Knicks: 5 best free agent signings since 2000

JR Smith, New York Knicks (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
JR Smith, New York Knicks (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
5 of 6
Feb 29, 2020; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Memphis won 105-88. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Knicks best free agent signings since 2000: Jason Kidd

It’s counterintuitive to think that acquiring a player during what would be the final season of his NBA career could be such a notable free agent moment for a team (granted, we are somewhat grasping at straws here), but the New York Knicks’ acquisition of NBA champion and hardened veteran point guard Jason Kidd really was instrumental in the team’s highly successful 2012-2013 season.

While Kidd’s most brilliant statistical seasons came with the New Jersey Nets in the early 2000’s, he was morphing into this wise (but physically limited) savant who played the game at an expert level with his mind.

Carmelo Anthony was definitely the Knicks’ best player that year, but he realized that the future Hall of Fame point guard he was sharing the court with needed to facilitate the offense.

"He told me, ‘Let’s play through you,’ ” Kidd said. “Coach wanted to play through Carmelo, but Carmelo was like, ‘No, I want to play through Jason.’ I think that’s the greatest compliment a teammate can get.” Via New York Times/FanSided"

Kidd had just come from Dallas, where he had a front row seat watching Dirk Nowitzki get over the hump in the 2011 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, and viewed the Knicks roster that season in a win-now context that he had been used to playing under with the Mavericks.

"“There are some similarities,”(between Carmelo Anthony and Nowitzki) Kidd said. “We got Dirk to play defense. We’ve got to rebound the ball better here. We’re a big team so we shouldn’t be out-rebounded. There’s always something to work on and that’s one of the things. “[But] it has that feel to be like that team, where we shared the ball, we don’t care who scores. We just want the win. And we’re deep, too. So we’ll see what happens. Hopefully it’s the same turnout.” Via Newsday"

While Kidd couldn’t maintain his statistical production down the stretch of the season into the playoffs, his presence on the team was worth its weight in gold. With Kidd on the roster, the team won 54 games in 2012-2013—without him the following season, they only won 37 games.