Jason Kidd, one of the greatest point guards and on-court leaders of all time, has delivered his last assist.
After 19 mostly spectacular seasons that surely will make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer, Kidd, 40, said he decided over the weekend to walk away from basketball. The Knicks made the announcement yesterday.
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"I think it's time," Kidd said during a phone interview Monday night. "Physically, I feel good. Mentally, I just think it was time to move on."
Kidd said he would like to get into coaching or broadcasting and added that he retired with no regrets.
The No. 2 pick in the 1994 NBA draft, Kidd won the Co-Rookie of the Year award with Grant Hill, who announced his retirement over the weekend. Kidd helped the Mavericks win the NBA title in 2011 and led the Nets to back-to-back Finals appearances in 2002-03.
But Kidd had a rough end to his career in his only season with the Knicks, going scoreless in the last 10 postseason games. He played a total of 11:43 in the Knicks' final two games against the Pacers, none in the second half.
"I came in the league as not a shooter, not a scorer," Kidd said. "My game was to play defense and make my teammates better. The most important stat to me was that left column -- winning. Nothing else matters."
Kidd helped his teams reach the playoffs 17 consecutive years. His leadership was a big key as the Knicks won 54 games and earned their first Atlantic Division title in 19 years. He averaged 6.0 points, 3.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 76 games as a starter and reserve.
"Jason provided an incredible voice inside our locker room and I considered it an honor to say I coached him," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.
For his career, Kidd averaged 12.6 points, 8.7 assists. 6.3 rebounds and 1.93 steals with the Mavericks, Suns, Nets and Knicks. He ranks second all-time in assists (12,091) and steals (2,684) and third in minutes (50,111), three-point field goals (1,988) and triple-doubles (107).
He played his best basketball with the Nets, turning around that star-crossed franchise after being acquired from Phoenix in 2001 in a blockbuster trade that included former Knick Stephon Marbury.
The Nets won two Eastern Conference championships and four Atlantic Division titles and made the playoffs in each of Kidd's six full seasons with them.
"He changed the whole culture and perception of the whole organization," said Lawrence Frank, a Nets assistant or head coach during Kidd's tenure with the team. "He's all about winning. He's one of a kind, one of the greats. He made players better. He made coaches better. He made management better. There aren't a lot of people who can do that."
Kidd also helped the United States to two Olympic gold medals (2000 and 2008). He made the All-NBA first team five times and earned a spot on the All-Defensive Team nine times. He also led the league in assists five times in his storied career.
"It was a tough decision because I love the competition," Kidd said. "But I figured that was the right way to go."
Kidd signed a three-year, $9.3- million deal last summer. His retirement clears $3.1 million off the Knicks' books, but they're still well over the salary cap. They have roughly $70.6 million tied to seven players.
The Knicks have the No. 24 pick in the draft, and the $3.1-million mini-midlevel exception and minimum salaries to offer free agents. They need point guard help now, as well as size and a post presence -- two shortcomings the Pacers exposed.
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