Rapid Reaction: Nets hire Kidd
June, 12, 2013
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com
The Brooklyn Nets have chosen Jason Kidd as their next head coach.
WHAT IT MEANS: Wow. Certainly didn't see this one coming at the start of the process. Remember, Kidd, 40, has absolutely no coaching experience and just retired a couple of weeks ago. And he left $6 million on the table from the New York Knicks to hang 'em up -- clearly with something like this dream scenario in mind. Well, it happened exactly the way he probably drew it up.
Boston Celtics after asking permission to interview Doc Rivers, and reached out to Jeff Van Gundy and reportedly Larry Brown as well before making the best player in the franchise's NBA history their head coach. There was even some thought that Lionel Hollins might get the gig.
Prior to this past weekend, it appeared that highly sought-after assistant Brian Shaw would get the job, but Kidd wowed Nets GM Billy King during an interview Monday, and the rest appears to be history. Shaw interviewed Wednesday with the Nets for five hours, but in the end, it didn't matter. Brooklyn's brass was sold.
INSTANT CREDIBILITY: The Nets won 26 games before then-GM Rod Thorn acquired Kidd in a blockbuster trade in 2001. With Kidd manning the point guard position, New Jersey doubled its win total in 2001-02 and went from downtrodden franchise to a franchise playing for a title. The Nets reached the NBA Finals twice with Kidd leading the way. And they're hoping his success as a player translates as a head coach.
Magic Johnson said the hardest part of Kidd's transition is going to be doing daily game-planning and coming to the realization that many of his players aren't going to be as talented or dedicated as Kidd was as a player. That's why it's imperative that he surrounds himself with veteran assistants, something he's intent on doing. Ex-Nets coach Lawrence Frank is a possibility for one of the jobs.
TROUBLE WITH THE LAW: Kidd got a DWI last summer and pleaded guilty to domestic abuse charges in 2001. This obviously didn't deter the Nets from making Kidd their guy, but clearly he's going to have to stay out of trouble now that he has this job.
A MILLION QUESTIONS: Aren't the Nets in the fourth year of owner Mikhail Prokhorov's five-year plan? Didn't former coach P.J. Carlesimo say the expectations were just too high? Wouldn't King, fresh off a three-year contract extension, want someone more established? Why would Kidd risk tainting an incredible legacy with the franchise by signing on to be their head coach? After all, as the saying goes, the majority of coaches get hired so they can get fired. Whatever. The Nets apparently believe Kidd is the right man for the job. His résumé -- 19 seasons, 10 All-Star teams, two gold medals and one NBA title -- certainly speaks for itself, no?
WHY IT WILL WORK: Kidd has a high basketball acumen and will immediately command the respect of his players, according to Johnson, because of his credentials as a player. With guys like Frank possibly around him to help him out with X's and O's, the Nets figure Kidd will thrive, even in a high-pressure environment with a win-now team. Ex-Nets coach Avery Johnson was successful going right from the pros to the coaching ranks a decade ago; why can't Kidd enjoy the same success?
FRIENDS TO CO-WORKERS: Kidd and superstar point guard Deron Williams are close friends. They golf together, their families have gone on vacation together and they share the same agent -- Jeff Schwartz. It will be a fascinating dynamic with Kidd coaching D-Will, seeing how it plays out between the two.