 80 other times a year.
Does that diversion from orthodoxy make up for the terrible shooting marks, or the uptick in turnover ratio (the amount of possessions he uses up that end in a turnover), or the fact that you have to hide Kidd on defense at times? We're not sure.
We'd love to find out, though.
It's a grind, that 82-game season, and Kidd has only played for three franchises since being drafted in 1994. At this point in his life, if he's going to suit up and enter into that dog and pony show for yet another season, at his age, he's likely only going to want to do it for teams that pay him quite a bit, or in locations he's familiar with. The Suns, as we discussed earlier on Thursday, are rebuilding. The Nets don't play in New Jersey anymore, though it's not as if Kidd lived in that state during his time spent with the Nets.
And the Nets' point guard, from 2011-12? The Mavericks may have given up a shot at defending the title this year, just to be able to make Deron Williams the Dallas Mavericks' point guard for 2012-13 and beyond. Sacrificing Tyson Chandler and Kidd's possible re-signing along the way just to secure a future with a younger, All-Star point man. We can't blame them, even if they fall short in their pursuit.
So for Kidd to walk away, 2011 championship still ringing in his ears, and legacy well established? We get it. 40 is 40 — it's usually too old for an NBA gig, but the prime of life for about a million other things. And Kidd has myriad options whether they're basketball-related or not.
We would love to see him give it one more try, though, with a team he's unfamiliar with. Just to get weird with things, all over again. We're not sure who that team is, at this early point, as Kidd still works as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. But we'd like to see one pop up, with a price that's right for both sides.