Mark Cuban’s “tear it down to build it back up” plan has worked out about as well as Napoleon invading Russia so far. No Deron Williams. No Steve Nash. No Dwight Howard (yet, at least). Jason Terry leaves for Boston.
And now Jason Kidd, who the Mavs said they were near a deal with, has jilted them at the altar and will instead sign a multi-year deal with the Knicks, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.
With the Mavericks confident that they were closing in Thursday on a verbal agreement on a three-year deal with Kidd worth $9 million, sources told ESPN.com that Kidd — after all-day deliberations with both teams — has decided instead to leave Dallas to join the Knicks for a similar deal.
Sources briefed on the matter told ESPN.com that Kidd was ultimately swayed to take the Knicks’ offer to come to New York and take on the challenge of trying to help the Knicks move into the Eastern Conference and also mentor fans darling’ Jeremy Lin.
Everyone may want to steer clear of Mark Cuban for the next 48 hours or so. At least. Just for your own protection.
Not sure where this leaves Raymond Felton, who reportedly was going to New York also. Probably out in the cold, looking for another team to join. The Knicks don’t need Kidd, Felton an Jeremy Lin. And Lin is maybe the most secure of all of them.
For New York, this is a decent if not thrilling signing. Kidd gives the Knicks a solid point guard who can space the floor with threes and doesn’t need to dominate the ball. Which is good, because the offense runs through Carmelo Anthony.
Kidd is entering his 19th NBA season and will go down as one of the game’s best point guards. But he is not that guy anymore at age 39. Last season Kidd gave the Mavericks 28 minutes with 6.2 points and 5.5 assists per game, and his play was solid if not his old spectacular self. He also missed 18 regular season games due to injury.
The Spurs have been the Spurs this season, going 19-8 with an elite defense and offense that’s good enough to get them wins, thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge playing at an All-Star level.
Starting Tuesday, they add Kawhi Leonard back to the mix.
He will return to the lineup against Dallas, but will be on a minutes restriction, coach Gregg Popovich said on Tuesday. He would not say how many minutes, although around 20 seems a logical starting spot.
Leonard is one of the five best players in the NBA (and that may be selling him short). He averaged a career-high 25.5 points a game last season, he’s arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, and he finished third in the MVP voting last season.
However, there are going to be adjustments. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the focal point of the offense, but he could see fewer touches, particularly in crunch time. Kyle Anderson could see fewer minutes, and Rudy Gay may as well because Popovich liked some small-ball lineups last season with Leonard at the four. A lot of players will see their rotations change.
That said, it’s the Spurs. Do we really expect them to be anything but an incredibly good regular season team? One that is about to get better?
The injuries just keep hitting the Pelicans. Guys like Solomon Hill and Alexis Ajinca are out for extended periods of time. Anthony Davis has missed four of the team’s last six games and is questionable for Wednesday night due to a left adductor injury.
Now comes the news that reserve guard Tony Allen will be out three to four weeks due to a nondisplaced left proximal fibula fracture, the team announced Tuesday. This is the part of the bone near the ankle.
Allen has played a limited role for New Orleans off the bench this season, averaging 12.4 minutes a game, and averaging 4.7 points. His reputation is that of a defensive stopper, and when he is on the court this season the Pelicans’ defense has been 5.6 points per 100 possessions better. However, father time has started to catch up with him and he is not the defender he once was.
Expect the minutes to bump up for Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore with this injury, which is not a bad thing as they have played well (they were knocking down threes against the Rockets Monday like they were named Curry), plus Ian Clark could get a little more run.
Kawhi Leonard, enabled by the Spurs’ no-nonsense culture, is probably the NBA’s most boring superstar.
He’s widely recognized as the league’s best defender, and he has worked himself into an elite offensive threat. He has already won a Finals MVP, and regular-season MVP could eventually be in the cards.
But Leonard is notoriously reserved. For someone who has been on this stage for so long, we know little about him.
Except we now know he apparently likes karate.
Gonna chop y’all up. Look at all of us. Karate styyyle.
If “karate styyyle” doesn’t become Leonard’s catchphrase, I don’t even know what we’re doing.
Leonard will finally have the chance to chop up an NBA opponent tonight, when he makes his return from injury.
Michael C. Wright of ESPN:
Kevin Durant has become a villain to many.
Clearly not to this Warriors fan, though.