Monday, June 30, 2014

What Is Jason Kidd Thinking?

Who are the winners and losers in the Nets, Bucks,
Kidd dance over the weekend?
I like Jason Kidd.  I liked him in high school ... and enjoyed his play in college and the NBA.  He was a sensational passer who took his biggest flaw, outside shooting, and turned into one of the best three point shooters of all time.

I thought it was a bit of a stretch for him to leave the New York Knicks as a player to the Brooklyn Nets as a head coach in a span of a day.  After the Nets started off to a horrible record, I thought he was in over his head.  Then the Nets got on a nice run and made the playoffs -- advancing into the Eastern Conference semifinals where they were eliminated by the Miami Heat in five games.

Not too shabby.  Yeah, he's got a veteran team and that helps but he did figure something out to turn that bad start into a great finish.

And then Saturday came.

Word came that Kidd wants front office control.  He wants the ability to make personnel decisions.  He wants to create his roster.  The Nets laughed that off and then Kidd wanted out.  The Milwaukee Bucks gained permission to talk to Kidd about hiring him to be their next head coach ... even though they still have Larry Drew as their current head coach.  After two second round picks later, Kidd is now the Bucks head coach, the Nets need a head coach and Larry Drew is out of a job.


I get that you want to have total control of your roster.  Every coach would love that.  But that's some nads to demand to have that power.  Usually a coach and the front office work hand in hand on those issues.  While the coach doesn't get everything he wants, the front office tries to give him as much as they can.  Only the best of the best can get that kind of power.  Popovich.  Doc Rivers.  Flip Saunders.  There is your list and Saunders just put himself in as coach a few weeks ago.

For Kidd to ask for that kind of power is one thing.  Demanding it is another.  Willing to leave a playoff team like the Nets for the Bucks is a whole other thing.  Again, he is just a year removed from being a player and to ask for power like that is astounding.  Maybe he wanted out?  Maybe he really thought he deserved that power.

It looks like he overplayed his hand quite a bit.  He will be (most likely) be leaving the Nets that made the playoffs last year and was maybe going to be together for one more season for a very young Bucks team that finished with the worst record in the NBA last season.  Business wise, it could be a wise move.  Kidd got a $10M over four years last year.  He just watched Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher get $25M for five years despite they not having any coaching experience.  I'm sure Kidd will be getting a better contract than he had in Brooklyn and he'll be (hopefully) getting a longer one with such a younger team.

But Kidd broke some huge coaching rules.  One, he went for a job that was already filled.  That's a huge no-no.  I mean, it happens that feelers get sent out and all of those kinds of investigation, but to openly go for a job that was already filled won't endear him to any in the coaching fraternity.  Two, he is now known as a guy that will stab his boss in the back.  While the Nets GM Billy King didn't want to hire Kidd, he was on board until the recent power grab.  Since this was essentially an ownership hire in Milwaukee (new ownership, by the way) there shouldn't be any good feelings in the Bucks front office either.


Well, the Nets come out of this looking sort of smelling sweet.  They stood up to the demand and backed up their GM King.  They will almost assuredly get a better coach out of all this.  While Kidd seemed to be improving as a head coach, this is a team built to win now.  Finding a veteran coach like a Lionel Hollins could be exactly what this team needs to maximize its small window.

So they get rid of their young coach without firing him and admitting any mistake -- and actually netting two second round picks in the process -- and get a win now coach.  All the while they showed front office solidarity at a time where that wasn't so certain.


Not too sure here.  Word is that they liked the way Kidd developed as a coach in Brooklyn and felt he could be a great hire to lead their very young, talented team.  Maybe he is, but you are also bringing in a guy that felt like he deserved much more organizational power than he earned.  That, I am sure, was discussed during negotiations between the team and Kidd.

The Bucks also have damage control about Drew.  While I'm not a big Larry Drew fan by any means, he didn't deserve this.  To have a job one day and then watch this soap opera play out over the weekend only to be fired Monday morning was not right.  If Kidd becomes the guy they think he'll be and develop this young team, that might go away.  Kidd better be that guy.


No one comes out of this looking great.  Kidd is banking a lot on his coaching ability to pull this off and, essentially, losing.  The Nets are entering free agency with a huge question mark at their coaching chair.  The Bucks just went behind their coach's back and took on Kidd's agenda.  It will be a nice subplot to the upcoming season.

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