Monday, June 30, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Kidd to Milwaukee
By Mike Mazzeo
The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired the coaching rights to Jason Kidd in exchange for two second-round picks.
Here's a quick look at what happened and what it means for the Brooklyn Nets:
Unbelievable: Even though this seemed inevitable after the news broke Saturday night, it’s still stunning.
Kidd is the best player to put on a Nets uniform during the franchise’s NBA era. He coached just one season in Brooklyn. His power play to gain control of personnel decisions was rebuffed. Now, just like that, he’s gone. Truly amazing.
Where do the Nets go from here? Lionel Hollins, the former coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, is considered a serious candidate for Brooklyn’s coaching vacancy, according to ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian O’Connor. Other veteran candidates include George Karl and Mark Jackson. Ettore Messina, who has ties with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov dating back to Prokhorov’s CSKA Moscow days, could be a dark horse. Remember, the Nets hired Kidd, who had no previous coaching experience, so it wouldn’t be a total shocker if they made an out-of-left-field hire.
The Nets job is certainly an attractive one, given that they play in the New York market and Prokhorov spent nearly $200 million on last season’s roster in payroll and luxury taxes alone. Since moving to Brooklyn two seasons ago, the Nets have had three different coaches: Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlesimo and Kidd. Now, it’s someone else’s turn.
Why did Kidd leave? He has yet to comment publicly, but Kidd has a strong relationship with new Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry. Lasry, a billionaire hedge fund manager, served as Kidd’s financial adviser when Kidd was a player. Kidd, who had received a four-year, $10.5 million contract last offseason, was unhappy with the fact that Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher, two ex-players who had never coached before, received five-year, $25 million pacts. Sources told ESPN.com that Kidd met with Lasry and and fellow co-owner Wes Edens this past Friday, where Kidd expressed interest in becoming coach. Kidd was excited about the prospect of taking over a younger team, which had just selected Jabari Parker with the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.
Legacy tarnished? Kidd won 44 games in his first season as a coach despite getting off to a 10-21 start. Sources said that during that brutal start, GM Billy King wanted to make a coaching change. Ownership, though, wanted to stay patient and keep Kidd. Eventually, despite the humiliating sodagate incident, the Lawrence Frank fiasco and losing Brook Lopez for the season due to injury, the Nets turned their season around. But Kidd’s abrupt departure from the organization, which retired his No. 5 jersey at the beginning of the season and allowed him to take on a very small ownership stake, has, understandably, not sat well with fans on social media. Brooklyn hoped to obtain a first-rounder for Kidd, but eventually settled for two seconds. Given his “strained” relationship with King, it would’ve been essentially impossible for Kidd to stay with the Nets if this didn’t work out, but it did.
Free-agent ramifications: Free agency starts Tuesday, and the Nets don't have a coach. Furthermore, unrestricted free agents Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston both greatly respected Kidd. Kidd, Pierce and Livingston are all represented by the same agent, Jeff Schwartz. Kevin Garnett, who is expected to return for a 20th season, also respected Kidd. It’s unknown how his departure could affect their plans. The Nets have Pierce’s Bird Rights, so they can pay him more than any other team. That isn’t the case with Livingston, however, and the Nets were already bracing for his departure even before Kidd left.