Monday, June 10, 2013
The greatest player in the franchise’s NBA history has been actively lobbying for Brooklyn’s vacant coaching position, a source said.
As the Daily News’ Mike Lupica reported Saturday, Kidd is scheduled to meet with Nets GM Billy King this week.
The Nets, according to a source, are “looking for a fresh face,” and nobody can be fresher to coaching than Kidd. Although known for his great basketball IQ and winning pedigree, his behavior at times has been questionable, unbefitting of a leader — whether it was the forcing out of Byron Scott as coach, the faux migraine in 2007 and the DUI last summer in the Hamptons.
But there’s very recent precedent for such coaching success. At Golden State, Mark Jackson — who never held an assistant job – guided the Warriors into the second round in his second season. Larry Bird was successful when he went straight to the front of Indiana’s bench. Other great players who made the leap, such as Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas, didn’t fare so well.
Before Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, Kidd got a ringing endorsement from San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. “When you’ve played in the league as long as Jason has and played for a number of coaches, he has pretty much seen everything that the NBA can offer,” said Popovich, whose disciple, Avery Johnson, was fired by Mikhail Prokhorov last season. “So he does have experience. If he’s crazy enough to want to be a coach in this league, I wish him all the best. But he certainly has the intuitive skills to know what’s going on out there.
“So if that’s what he wants to do, and that’s who they want to hire, I think that he’s got an opportunity and a possibility to be really, really good at it.”Jeff Van Gundy, who was reportedly contacted by the Nets about the job but is not a candidate, agreed for the most part, but was more cautious in his assessment.
“I think certainly Kidd had a remarkable career, a remarkable basketball IQ and a poise that was exceptional,” the former Knicks coach said. “Now you don’t know how that’s going to translate but I would think he would have a great chance to have it translate exceptionally well. When you’re moving from an assistant to a head coach, it’s an unknown, too. I went through that. I didn’t even know if I’d be any good at it. Deep down you don’t know until you do it. But unless you give a guy a shot, it’s a gamble if you’re a general manager unless you’re getting someone who is a known quantity as a head coach in the NBA.”
Kidd has a strong relationship with Nets guard Deron Williams, with the pair vacationing last summer together in the Hamptons. Williams has said Kidd was one of his childhood idols. They also share the same agent, Jeff Schwartz, who represents nearly half Brooklyn’s roster. When he retired just last week, Kidd said he was interested in pursuing a job in coaching or in the media.
Still, a Kidd hiring would go against what Williams and other players said after the season, when they agreed that a veteran should take over to command respect and develop toughness that was missing in the playoffs.
The Nets are still going hard for Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, but there’s competition from the Clippers and Nuggets. They’ve also contacted Phil Jackson, only to be told the Zen Master isn’t interested in returning to coaching. Jackson and Shaw have something in common: the triangle offense.
The Nets were denied permission by the Celtics to talk to Doc Rivers – who is under contract for three more seasons. But according to the Boston Herald, Rivers and GM Danny Ainge are in a standoff, with the potential for a divorce if Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce both leave. At that point the Celtics could grant the Nets permission to talk to Rivers.