By Flint Wheeler
Jason Kidd’s desertion of the Nets to Milwaukee came suddenly although not quite unexpectedly, given his history of burning bridges. Kidd’s tenure in Brooklyn apparently will be short, as he is thought to have had a Bucks job in hand when he went to the Nets’ executives — above general manager Billy King’s head — and asked for control of basketball operations, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The person requested anonymity because there is no resolution yet as the Nets try to get compensation from the Bucks, and the Nets are set on a first-round pick.
Kidd’s power play backfired. He certainly had Russians in his corner. That’s in part how he got the coaching job with Brooklyn. Kidd’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, sold the idea of his player-to-coach transition to Dmitry Razumov, who is not listed in the Nets’ media guide but is a trusted adviser to owner Mikhail Prokhorov. King was against hiring Kidd, telling Sports Illustrated before the season that his initial reaction was, “Absolutely not.” But Razumov had interest, and Kidd won King over in the interview.
The relationship wasn’t smooth at first, especially when the Nets dropped to 10-21 after a New Year’s Eve loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Growing pains for Kidd as a coach were expected, but King also expected more after assembling the high-priced roster.
Both as a player and a coach, Kidd has been known to turn on other coaches, many of whom lost their jobs shortly after.
Here’s a list of Kidd’s “victims”:
Lou Campanelli, University of California
After seven years guiding the Golden Bears, Campanelli couldn’t last a season coaching an unhappy freshman named Jason Kidd.
Dick Motta, Dallas Mavericks
Byron Scott’s firing by the Nets is blamed on Jason Kidd. Kidd was drafted by Motta, and then went back on his word to attend minicamp. “I’m very upset,” Motta said at the time. He was fired after one season.
Jim Cleamons, Dallas Mavericks
Kidd was already reportedly beefing with teammate Jim Jackson when he decided to freeze out Jim Cleamons as well. Kidd forced a trade, the Mavericks were terrible, and Cleamons was fired a year later.
Byron Scott, New Jersey Nets
After two straight trips to the NBA Finals, Kidd ran Scott out of town with a locker-room tirade and a reported demand to GM Rod Thorn. That demand was obliged for Kidd, unlike the one he recently made to run the team’s basketball operations.
After pressuring Nets management to hire Lawrence Frank as his assistant coach, Jason Kidd changed his mind and re-assigned his right-hand man last season.
Avery Johnson, Dallas Mavericks
Johnson was fired less than three months after the Mavs traded for Kidd. But the point guard had to clarify on this one: “They can’t blame that one on me,” he reportedly told a friend. “When I got there, the players all thought he was crazy. And he was.”
Lawrence Frank, Brooklyn Nets
They were friends. Kidd pushed the Nets to hire Frank on a record salary for an assistant coach. About one month into the season, Kidd had cursed him out and re-assigned him to writing daily reports.
Larry Drew, Milwaukee Bucks
With perhaps his most devious plot yet, Kidd schemed his way to the Bucks head coaching job while the standing coach, Drew, was oblivious. Drew was under the assumption he was returning. Then Kidd happened.
Kidd, during his first marriage, was arrested and cited for domestic abuse of his then wife Joumana. He attended mandatory anger management classes and reconciled. The marriage was rife with accusations of infidelity. Joumana would send Kidd’s son into the Nets’ locker room to retrieve cell phones and any other evidence. She was spying on her own husband. A broken rib, damage to her hearing and next came a divorce. The divorce itself was not amicable.
In his final season with the Knicks, Kidd was arrested for driving while intoxicated. He hit a tree and ended up in the woods. Not a great way to start your final season. Everyone makes mistakes along the way. Most of us don’t get the second or third chances that athletes get. If Kidd wants to coach he must pay his dues.
So at the time of writing this, it appears Kidd is now the head coach for the Bucks? It appears their owner will do anything for publicity, and hiring Jason Kidd will be a big step. Will Kidd be successful as a head coach with the Bucks? He won’t.
Would I ever hire Kidd to coach my team, my franchise or my kid? Never in a million years.