Was Jason Kidd's $25,000 fine a wise investment?

If you think Jason Kidd was surprised by his $25,000 fine, you’re greatly underestimating the savvy of one of the smartest players in NBA history.

Kidd had to anticipate a fine coming when he declared that the Mavs don’t get the respect from the refs that they deserve as defending champions and ripped the officiating crew’s critical foul call on Ian Mahinmi after Monday night’s loss in Oklahoma City.

It was simply a matter of whether the fine would be worth it. The early results indicate that Kidd got a heck of a bargain.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the Mavs shot 30 free throws the next night, but it’s hard to believe Kidd’s comments didn’t have some impact on the officials, at least subconsciously.

You could argue that the Mavs attacked more aggressively, but the stats are pretty startling. Playing their fourth game in five nights and sixth game in eight nights, the Mavs attempted their most free throws since a Dec. 30 win over the Raptors. They shot six more free throws than they had in their previous two losses combined. And they shot about 150 percent more free throws than their average.

Mark Cuban, whose measure rant after the Mavs’ previous loss to the Thunder cost him $75,000 (plus a matching charitable donation), has learned to pick his spots to rip the refs over the years.

Rest assured that Cuban still gets heated about missed calls on a regular basis, but he’s become much more cost efficient with his complaints. Plus, by being selective, it’s much more likely for his comments to be listened to and comprehended by the officials and league office instead of just dismissed as white noise.

Now, consider how much more impact those kind of comments have when they’re coming from Kidd, who rarely strays from the politically correct path while talking to the media. He hadn’t been fined by the league for criticizing refs since his classic “three blind mice” rant in 2006.

Kidd made a calculated decision to play the Rodney Dangerfield card with the refs this week. It seemed to pay immediate dividends.

If that continues to be the case, a man who has earned more than $170 million in NBA salary might have just made the smartest $25,000 investment of his life.