After KG, Pierce and Ray scratched their names off that “Best Players to Never Win a Championship” list last spring, Allen Iverson jumped to the forefront as the crowd favorite to get his first ring next. That it would actually happen seemed pretty likely when A.I. was initially traded to the Pistons, but we’ve seen how that’s worked out since.
After A.I., one of the remaining future Hall of Famers still looking for that elusive ‘chip is Jason Kidd. And I’m calling it right now that he’ll get his in 2010.
Kidd will be a free agent this summer, and having just turned 36 years old last week, he’s clearly in that space where he’ll only sign with a contender. So even if that means he’s Gary Payton in Miami — if not quite Mitch Richmond with the Lakers — the team Kidd ends up with will be one that’s already a championship threat, that he’ll only make better.
Over the weekend, Kidd was quoted in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
“I could sit and watch from the bench,” Kidd said. “[LeBron] is so talented, he’s going to get guys wide open shots. So we’ll look at free agency and what happens for me next year.”
Don’t read too much into that and think Kidd only has eyes for the Cavs. Kidd was probably asked by a Cleveland reporter specifically if he’d like to play with LeBron, so what else would he say? But the Cavs would definitely be on his short list, one that probably includes San Antonio, Boston, Orlando, Utah, the Lakers, and maybe Houston, New Orleans and Portland (still not quite there in terms of competing for a title) if he thinks he’s got more than one year left in his body.
If Kidd is truly willing to play a lesser role and/or take a big pay cut — which everything about him as a player says he would be — he immediately improves a contender’s chances. He knows his place and limitations offensively, and Kidd’s basketball IQ is high enough that he could adapt to any system, whether it’s Phil‘s triangle, Pop‘s deliberate offense, or Stan Van Gundy‘s three-happy style. And while Kidd has slipped defensively in recent years, he wouldn’t be asked to guard Chris Paul or Deron Williams for 30 minutes.
Everything is in place for Kidd to find the right match this setting. His entire career he’s played a winning style of basketball, and it’ll pay off for him next year.
Where do you think J-Kidd will play next season?