Column: Kidd's Retirement Could Benefit Cooper

By
Matthew Doyle

Dateline
Updated Mon, Jun 3, 2013 5:33 pm
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Jason Kidd announced his retirement on Monday, solidifying his legacy as one of the top passing and rebounding point guards in his 19 seasons in the NBA.

Kidd’s retirement leaves the Knicks with two point guards on their current roster in Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni.

Felton averaged 13.9 points and 5.5 assists last season for the Knicks and will return to the starting lineup next season. The 36-year-old Prigioni averaged 16.2 minutes last season, scoring 3.5 points per game in 78 contests.

With Prigioni aging, the Knicks are expected to search for a backup point guard.

New York’s salary cap is around $73 million after Kidd’s retirement, which is much greater than the expected NBA salary cap of $58.5 million.

The only free agency move the Knicks could perform is signing a player to a taxpayer mid-level exception of $3.18 million. There are several players that might be on New York’s target list, including Nate Robinson, but it might have to find its backup point guard through the draft.

The Knicks own only the 24th pick in the upcoming draft. It’s unlikely that D.J. Cooper will be the selection in the first round, but Kidd’s retirement could benefit the former Ohio point guard.

According to his agent, Cooper is expected to workout with New York this summer. It’s difficult to determine if the Knicks will trade into the second round, but the need for a point guard opens more doors for Cooper.

He’s expected to work out for three more teams – New York, Orlando and Utah – after completing a workout last Friday with Portland. Those four teams own a combined five picks in the second round – four after the 40th pick – and 10 picks overall.

Utah and New York are two teams that own picks at the end of the first round – 21st and 24th, respectively. Some point guards that are expected to go off the board around that time are Miami’s Shane Larkin, Baylor’s Pierre Jackson, and South Dakota’s Nate Wolters.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, who was recently hired from CBSSports.com, made his 2013 point guard rankings in April for the NBA Draft. He ranked Cooper 23rd, but that could change, especially if Cooper pleasantly surprises teams like he did with Portland.

It remains a long road for the all-time assists leader in the Mid-American Conference, as he tries to become the first Ohio Bobcat drafted in the NBA since Brandon Hunter in 2003, but the road is getting easier. 

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