Kidd Poised To Become Bucks Coach After Team Reaches Compensation Deal With Nets
The Bucks will send a pair of second-round draft picks to the Nets "to secure the coaching rights to Jason Kidd," according to sources cited by Broussard & Stein of ESPN.com. The Bucks "had been offering one second-round pick," but the Nets were eyeing a '15 first-round pick (ESPN.com, 6/30). YAHOO SPORTS' Adrian Wojnarowski reports picks in the '15 and '19 draft will go to the Nets "to allow Kidd out of the final two years of his contract and become the Bucks' coach." Sources said that new Bucks co-Owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens "had communicated nothing" to current coach Larry Drew, who will be fired, while negotiating with Kidd in recent days (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/30). In Milwaukee, Charles Gardner cited a source as saying that Lasry and Edens had "requested permission from the Nets to meet with Kidd and had a two-hour interview with him Friday" in N.Y. Kidd has "been offered the Bucks coaching position only, not a basketball front-office job." This comes after Kidd reportedly asked for "additional power and control over basketball operations with the Nets and was rebuffed by team ownership." The Bucks' talks with Kidd were done "without the knowledge" of GM John Hammond, who "has two years left on his contract and has directed the Bucks basketball operations" since April '08. Edens and Lasry "have not committed to the long-term futures" publicly of either Hammond or coach Larry Drew since gaining ownership, although they "have spoken highly of them." But the source said that the Bucks owners "wanted to make a bigger splash with their coaching position and thought a change could make a difference" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/30). ESPN.com's Andy Katz also cited a source as saying that the negotiations were "supposed to be between the owners, not involving any basketball personnel, before the story was leaked out." The negotiations now are being handled by Hammond and Nets GM Billy King. The source also indicated that Hammond, Bucks Assistant GM David Morway and VP/Player Personnel Dave Babcock are "all safe and that their jobs are not in jeopardy if Kidd is hired as coach" (ESPN.com, 6/29).
BROOKLYN BLAST: In N.Y., Tim Bontemps cites sources as saying that Kidd went to Nets ownership recently with "a series of demands, including to be given control of basketball operations and placed above" King within the organizational hierarchy. Ownership "turned down those demands, saying Kidd wasn’t ready for such a responsibility." That is when the Bucks and Lasry, who is Kidd’s "friend," came into the picture, "requesting and being granted permission to speak with him" (N.Y. POST, 6/30). In N.Y., Stefan Bondy reports Kidd, who signed a four-year, $10.5M deal with the Nets last summer, was "peeved that first-time coaches Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher netted contracts nearly double his own." Bondy also cites ESPN reports as saying that Kidd "had a 'strained' relationship with King" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/30). On Long Island, Roderick Boone reports the Kidd situation is "creating serious uncertainty about whether the Nets are going to be able to retain any of their own key unrestricted free agents." The Nets "want to bring back" F Paul Pierce, G Shaun Livingston and F Alan Anderson, but with Kidd "apparently headed for the door, it might give the players reason to search for better situations elsewhere" (NEWSDAY, 6/30).
NOT OUT OF CHARACTER: In N.Y., Cacciola & Keh write Kidd's attempt to "leapfrog King on the organizational ladder was a brazen move, albeit one that was not necessarily out of character." Kidd during his playing career "had a reputation for sparring with coaches and pursuing his own agenda, going so far as to publicly demand trades." When the Nets hired Kidd as their coach before the start of last season, he "lobbied for Lawrence Frank to be hired as his top assistant at no small cost to the organization." But when their relationship soured, Kidd "forced Frank off the bench, demoting him to the job of compiling daily scouting reports." It was "an early indication that Kidd wanted sole control over the team" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/30). ESPN N.Y.'s Ian O'Connor wrote Kidd has "always believed in the divide-and-conquer approach" off the floor. By "trying and failing to supplant" King, the rookie head coach "left his team in Brooklyn exactly as he first found it in New Jersey: Same Old Nets" (ESPNNY.com, 6/29). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro wrote Kidd's off-court conniving is "every bit as much a part of who he is, who he always has been, as his on-court brilliance" (N.Y. POST, 6/29). ESPN.com's Jackie MacMullen said of Kidd, "He's on some kind of ego trip. If I'm the Nets, I'm going to say 'don't let the door hit you on the way out'" ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 6/29).
BIG BUCK HUNTING: USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt writes the "honeymoon might not be over" for Lasry and Edens, but they "ruined dinner one night and the vacation is almost over." They are "not the first owners to take over a team and make a few missteps along the way." But it is "interesting that these two savvy and smart people think that because they were able to protect secrets in one line of work think they can do so in the NBA" (USA TODAY, 6/30). NBA.com's Steve Aschburner wrote under the header, "Bucks Risk Vibe, Goodwill Reset With Kidd." It is "bad enough that Kidd ... would attempt a power play within that organization to grab more authority" from the man who hired him. Worse though is that Lasry "would entertain installing Kidd as the Bucks’ president of basketball operations." The Bucks are "full-up, their front office and coaching jobs staffed by highly competent individuals." Hammond is "fresh off his most rewarding Draft night ever" (NBA.com, 6/29). ESPN Radio's Mike Greenberg said of Kidd, "He's friends with the owners in Milwaukee, he's on his way there. Oh, by the way, they have a coach and a general manager. It's a mess." ESPN Radio's Mike Golic: "It's embarrassing for the new ownership with the Milwaukee Bucks the way they're going about it" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 6/30).