SBD/September 5, 2013/Franchises

Kidd Acquiring Jay Z's Stake In Nets Draws Quizzical Responses Among TV Pundits

The move by Nets coach Jason Kidd to buy the stake in the team that had belonged to Jay Z generated a lot of discussion on sports-talk TV shows yesterday. CBSSN’s Doug Gottlieb asked, “Isn’t it weird ... for the head coach to also be a part owner? What if Jason Kidd stinks as coach. Can they fire a part owner?” CBSSN’s Allie LaForce said, “Even if he gets fired, he has a stake in a team that’s at least growing and getting better. If I was a player I’d be excited that my head coach is so dedicated that he bought a part of the team” (“Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 9/4). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser asked, "Why do they want him to own a piece of the team? In some strange way, does it make it easier to fire him because they can say, 'You can go be the president or something like that.'" ESPN's Michael Wilbon replied, "This is the way they're compensated now." However, Wilbon acknowledged, "There's a lot of pressure, it seems to me, on Jason Kidd" ("PTI," ESPN, 9/4). ESPN's Pablo Torre said this is a Jay Z story, because if Kidd "bought his shares from a random millionaire, it's be a footnote in SportsBusiness Journal and no one would care." Torre: "But because Jay Z could do anything, he could sell his old microwave and it would get headlines, that's why we care about it" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 9/4). SportsNet N.Y.'s Marc Malusis called it a "smart investment" for Kidd, because the Nets are "going to be the best basketball team in this city" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 9/4). ESPN's Keith Olbermann noted the "value of the share that Kidd is buying is $500,000, which represents one-sixth of one percent of ownership of the team." Olbermann: "He's all in!" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 9/4).

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said while it is the "tiniest of percentages" that Kidd is acquiring, there could be an issue with the team "if players see any perception that their coach is part of ownership." Cowlishaw: "You've always got a couple of players haggling with management over their contracts. Jason Kidd does not want to be part of that" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 9/4).
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