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After completing Kidd deal, Knicks can focus on keeping Lin

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Associated Press
7/6/2012 2:42:38 PM
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The New York Knicks view Jason Kidd as a teammate of Jeremy Lin, not a replacement.

And once they finish the deal that would bring Kidd to New York, they can move on to keeping Lin there as well.

They have a chance for a tantalizing tandem at point guard, the 39-year-old veteran who is one of the most accomplished ever at the position and the undrafted Ivy Leaguer that took the league by storm last season.

Step one is nearing its completion. The Knicks and Kidd were still working Friday on terms of the deal that will get him from Dallas to New York, according to a person familiar with the details. Kidd would be able to make a higher salary if the teams are able to work out a sign-and-trade arrangement, rather than him signing in New York as a free agent.

The person spoken on condition of anonymity because deals can't be signed until July 11.

That's when Lin will be able to sign the offer sheet he agreed to Thursday with the Houston Rockets. It would pay him a little more than $5 million in each of the first two years and $9.3 million in each of the last two years, according to a person with knowledge of the salaries. The fourth season is a team option.

The Knicks will have three days to match the offer for the restricted free agent, and they have repeatedly said they plan to keep Lin, who became a breakout star when he took over the starting point guard role in February.

His season was cut short after 35 games, including 25 starts, because of torn knee cartilage that required surgery. But the Knicks had already seen enough on the court -- and at the box office and souvenir stands -- to know they don't want Lin get away.

But as good as he was in his brief stint, questions remain whether he is the player to best complement the Carmelo Anthony-Amare Stoudemire duo. Perhaps that would be Kidd, who has played with both on USA Basketball teams and teamed with centre Tyson Chandler on the Mavericks' 2011 NBA championship team.

The Knicks have other decisions to make at guard. Landry Fields, the starting shooting guard most of the last two years and Lin's best friend on the team, has agreed to an offer sheet with Toronto that would pay him about $20 million over three years. New York has to decide whether to accept that and also is trying to keep free agent JR Smith, who declined the second-year option on his contract but could return.

Jeremy Lin (Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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