by Marcel Mutoni

In the end, as always, it was about the money.

Jason Kidd agreed to return to the Dallas Mavericks, largely because team owner Mark Cuban was the one person on this planet willing to offer him this kind of money: $25 million over three years, for a 36-year old point guard.

The Knicks will simply have to continue living with the immortal Chris Duhon as their on-court leader. More from the Star-Telegram:

“We are excited to have Jason Kidd back in a Mavs uniform,” Cuban said. “He was a major contributor for us last year and we expect more of the same next year. We also are excited to have him tutor Roddy Beaubois and J.J. Barea. This is hopefully the first of several deals to come in the next couple of weeks.”

Kidd was wooed by the Knicks, but they could not offer a contract that would be competitive with what the Mavericks could offer. Barring a sign-and-trade, the Knicks were limited to offering a contract starting at about $5.5 million, expected to be the mid-level exception when the salary cap is confirmed by the NBA this week.

The thinking in Dallas seems to be that Jason’s presence will help lure free agents to town in the mythical summer of 2010.

Last season, Kidd averaged 9 points and 8.7 assists per night, the lowest output of his career.