NEW YORK — The New York Knicks found their point guard to team with Jeremy Lin — or perhaps even replace him.
Jason Kidd is leaving the Dallas Mavericks to sign with the Knicks, according to multiple reports. He could rotate in with Lin, or inherit the point guard role full time if the Knicks reverse course and decline to match an offer the Houston Rockets made to Lin, a restricted free agent whom they have said they intend to keep.
Kidd’s decision was a surprise in a dizzying stretch of point guard news. It was believed he would return to the Mavericks, especially after they missed out on Deron Williams. But ESPN.com reported Thursday that anonymous sources said that Kidd had decided instead to join the Knicks for a three-year deal worth about $9 million.
The Knicks have been seeking veteran point guard help but lost out on Steve Nash a day earlier when Phoenix traded him to the Lakers.
Deals cannot be signed until July 11.
The Knicks didn’t comment on the report and calls to Kidd’s agent were not returned.
The 39-year-old Kidd helped the Mavs to the 2011 NBA title and also ranks among the top five all-time in assists, steals, triple-doubles and 3-pointers. Even though he’s slowed down from his perennial All-Star days, he could provide the veteran leadership the Knicks need and perhaps be the player who can maximize the production of the Carmelo Anthony-Amare Stoudemire tandem.
Kidd had some of his best years in New Jersey, leading the Nets to a pair of NBA Finals, and still has children there. The Nets dominated the rivalry with the Knicks back then, and now Kidd will be on the other side of it as the Nets move into their new home in Brooklyn.
His loss continues a difficult summer for the Mavericks, who needed a point guard after Williams chose to stay with the Nets but have now watched Nash and Kidd get away.
The Knicks have said they plan to re-sign Lin, so it’s unclear what Kidd’s role will be. Perhaps they could even play together if the Knicks lose shooting guard Landry Fields, who agreed to an offer sheet with the Toronto Raptors.
NBA NOTEBOOK: The Philadelphia 76ers have used the amnesty clause on veteran forward Elton Brand and will get about $18 million in salary cap relief for next season.
Sixers president Rod Thorn confirmed the move in an email to The Associated Press on Friday.
Brand was entering the final season of an $80 million, five-year contract. The amnesty clause allows a team to waive one player during the new labor deal and have 100 percent of his salary taken off the cap and the tax. Brand is still owed the money. Teams under the salary cap can now bid for Brand’s services for next season.
Brand was a two-time All-Star when he spurned better offers and signed the free-agent contract with Philadelphia. He never fulfilled the expectations of the deal even though his last two seasons with the Sixers were solid ones.
The move came the same day the Sixers agreed to terms with free-agent guard Nick Young.