Just days after watching his co-Rookie of the Year from 1995, Grant Hill, call it quits, Jason Kidd ultimately decided to do the same. He and the Knicks announced his retirement from the NBA following a Hall of Fame career that spanned over 19 seasons.
Following a career that included one NBA championship, five All-NBA teams, 10 all-star appearances, 9 All-NBA Defensive teams, and two Olympic gold medals, Kidd joined the Knicks last season to see if he and Tyson Chandler could reunite to capture their second championship together.
Losing to the Pacers in the second round of the playoffs, the Knicks fell well short of expectations as Kidd seemed to fade and fizzle out in the postseason. His inability to score in nearly a month span, and the minimal minutes he played against Indiana all but signaled his time in the NBA was coming to a close.
Still, that in no way discounts his ability to rise as one of the best floor generals the NBA has ever seen grace its hardwoods through nearly two full decades. What’s more, though Knicks’ Coach Mike Woodson likely overused Kidd throughout what proved to be his final season in the NBA, the fact remains the guard was a big part of why New York accomplished what they did this past year.
Kidd averaged 6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.6 steals for the Knicks in 2012-13. Though those are, nevertheless, solid averages for a player at the age of 40, the future Hall of Famer’s impact went way beyond that. Playing above his means as he was inserted into much more of a role than most expected, Kidd started 48 of 76 contests for the Knicks. His impact was immediately felt and his basketball IQ was seemingly infectious across the squad. Kidd was a leader who undoubtedly made New York a better team each time he took the court.
Kidd’s retirement (along with those of the likes of Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas this past year) merely continues to suggest that this past season may ultimately prove to have been the Knicks’ best shot at something truly special.
Still, though the contractual details regarding Kidd’s retirement are unknown at this point, if he chose to walk away from the two years left on his contract, that would bring the Knicks that much closer to sneaking under the tax bracket, which would allow them to do sign and trades during free agency. For that to happen, Marcus Camb (like Kidd) would also need to retire and/or agree to a very cheap buyout as well.
What lies ahead for Kidd remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say he gave New York everything he had in his final NBA season, even overachieving at times. While it’s been suggested that the likes of Wallace and Thomas may return to New York with post-retirement roles next season, the same suggestion can’t be made with as much certainty for Kidd. Whether he goes into broadcasting, coaching, or a front office role, nothing has yet been made of it potentially being in New York.
Kidd’s miraculous NBA career is one to be marveled at by NBA personnel and fans alike for years to come. His first post-retirement line of business may still be working out with Raymond Felton in the Hamptons this summer. Thus, the Knicks are likely to continue reaping the benefits of having called Kidd one of their own.