Jason Kidd, center, passes around San Antonio's Gary Neal (14)...

Jason Kidd, center, passes around San Antonio's Gary Neal (14) as Danny Green watches during the fourth quarter. (March 23, 2012) Credit: AP

LAS VEGAS -- The Knicks' agreement with Jason Kidd was so unexpected that two of his close friends, Tyson Chandler and Deron Williams, never saw it coming.

Carmelo Anthony was stunned twice. He was convinced Steve Nash would be passing him the ball this season.

"That was a shock," Anthony said after the Olympic team practiced Friday. "I was shocked to hear [Nash] was going to the Lakers because the Lakers weren't nowhere in the picture at the time, and honestly, I really thought he was going to be in New York. But to hear the J-Kidd news took the burden off that."

The Knicks still are working out how they will acquire Kidd, either by signing him outright or through a sign-and-trade.

They have numerous scenarios in play that might require sign-and-trades, as guard Randy Foye and center Marcus Camby are on their radar. They're also expected to match Houston's four-year, $28.8-million offer sheet to Jeremy Lin. It would leave them with the $3-million mini-midlevel, and that won't be enough for all three free agents.

Foye would be a good fit. He plays both guard spots and defends. A source said the Knicks have begun exploring the possibility of a sign-and-trade.

But future Hall of Fame guard Kidd is on board. Chandler was his teammate when the Mavericks won the 2011 NBA title, and he believes Kidd will have a major impact on the Knicks and Lin if the point guard returns.

"Jason was incredible in Dallas playing with him, helping myself out on both ends of the floor, just bringing a calmness to our locker room," Chandler said. "He was never rattled. That's what we need. We need that in the huddle. It's going to be huge for us. He'll take somebody under his wing . . . It will be huge for Jeremy Lin because Jason will sit down, break down film with him, bring him to the sidelines and huddles and really help him out."

Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who attended practice, wouldn't address Kidd or Lin. But he said "I think so, absolutely" when he was asked if the situation at point guard will be better after July 11, when teams can officially sign players.

Anthony said playing with Kidd, who is second all-time with 11,842 assists, will make his and everyone's job easier.

"He's a point guard that can bring the ball upcourt and get everybody involved," Anthony said. "I don't have to do too much ballhandling. Right now, my mind-set is to start working off the ball a lot, especially with this team. This will help me to prepare for next season."

Although Kidd, 39, can't control games the way he used to, Chandler said people shouldn't underestimate him. "I feel like he definitely has a lot left," he said. "I throw his age out the window. Ultimately, I watch him play and see what he's capable of doing. He's definitely value on the court, but he's more value off the court, whether it's in the huddle, whether it's in the locker room, whether it's watching film. He's unbelievable."

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square

Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.


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