When the news first came out last week that Jason Kidd, the recently retired (like nine days ago) NBA point guard and future Hall of Famer, wanted to put his hat in the bid for the Brooklyn Nets head coaching gig, I thought it was just wishful thinking and that the Nets organization and other NBA teams would not take him serious; but lo and behold, Kidd talked his way into getting one of the top coaching jobs openings in the NBA.
The Nets agreed to contract details on Wednesday with Kidd. The Nets will have to surround Kidd, 40, who led the franchise to consecutive NBA Finals (2002-03) as a player but who has no coaching experience, with a seasoned bench of assistants.
The job was offered to Kidd hours after team officials met for nearly five hours with the only other known candidate for the job, Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw.
“It’s a role I have been studying for over the course of my playing days,” Kidd said in a statement released by the Nets. “Championship teams are built on being prepared, playing unselfishly and being held accountable, and that’s how I expect to coach this basketball team.”
Kidd definitely has the “Gift for Gab”; he interviewed Monday and was said to have impressed Nets GM Billy King with his preparation and vision. Shaw, also in the running for the Clippers’ head coaching vacancy, was impressive in his detailed preparation of how to gameplan for the other top teams in the East. The Nets have had conversations about adding their former head coach, Lawrence Frank, to Kidd’s staff, as well as longtime NBA assistant Dave Wohl. Wohl was a key member of the staff for three first-time head coaches: Ron Rothstein with Miami in 1988; Doc Rivers with the Magic in 2000; and Kurt Rambis with Minnesota in 2009.
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, going with name recognition and playing experience over coaching experience, said Kidd “has the fire in the belly we need and has achieved as a player everything the Brooklyn Nets are striving to achieve.”
“We believe he will lead us there,” Prokhorov said. “Welcome home, Jason.”
The Russian billionaire spent $200 million and became the owner of the Nets in 2010 and spent more than $330 million on key player’s contracts. He has big pockets that hold big money, but with that comes big expectations (he’s talking NBA title) and a short leash (and tolerance) for head coaches that “come up short”. For example, the Nets started the season strong going 11-4 in November (where then head coach Avery Johnson won Coach of the Month), the following month the team went 3-10 and Johnson got the booth. Assistant coach P. J. Carlesimo became the interim coach and did a great job, but Pokhorov watched as his team lost to the Chicago Bulls, who was without many of their key players due to injury and sickness. The Nets organization told the public that Carlesimo would not be back.
I have heard and believed that Kidd was a great “coach on the court” during his playing days, one of the smartest players in the NBA, which he believes will help him make the transition into coaching and that he had the respect of his teammates, but is he ready to tell players that he was just on the court playing against what he want them to do?
I believe that the Brooklyn Nets were one of the top teams in the league that were in need of a head coach. It’s a team full of veterans with an abundance of talent (at times they don’t even know it) and have one of the top centers in the league with Brook Lopez; at times, Deron Williams can play like a top-tier point guard. Other key pieces of the team is shooting guard Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace.
The Nets have been in the postseason 5 out of the last 6 seasons (2002-2007) that included back-to-back NBA Finals appearances, then there was a drought since 2007 and the streak ended this season.
There’s another team that has been released from the NBA’s coaching carousel. We are down to the following teams: Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies.