UPDATE (4:58 PM EST): Surprise: Kidd’s negotiations with the Mavs were apparently an elaborate hoax, as Marc Stein has now reported that Kidd will join the New York Knicks on a comparable deal. Those who groaned after hearing of this non-signing can now breathe free; Kidd is a Maverick no more, a development which should open the door for an amusing array of short-term ball-handling solutions. Then again, supposing Delonte West stays in Dallas, maybe the Mavs can put the ball in his hands and look to employ stopgaps elsewhere. Oy vey — I like West quite a bit, but this is going to be a miserable season of Maverick basketball.
1:03 EST: The Dallas Mavericks are a twice-spurned and very desperate team. So desperate, in fact, that after failing to manufacture returns on their visions of the future, they’ve reluctantly returned to the status quo. Per Jeff Caplan and Marc Stein of ESPN Dallas, Kidd and the Mavs have virtually settled on a three-year, $9 million deal that flies in the face of Dallas’ long-term vision while avoiding any real damage.
I’m not sure many who watched the Mavericks closely last season would claim that bringing back Kidd is in any way a productive move, but the salary is manageable enough — and the possibility of Kidd retiring before this deal is through is real enough — that this odd bit of roster filler comes without much real cost. Dallas certainly doesn’t move forward by bringing back the starting point guard of yesteryear, and yet with Dirk Nowitzki still the heart of the team (and the long-term plans of Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban as they are), the Mavericks also have little choice but to jog in place. Thus is the nature of a year spent idling; if Dallas really does intend to take another shot at free agency next season, they can’t afford to alienate Nowitzki, can’t afford to muck up their cap picture, and can’t afford to sign players for the sake of signing players.
This is an underwhelming gesture, but the kind that the Mavericks can wiggle their way out of a year from now if need be, or see dissipate in two years if Kidd opts to exit gracefully. That’s the only harm here; signings can only be as bad as their damage allows, and while re-signing Kidd doesn’t do much for the future (or present, for that matter) of the Mavs, it also doesn’t much impact their agenda.