ESPN Jason Kidd announced his retirement Monday after 19 seasons as one of the best passing and rebounding point guards in NBA history. The thought of retirement first began to creep into the New York Knicks point guard’s mind around the All-Star break. But he didn’t think seriously about it until recently. Over the weekend at a wedding in Georgia he made the decision. “I think it is the right time,” Kidd told ESPNNewYork.com. “When you think about 19 years, it has been a heckuva ride. Physically, I want to be able to participate in activities with my kids so it has taken a toll. It is time to move on and think about maybe coaching or doing some broadcasting.” “Jeff [Schwartz] and I and my family had been talking this past weekend,” Kidd added of his agent. “We talked a lot and we felt it was the right time to move on and so we notified the Knicks. They were kind of taken aback. We told them [earlier] that I wanted to come back and play. But this weekend was when we got a chance to relax [and really think about it]. It is the right thing to do.” Kidd, 40, leaves the game as sure-fire Hall of Fame point guard. The 10-time All-Star led the NBA in assists five times and finished second all-time in assists and steals behind John Stockton. Kidd, who had two years remaining on his contract at just over $3 million per year, leaves with a legacy that includes an NBA championship with the Dallas Mavericks and two Olympic gold medals with Team USA.
Jason Kidd will go down in history as one of the greatest point guards in NBA History, following a 19-year-career filled with many accolades, and checking off everything on a the NBA career bucket list. Let’s run it down. 3rd All-Time in career triple doubles, 2nd All-Time in career assists, 10 Time NBA All-Star, NBA Co-Rookie of the Year, 5 Time All-NBA First Team, 4 Time All-NBA Defensive First Team, NBA All-Rookie First Team, 5 Time NBA Assist Leader, Second-Most Assists All-Time, NBA Champion.
It was clearly time for Kidd to retire, after an excellent start to the 2013 season when he helped to lead an injury-depleted Knicks team to several wins, he hit a wall. Breaking down during the rigors of an NBA season is expected from a 40-year-old point guard, and it certainly happened to Kidd, as he was held scoreless during much of the Knicks 2013 playoff run (his last points scored in game two of the Knicks round one series against the Boston Celtics, scoreless for eight games and 177 minutes). However when Kidd was on the floor, he had a calming presence on the Knicks, the team seemed more under control and the offense seemed to flow better with the veteran court general on the floor.
For the Knicks, Kidd’s retirement frees up some cap space, but the Knicks also must hit the free agent market to find a point guard to backup starter Raymond Felton. With rumors swirling that fellow backup point guard Pablo Prigioni may be returning to South America to be closer to his family, the retirement of Kidd makes adding a backup point guard much more of a necessity this offseason. Expect the Knicks to be players in the free agent market for a veteran backup point guard who can give them quality minutes off the bench. I personally like second-year guard Iman Shumpert on the wing, but he could also play some backup point guard next season, and he has publically stated he will work at point guard in the NBA summer league.
The Knicks also hold the 24th pick in late June’s 2013 NBA Draft, and there are several point guards who could be available and who could give the team a much needed injection of youth. Some point guard prospects to keep an eye on when the Knicks are on the clock include Shane Larkin (5’11 171lbs) Miami, Dennis Schroeder (6’2 165lbs) Germany, Pierre Jackson (5’11 176lbs) Baylor or Isaiah Canaan (6′ 188lbs) Murray State.
One player who is a non-point guard who intrigues me as a prospect for the New York Knicks is Tony Mitchell (6’8 220lbs) North Texas, an athletic scorer and rebounder who has talent and is coming off a disappointing season. There are also several big men who could help the Knicks protect the rim and rebound off of the bench, including Gorgui Dieng (6’11 230lbs) Lousiville, Lucas Nogueira (6’11 218lbs) Brazil, Jeff Withey (7′ 222lbs) Kansas or Rudy Gobert (7’2 228lbs) France. Other options could include sharpshooters Glen Rice Jr. (6’6 211lbs) NBA D-League, Allen Crabbe (6’6 197lbs) California, Reggie Bullock (6’7 200lbs) UNC.
I know I turned this Jason Kidd article into an NBA Draft post. I cannot help but think of ways to improve the New York Knicks.