Big men have played until they turned 40 in the NBA — Shaquille O’Neal wants to do it now, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Parish have done it among a number of others.
With guards, that’s much harder. Michael Jordan played until he was 39 and you notice that Washington Wizards Jordan didn’t end up in the new NBA 2K11. With good reason. John Stockton got there, but he was an exception to the rule of guards’ skills dropping off the table in their mid-30s.
Jason Kidd told FanHouse he wants to play until he is 40. No, that did not happen two years ago like you thought, he is just about to turn 38. Which means two more seasons after this one.
“I would love to follow in those footsteps,” Kidd said in an interview with FanHouse about being as effective at that age as Stockton, who averaged 13.8 points in the season he hit 40 and 10.8 and 7.8 assists in his final season of 2002-03 after turning 41. “He’s the best. If I could come close to doing what he did at his age, I would be very happy.”
Kidd is still effective on the offensive end — he has a PER of 17.2 last season — because he’s become more efficient. He has taught himself how to knock down the three (he shot below 30 percent in 2001, 42 percent last season) and turns the ball over less than he did during his late 20s, when he was leading the Nets to the NBA finals. The Mavericks need that scoring.
But more than that — right now the Mavericks need his mind. They have guys like Jason Terry and Shawn Marion who can still score but cannot create their own shots like they used to. Kidd is the guy who can get them the ball in spots where they can score other than some simple wing isolation that they are no longer good at.
The mind will still be there when he is 40. The question is will his body allow him to keep playing this well? The most important guy — the guy that signs the checks — thinks so.
“I don’t see why not,” [Mavericks owner Mark] Cuban said of Kidd playing into his 40s. “It’s not like he’s a high-flyer and he’s losing his (leaping ability). He’s got a very special skill and he knows how to use it. He gets smarter and his hands are just as quick. His shooting has improved dramatically. … So he continues to add weapons. … He’s just a genetic freak.”
Friday morning, Jayson Tatum guaranteed the U.S. team would beat the World team in the Rising Stars game that night. The U.S. team won.
So, Tatum was asked Saturday morning whether he wanted to guarantee anything for that night. He guaranteed he’d win the Skills Challenge. He won.
So, then ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked Tatum whether he wants to guarantee anything else. And he really let it ride.
We’re going to win the Finals this year. February 16th, mark it. Jayson Tatum says we’re going to win the Finals this year.
Obviously, Tatum wasn’t going to pick against Boston. But this wasn’t that. He could have easily avoided such a grand proclamation.
Instead, even if he were just caught up in the emotion of an All-Star Saturday Night victory and taking the interview especially seriously, Tatum put a little more attention and pressure on the Celtics.
I’m not convinced that’s what this team needs.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Kristaps Porzingis will sign long-term with Dallas this summer, and Porzingis he was on the same page.
But he will be a free agent. Restricted, but a free agent, nonetheless.
Porzingis’ exit from the Knicks provided a clue about where he’d want to go if he explores leaving the Mavericks.
Marc Stein of The New York Times in his newsletter:
The four teams Porzingis had on his wish list of trade destinations were the Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors, according to two people with knowledge of the list who were not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Porzingis had little leverage to get to any of these teams. Because he’ll be a restricted free agent, the Knicks or any team acquiring him would retain immense team control over him.
The Nets and Clippers project to have cap space this summer. The Heat and Raptors don’t.
But even if Porzingis signs an offer sheet elsewhere, Dallas will will likely match it.
Still, Porzingis will become an unrestricted free agent someday – 2020 in the unlikely event he accepts his qualifying offer or a future year if he signs a multi-year deal this summer. It’s probably best to file away this list until then.
The Knicks opened double-max cap space for next summer. Kevin Durant‘s company is moving to a new office in New York. Kyrie Irving backed away from his commitment to re-sign with the Celtics.
Plenty of people were already connecting dots when this video emerged of Durant and Irving talking at the All-Star game (in which, not for nothing, they jelled).
Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops:
Irving, via MassLive (warning: language in the above video):
It’s a video of me and one of my best friends talking. And then it turns out to be a dissection of a free agency meeting? Do you get that? Like, do you get that? And then I’m asked questions about it? That’s what disconnects me from all that s—.
That wasn’t a denial.
Still, it’s hard to believe Durant and Irving really discussed free agency in a hallway with so many people passing. There are far more discreet places to have that conversation.
Like a restaurant in Miami where they were spotted together:
I understand Irving’s exasperation with this, just as I understood Durant’s testiness over constant speculation. They should be allowed to spend time together as friends without it turning into a bigger deal.
But there is immense interest in where they play next year. People will continue to search for clues – some that prove insignificant, some that might prove significant – about the stars’ futures.
So, I’m at least glad Irving addressed this. It’s going to get discussed either way. Better for him to enter his perspective into the conversation.
There were two memorable dunks in this year’s dunk contest:
The Hawks nearly stopped us from seeing that latter spectacle.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN on Saturday:
Now, there’s a little curve ball here. The last update that I had was that the Hawks hadn’t approved John Collins jumping over an airplane yet and that they were a little bit were worried that he was going to trip on it and injure himself.
After watching the dunk, I understand the Hawks’ reluctance. Collins broke the plane!
At least he seemingly emerged unscathed.