DALLAS – Just to be clear, Jason Kidd doesn’t consider himself to be a backup-caliber point guard at this point of his Hall of Fame career.
Kidd would just be willing to back up Deron Williams and a “very short” list of other elite point guards.
The lockout-compressed season was rough on the 39-year-old Kidd’s body. He dealt with a variety of nagging injuries while averaging career lows in points (6.2), assists (5.5) and rebounds (4.1).
But Kidd, whose numbers ticked upward to 11.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 6.0 assists during the Mavs’ brief playoff sprint, is confident he can help a team next season. He’s entering free agency looking for a good fit and a decent deal with a contender, not a bench to ride.
“I’m going campaigning for Most Improved Player next year,” Kidd deadpanned. “You guys are laughing. I’m serious.”
Kidd is completely serious in his belief that he can still contribute to a contender. If that means serving as a backup to an All-Star, Kidd said his ego can handle it.
However, Kidd admits that it would be a major adjustment considering his competitive fire.
“I would probably have to talk to Don Kalkstein a lot,” Kidd said, referring to the Mavs’ sports psychologist. “He helped me get the sportsmanship award, so he can definitely handle that job.”
On a serious note, Kidd said: “If I was young, it would probably be hard. But understanding and making adjustments, as a professional, you have to accept your role, and that's what I've done as I've gotten older, and so if that means coming off the bench, then I can handle that. That's just another challenge, and that's the way I would look at it.”
The challenge for the Mavs’ front office is recruiting a point guard good enough for Kidd to back up.