Thus far the biggest news to come from the NBA free agency and trade front hasn’t involved a single player, rather all the buzz was generated by the trading of a head coach. In a bizarre twist the former head coach of the Brooklyn Nets Jason Kidd reportedly approached the management about being given a title of more significance within the organization.
This power play of sorts by Kidd was not met with open arms as the powers that be in Brooklyn refuted Kidd’s attempt to gain more power, title and control within the organization. I think in hindsight, one cannot blame those decision makers one bit as they absolutely were justified in turning down Kidd’s demands.
Let’s be honest here, Jason Kidd is not a premier NBA coach, he might not even be a good coach really and to think that a franchise with a seemingly endless supply and willingness to spend money gave him a coaching chance in the first place is and was a bit of a reach. The excitement of having Kidd working the sideline wore off quickly and his courtside antics drew the ire of basketball fans and players from around the globe. Once the shenanigans had ceased and the games came down to playcalling and scheming, it was clear that Kidd was simply over his head.
In some fairness to Kidd, the Brooklyn Nets probably met and played up to their team’s ability this past season, but they likely would have had the same result with or without Kidd roaming the sidelines. The fact is that Kidd did little to further the Nets cause this year and to think otherwise is just a fallacy.
It is quite obvious that Kidd made his push in Brooklyn knowing or at least suspected that he would be rebuffed, but he needed a way out. The behind the scenes talks had already taken place between him and the Milwaukee Bucks ownership and there was all but a guarantee of a job on the table if he wanted it. Turns out Kidd wanted it and I see nothing wrong with that, but the means to the end certainly left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
There is an unwritten code among the coaching fraternity that one can covet another’s job or situation but one will not go so far as to take a sitting coach’s job before he is relieved of his duties. No mistake about it, Kidd broke this code and with it he pretty much ousted himself from the coaching brethren. It will take nothing short of a miracle in Milwaukee for Kidd to find another job in the Association if he were to pull this stunt again anytime soon. For Kidd’s career sake, I hope he is happy in Milwaukee for a very long time because that is how long it will take to give folks a chance to forget about this mess.
Kidd is certainly not solely to blame in this fiasco, far from it. The Milwaukee Bucks ownership group should be ashamed of themselves over the handling of this affair. Not only was the Bucks General Manager John Hammond kept in the dark about this but so was the current head coach Larry Drew. If one is to look for a new coach and this is an acceptable practise; then have the decency and courtesy to fire your current one first.
I can understand why Kidd wanted out of Brooklyn. They are an aging team that is ridiculously constructed with no mind towards the salary cap, they are riddled with injury concerns and untradeable players and Kidd and general manager Billy King don’t get along. I get all this, it’s not a great situation, but guess what it’s the one he signed up for when he took the job.
Milwaukee on the other hand is an interesting situation. Young roster that has potential, Jabari Parker who is an exciting addition to the league and there is considerably less pressure that is the microscope that is New York. No one in Milwaukee sees this team as a playoff contender for next season, including ownership. So basically Kidd gets a free pass on being good for at least two seasons, whereas the mentality in Brooklyn was win now.
Adding further intrigue to this already bizarre situation is that the Bucks basically have to trade the Nets in order to officially get Jason Kidd. Kidd wasn’t fired by the Nets so technically he is team property and thus compensation is required. The Nets originally demanded a first round pick out of Milwaukee, which was good for a laugh or two but totally unrealistic in the end. No chance of Milwaukee giving up a lottery pick in the draft for the services of an unproven coach, especially when they already have one under contract that can lose games just as efficiently as Kidd.
The Nets and Bucks eventually settled on two second round picks in the upcoming drafts as fair compensation. Too high a price in my mind to pay for a coach of Kidd’s proven ability but nonetheless the Bucks were definitely pot-committed at this point in the game.
So here we have it, the biggest and most impactful trade post-draft thus far belongs to the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets who mercifully ended this media saga by agreeing to terms that will now see Jason Kidd work his magic in Milwaukee.