The Brooklyn Nets have officially hired 40-year-old Jason Kidd as the team’s new coach, according to multiple reports. Kidd is widely considered the best NBA Net of all-time and had been lobbying for the position all week.
A news conference introducing Kidd is set for Thursday. Kidd’s season with the Knicks ended on May 18th, and on June 12th, 25 days later, he’s announced his retirement and is now a head coach.
Kidd’s contract will reportedly be for 3-years, with a team option for a fourth. He will replace PJ Carlisimo who was let go following the Nets playoff series loss to the Bulls. There have been reports that Kidd is looking to bring in his former coach Lawrence Frank on board as an assistant, as well as former Nuggets consultant Tim Grgurich. Nothing is official though.
The Nets had been targeting several different names throughout the process, including Jeff Van Gundy, Phil Jackson, Doc Rivers, Lionel Hollins, and most recently Brian Shaw whom Brooklyn met with earlier today. Shaw was an early favorite for the job before Kidd came up as a potential candidate. He worked under Phil Jackson with the Lakers, and was viewed as one of the best assistants with the Pacers. Shaw’s work with Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert made the league take notice of his ability to coach, but Brooklyn turned him down.
This move to bring Kidd in by Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and General Manager Billy King is one of the boldest moves in NBA history. Never before has a player immediately gone from player to coach, although there have been player-coaches in the past (Bill Russell with the Celtics). The Nets may also be looking at what Mark Jackson did with the Warriors. Jackson, like Kidd was regarded as a high IQ player, and had no experience on the bench before becoming the coach of the Warriors. In his second season, he enjoyed great success taking Golden State to the playoffs before falling to the Spurs in 6 games.
As a player, Kidd pulled off the near impossible by making the Nets relevant taking them to 2 consecutive NBA Finals. The Nets enjoyed their greatest success with Kidd as a player, and maybe he can rekindle that magic as coach.
Kidd’s never called a play, made a substitution, called a timeout, or done anything a typical assistant coach or head coach would do. Yet, he won over team management throughout the interview process.
The pressure will be very high for Kidd from the start, especially with the expectations Prokhorov has set: championship or bust. Although unrealistic, the Nets haven’t messed around. Avery Johnson had a bad couple of weeks, and was let go. PJ Carlisimo lost to a better Bulls team in the first round, and wasn’t given another chance. He’s now at ESPN. It will be fascinating to see how much patience Brooklyn has for Kidd if his new team struggles.
The toughest job for Kidd will be how he deals with a roster likely unequipped to win a championship, and one with essentially no cap space. Kidd definitely has his work cut out for him.
One thing the Nets may have seen with Kidd is his ability to work with Deron Williams, who’s mental toughness has been questioned throughout the years. Deron teaming up with Kidd may be a match made in heaven.
The other negative side of the Nets bringing in Kidd is his questionable acts throughout his playing career. You can’t forget how he faked a migraine because he was unhappy with the state of the team forcing his way out of New Jersey. If the Nets got off to a slow start, who’s to say Kidd wouldn’t decide he’s had enough and walk? He did it in 2008. Kidd also had a DUI last summer in the Hampton’s, and pleaded guilty to domestic abuse of his wife back in 2001. As the new coach, Kidd will be expected to set the example, and must mature sooner rather than later.
Let the reunion begin.