Jason Kidd Chooses Knicks Over Mavericks

That moment, and the point guard, at last arrived Thursday afternoon.

, who was set to rejoin the Dallas Mavericks, made a late and stunning reversal and agreed to join the Knicks instead. Negotiations were continuing Thursday night, and it was not yet clear whether the Knicks would sign Kidd outright or acquire him in a sign-and-trade deal.

Just as Kidd committed, the Knicks learned that , their promising 23-year-old point guard, had agreed to an offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, complicating the picture further.

The Rockets’ offer could be worth as much as $28.8 million over four years, with backloaded payments in the final two seasons, according to a person who was briefed on the details. The fourth year is a team option. Because Lin is a restricted free agent, the Knicks have the right to match the deal.

The offer sheet cannot be signed until the N.B.A. moratorium ends next Wednesday, at which time the Knicks will have three days to either match it or let Lin walk. The Knicks are determined to keep Lin, even if the contract costs them millions more in luxury-tax payments.

Under the Rockets’ offer, Lin would earn $5 million next season, $5.2 million in the second year and balloon payments of $9.3 million in the third and fourth seasons — a structure that is designed to dissuade the Knicks from matching the offer.

Houston is in desperate need of a point guard, having agreed to trade their starter, Kyle Lowry, to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday. The Rockets will receive a first-round pick that, under the terms of the trade, is guaranteed to be in the lottery in one of the next four drafts.

Houston also lost its highly regarded backup point guard, Goran Dragic, who agreed to terms with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

In trading Lowry, the Rockets appeared to be going all in for Lin. It will be another week before they know if they have him.

Kidd, a 10-time All-Star, would be an ideal mentor for Lin, as well as a proven playmaker who can organize the Knicks’ disjointed offense and make sense of the clunky -Amar’e Stoudemire tandem. Even at age 39, Kidd has the skills and the credibility to make a difference.

Landing Kidd takes some of the sting out of losing Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers a day earlier. It also gives the publicity-minded Knicks a modest boost after they watched the Nets celebrate Deron Williams’s decision to stay with the team when it moves to Brooklyn.

Signing Kidd — who led the Nets to consecutive N.B.A. finals in 2002 and 2003 when they were in New Jersey — adds yet another layer to the budding rivalry.

Kidd helped lead the Mavericks to the championship only 13 months ago and is a virtual lock for the Hall of Fame. But he is about to enter his 19th season. His days as an elite point guard are over. The Knicks simply hope he can provide quality minutes every night, whether as Lin’s backup or as the starter.

The most the Knicks can offer Kidd is $9.7 million over three years, by using the so-called mini-midlevel exception. They could pay him more through a sign-and-trade arrangement with Dallas, an option that was being explored Thursday, according to a person involved in the talks.

Kidd had all but committed to the Mavericks and was closing in on a three-year, $9 million deal. But at 4:45 p.m., reported that Kidd had changed his mind and was heading to Madison Square Garden, where he will join a crowded marquee of stars.

Even as reports circulated early in the day that Kidd was heading back to Dallas, a person familiar with his mind-set said that Kidd “so much wanted to get to New York” and was clearly conflicted about his decision.

The Knicks snared Kidd just one day after losing Nash — another elite-but-aging point guard — to the Lakers. The Knicks had been negotiating with Phoenix on a sign-and-trade deal for Nash, but Nash instead pushed for a trade to Los Angeles, to compete for championships alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

Before landing Kidd, the Knicks were considering an array of second-tier options, including Raymond Felton, who played a half-season for them in 2010-11 before being traded to Denver in the Anthony deal. Felton could still be an option if the Knicks let Lin leave.

Derek Fisher had also been in talks with the Knicks, but he is now expected to look elsewhere.

The Nets are now among the front-runners to sign Fisher, along with the Mavericks, the Chicago Bulls, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Fisher, who won five titles with the Lakers, joined the Thunder in February and was a key part of the rotation for Oklahoma City, which lost to the Miami Heat in the finals.

Five days into free agency, this is already shaping up as the Summer of the Point Guard. It began with Williams and Nash, two of the most prominent on the market. It continued with Kidd, Lowry, Dragic and Lin.

On Thursday, Chauncey Billups agreed to a new deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, while Jameer Nelson reached terms to return to the Orlando Magic. Two others have deals to stay put: Andre Miller with Denver and George Hill with Indiana.

A handful of solid point guards remain on the market, including Felton, Aaron Brooks, Ramon Sessions and Kirk Hinrich.

Knicks, Minus Amar’e Stoudemire Again, Fall to Raptors, 90-85

It turned into the Show.

Yet, despite his 35 points on a season-high 31 shots (his previous high was 17) and a comeback from down 18 early in the second half to one twice in the final 64 seconds, it wasn’t enough to prevent a 90-85 loss to the at Madison Square Garden.

Not enough to overcome the absence of Stoudemire, who sat out again with a sprained left ankle, but hopes to return for Wednesday’s game against Charlotte at the Garden.

For the Knicks (2-3), who beat the Kings, 114-92, on Saturday, Stoudemire cannot come back too soon.

Toney Douglas contributed 12 of his 22 points during a third quarter in which the Knicks embarked on their comeback.

But ultimately the Knicks’ performance suggested that Saturday might have been an aberration — particularly for Stoudemire’s replacement, the rookie Josh Harrellson, 0 for 4 on 3-pointers after going 4 for 6 in Sacramento.

The Knicks need their All-Star big man.

“I miss him a lot; I miss him a lot,” said Anthony, who missed a three to tie with less than 15 seconds left on what Coach called a busted play. “But most important I want him to be 100 percent healthy.”

Seventy percent, Anthony said, won’t do, and D’Antoni agrees.

“I don’t think there is a rush,” D’Antoni said. “He’s got to be 100 percent before he plays. We’re not going to risk anything.”

Referring to the truncated schedule, Stoudemire said: “It’s such an impactful season. You don’t want anything to linger on.”

Still, D’Antoni acknowledges that getting Stoudemire back as soon as possible is necessary for his offense, especially its pick-and-roll foundation, to start hitting on all cylinders, something it did infrequently during the three games the All-Star big man played before going down.

Because Tyson Chandler is more capable and occupies more space in the pick-and-roll than any of Stoudemire’s sidekicks last year, Stoudemire’s has to adjust, D’Antoni said.

Stoudemire dismissed any problems with making those adjustments, saying, “I’ve played with these guys.” But D’Antoni said: “It takes time. Everybody has different characteristics, and it just takes a while to blend them all and getting everybody to trust in what they’re doing.”

On Monday, whether it was a lack of trust in his teammates or just how the game played out, Anthony couldn’t explain his 31 shots, or the season-high 35 3’s the Knicks launched, of which they made just 10.

They scored only 11 points during a second quarter in which they dug a 17-point halftime deficit, then stormed back to within three in the third behind a 10-point burst by Douglas: two threes sandwiched around a four-point play. But after him, only Chandler, again plagued by fouls, scored in double figures (11).

“You might be able to sneak by one game,” D’Antoni said of life without Stoudemire.

Just not past a team that blew a 16-point lead to lose Sunday night in Orlando and squandered another double-digit advantage in a loss to Dallas this season.


Of the other injured Knicks besides Amar’e Stoudemire, the rookie guard Iman Shumpert could return soonest. He tested his sprained right knee with an extensive workout Monday, could practice Tuesday and may be ready Wednesday, less than two weeks after he injured his knee in the season-opening win over Boston. The original prognosis was twice that. … Jared Jeffries will not return until a day or two after he is ready, Mike D’Antoni said, to make sure his injured right calf has healed. The timetable is thus uncertain. … Baron Davis remains weeks away from returning from his back injury, D’Antoni said. … The N.B.A. rescinded the flagrant foul Mike Bibby received Sunday in Sacramento.

Stoudemire Sits, but Knicks Beat Kings

Amar’e Stoudemire’s sprained ankle swelled at 30,000 feet Friday afternoon, forcing a sudden shift in the Knicks’ identity. Stoudemire, the high-flying rim bender, was out. Josh Harrellson, the stout rookie jump-shooter, was in. had just become more interesting.

It also proved eye-opening.

Harrellson produced a double-double in his first N.B.A. start, and Tyson Chandler became the Knicks’ surprise clutch scorer Saturday night as the Knicks rolled to a 114-92 victory over the .

Harrellson, a 6-foot 10-inch, 275-pound mass of muscle, finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds in 38 minutes. Chandler, a defensive specialist, had 22 points — his most as a Knick — and 7 rebounds. He scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to repel a late Sacramento charge, and the Knicks (2-2) reached the calendar’s end on a high note.

“We had it going tonight offensively,” said Carmelo Anthony, who slogged his way to 23 points. “Guys, they got their groove back.”

Landry Fields had a breakout game with 21 points. And Toney Douglas (17 points) settled into his playmaker role, dishing out 8 assists and connecting repeatedly with Chandler. The Knicks thus salvaged a three-game trip that started with losses to Golden State and to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I thought Toney played like he did last year,” Coach said, praising the young backcourt of Douglas and Fields. “They will be products of, if the ball moves, they’ll play better.”

For the first time in three games, the ball did move, to the tune of 26 assists, with Anthony contributing five and Bill Walker six. It helped, too, that the Knicks played a Sacramento team that seems to lack an identity at either end of the court.

Marcus Thornton led the Kings with 14 points. Tyreke Evans, the former rookie of the year, had only 13 points. Jimmer Fredette, the rookie sensation who has energized Kings fans, had only 7 points, going 2 for 10 from the field.

The best rookie on the floor, though, was Harrellson, who was taken with the 45th pick last June — 35 picks after Fredette. He made his first attempt, a 3-pointer, then hit three more from the arc, finishing 5 for 11 from the field.

“It’s a big honor for me, and I hope I did well,” Harrellson said of replacing Stoudemire.

Aside from the big shots, Harrellson held DeMarcus Cousins, his former teammate at Kentucky, largely in check. Cousins had 9 points and 11 rebounds.

“I stopped one of the best big men in the league,” Harrellson said, adding later, “I’ve improved since I played with him, and he didn’t know really what I could do out there.”

Stoudemire called his injury “a typical ankle sprain” but his status for Monday’s home game against Toronto is uncertain.

D’Antoni had few options. He chose Harrellson for his beefy build and 3-point shot but added before tip-off: “It’s a little sight unseen. I don’t know yet.”

Three minutes after tip-off, Chandler was on the bench with two fouls, and the Knicks’ vaunted frontcourt was reduced to Anthony and two second-round picks, Harrellson and Jerome Jordan. Against any other team, that might have been a reason to shudder.

Despite the patchwork lineup, the Knicks promptly went on a 15-0 run — including three 3-pointers from Douglas — to take an early 20-10 lead. The Knicks pushed the lead to 22 points without a single basket from Anthony, who did not convert until the 6-minute-11-second mark of the second quarter.

The Kings found their stride around that time, with Jason Thompson igniting a surge that cut the deficit to 12 points. Anthony kept the Knicks in control, scoring 12 points in the period as the Knicks took a 56-42 lead into halftime.

When the Kings pulled to 14 behind in the fourth, Chandler responded with an 8-point burst in 71 seconds, twice converting off feeds from Douglas and once from Walker.

“I’m really trying to get in rhythm with my guards, trying to get my guards used to playing with me,” said Chandler, who had his highest point total since Feb. 26, when he was with Dallas.

The Knicks are trying to increase Chandler’s offensive role to take some pressure off Stoudemire and Anthony and to open the floor.

“If we can get ever get them one on one” with defenders, Chandler said, “because we play basketball like we did tonight, it’s a nightmare for teams.”


Iman Shumpert (knee) and Jared Jeffries (calf) are making steady progress and will be re-evaluated Monday. Jeffries is walking without pain and could resume running if doctors clear him. It is possible he could be playing by the end of the week. Shumpert said he was “ahead of schedule” and was cleared to shoot jumpers before the game while wearing a knee brace. He could be a week or two away from returning. “Man, I’m very optimistic,” he said.