The answer, besides the fact that the 36-year-old point guard clearly can still play after a rock-solid showing last season, is status. And relevance, especially since it's the New York Knicks that the Mavericks are trying to one-up in the chase for Kidd.
Think of it this way: If you're the quarterback of the football team and you ask the popular cheerleader to the prom, but she goes with the president of the chess club, how would you feel?
That's what losing Kidd to New York would be like. Maybe the Mavericks aren't big men on the NBA campus. But as far away as they might be from contending for a championship, the Knicks are light years beyond that. If Kidd were to forsake the Mavericks for New York - and for less money - it would be a slap at the Mavericks' prestige.
Hey, if Mark Cuban's money is no good anymore, what's left?
This may not be the most important aspect of the situation. That detail about who plays point guard if Kidd doesn't return might be important to the Mavericks . J.J. Barea is great as a 20-minute guard. Not sure he's ready to guide a playoff team for 35 minutes a night, however.
But the Mavericks are dealing with critical issues with Kidd. Sign him and you have a legitimate chance to snag a big-time free agent in 2010. Lose him, and the chances diminish. Worse still, Dirk Nowitzki likes playing with Kidd.
By the way, don't blame Kidd for taking his time on this decision. The longer he waits, the more chances somebody comes running with another offer.
So keeping Kidd is paramount.
Eddie Sefko, DMN
Losing Jason Kidd would be bad. Losing him to the Knicks, who are no where near contention for a title would be really bad:
2008-09 record 50-32 32-50
Avg. No. of wins* 56 29.3
Playoff appearances* 3 0
Deepest playoff run* 2nd round N/A
*over last three years