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Friday, July 3, 2009

Knicks meet with Kidd on first day of free agency

NEW YORK (AP) The Knicks are trying to persuade Jason Kidd to come to New York, while deciding how much they want David Lee and Nate Robinson to stay.

News photo
Testing the market: Perennial All-Star guard Jason Kidd, a top free agent this offseason, met with the New York Knicks on Wednesday. AP PHOTO

Kidd and his agent met with Knicks president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, the first day of free agency. The Knicks are interested in the point guard, but plan to be cautious in free agency because they want to save salary cap space for the summer of 2010.

Walsh told reporters that no contract offer was made to Kidd, who is exploring his options. The Knicks hope he would consider a return to the New York area after starring for New Jersey before he was dealt to Dallas in February 2008.

The Mavericks also are interested in keeping Kidd, who was a member of the U.S. team that won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. D'Antoni was an assistant coach on that team.

Walsh has repeatedly said his goal is to be a major player next summer, when LeBron James can be the biggest name in a potentially loaded free agent class. So he may be hesitant to offer much more than the midlevel exception of about $5.6 million to Kidd, who can earn much more by remaining in Dallas.

The Knicks also have said they would like to retain two of their own free agents, Lee and Robinson, if the prices are right.

Lee's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said he spoke to the Knicks late Tuesday night but had "nothing really new to report" late Wednesday afternoon.

Pistons land pair

DETROIT (AP) A person with the knowledge of the negotiations says the Detroit Pistons have agreed in principle to contracts with free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

The person spoke on Wednesday night on the condition of anonymity because NBA rules prohibit teams from announcing free agent signings until next week.

Gordon, the third pick in the 2004 draft by the Chicago Bulls, agreed to a five-year deal for at least $50 million. He was the Bulls' top scorer the past four years and became an unrestricted free agent after the season. Chicago officials had said bringing him back next year was a top priority.

The 26-year-old Gordon averaged 20.7 points during the regular season before scoring 24.3 points during the playoffs when the Bulls lost to the Celtics in seven games.

Villanueva, the seventh overall pick by Toronto in 2005 who has played the last three of his NBA season with the Milwaukee Bucks, also agreed to a five-year deal. His contract is worth at least $35 million.

Villanueva averaged 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds last season for the Bucks.

Dumars in a hurry

DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Pistons don't plan to wait long to name a replacement for fired coach Michael Curry.

Joe Dumars, the Pistons' president for basketball operations, doesn't have a "complete list" of candidates but wants to act in less than a week, before next Tuesday's opening practice for the NBA developmental league.

"My goal is to have a head coach in place by the time we go out to Las Vegas," Dumars said in a video posted on the team's Web site. The NBA Summer League runs July 10-19.

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