Kidd is off to Milwaukee, but where does that leave the Nets?
If you haven't heard yet, Jason Kidd has created the biggest story of the NBA off-season so far. In an effort to gain some type of Phil Jackson, personnel role within the Nets organization, while maintaining his role as head coach, Kidd has asked Nets ownership for a promotion.
Naturally, they emphatically declined the ambitious first year coach’s plea, which led to Kidd entertaining the Buck’s offer to become their President of Basketball operations. The Nets permitted Kidd to interview with the Bucks, and now are willing to release him from his contract in exchange for future draft picks.
The only thing is, the Nets and Bucks can’t agree on a swap. ESPN reports that Jason Kidd will be the next Bucks head coach if the Nets agree to receiving a 2nd round pick. The Nets, however, are steadfast in their demands for a first-round pick.
As a result of this fiasco, Kidd’s tenure in BK is all but guaranteed done. The relationship between ownership, the general manager Billy King, the players and Kidd is almost assuredly tarnished. How can you endorse a coach who tried to seize power from his boss, the GM, if you are ownership? How can you cooperate with a man who thought he could do your job better than you if you are Billy King? And finally, how can you expect to be led by a guy who quit on you just because he wanted more money and power if you are the players? This whole situation spells out trouble for Jason Kidd’s future in Brooklyn.
But even past Jason Kidd, this surprising and sudden development spells out more trouble for Brooklyn. First of all, their experiment hiring Kidd in the first place would be considered a failure. They will be laughingstocks of the league, and all of those analysts who criticized the Nets for hiring Kidd will be validated. Their new found identity, one of playing small-ball and forcing turnovers, is now nonexistent and must be found again next season. Not to mention, finding a new identity won’t be easy by any means. It took last season’s newly constructed team until New Year's Eve to turn their season around and find some semblance of team chemistry. And that turnaround was without Brook Lopez.
Next season they will have to learn how to play with each other all over again, but now with Lopez. The Nets, keep in mind, haven't had a consistent, year-in, year-out, coaching presence since Byron Scott (maybe). To finally find an identity and a coach you can call a leader was a blessing that the Nets are now losing.
Back to dealing with the roster, Jason Kidd’s departure could implicate some of the player’s decisions to return this off-season. Shaun Livingston is an unrestricted free agent and is coming off a career year. He directly cites Kidd’s mentoring and coaching, along with health, as reasons for his great season.
Kevin Garnett has already announced that he is coming back for one more season, but that was before this Kidd situation. Kidd was one of the people who persuaded KG to uplift his no-trade clause and come to the Nets to pursue a championship. Maybe KG will feel like this roster can’t compete for a championship without their leader. The same goes for Paul Pierce, as he is an unrestricted free agent as well.
With Kidd gone, the Nets will have to accept their failure in finding their own home-bred coach, and will have to find a veteran coach to lead this win-now roster. Mark Jackson, George Karl, Lionel Hollins and Jeff Van Gundy all seem to be candidates. And while those coaches are all phenomenal at their jobs, it would still be the Nets’ 4th coach in two years, and still the Nets would be missing their home-bred guy.
Kidd was supposed to be that home-bred guy. He was arguably the greatest player to ever wear a Nets jersey (if we’re not counting Julius Irving in the ABA), he led them from the bottom of the standings to two consecutive Finals appearances, and now he was supposed to come back to coach the franchise that saw his career blossom all the way into the Finals. Instead, he betrayed them. He became too ambitious, and bit the hand that fed him.
Now, with his number five jersey hanging in the rafters of the Barclays Center as a reminder, the Brooklyn Nets must live with the mistake of hiring a Kidd.