DALLAS -- Championship or not, Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd said he has no plans of entering retirement with one more season left on his contract.
Kidd, 38 and feeling "great," is trying to become the oldest point guard in NBA history to win a championship. It would be the first of his 17-year career, and on Saturday he said if it happens it won't send him riding off into the sunset.
"I would love to continue to keep playing if I feel the way I do now," Kidd said. "I feel great."
The Mavs begin the NBA Finals on Tuesday night at the Miami Heat. It is the third Finals of Kidd's career and first since consecutive trips in 2002 and 2003 with the New Jersey Nets.
Second on the NBA's all-time assists list behind John Stockton, Kidd has said that if a potential lockout were to wipe out the entire 2011-12 season, it could be tough for him to return as a 39-year-old going on 40. Otherwise, he fully intends to fulfill the remaining year on a contract that will pay him $8.6 million.
"I know I'm not going to be playing 35 minutes a night, so I still have a lot to give back to the game and hopefully a younger point guard I can help develop and share my notes with him and make him a better player," Kidd said. "So, I still have a lot left to give to the game."
That much has been obvious during this playoff run. Kidd is enjoying his most productive postseason run since rejoining the Mavs, the team that drafted him second overall in 1994. Kidd is averaging 9.9 points, 7.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds in 15 games, plus he has a playoff-high 33 steals.
Several of those steals have come against scoring machines Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. Kidd's late-game defense against those two perennial All-Stars has arguably been his most impressive feat of the playoffs.
Next on Kidd's crunch-time defensive hit list could be Heat superstar LeBron James. That prospect made the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Kidd chuckle.
"He can score, he rebounds, he finds the open guy. He has the total package," Kidd said of his 6-8 former Olympic teammate. "And he's about 265 (pounds). He's playing better than anybody right now. If I am in his way I just hope that he doesn't hurt me."
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.