It wasn’t long ago that Jason Kidd the head coach intentionally spilled a drink on the court to try and steal the league’s most expensive team in history its fifth win through the first 15 games of last season. It speaks volumes of the Brooklyn Nets’ turnaround and Kidd’s improvement on the sideline that such an embarrassing moment has mostly been forgotten. The future Hall-Of-Famer could be considered one of basketball’s brightest young coaches after leading the Nets to a 34-17 record once the calendar flipped to 2014, and he’s begun wielding the clout that comes with such a distinction by reportedly requesting front office and decision-making power from Brooklyn ownership. The problem for Kidd? Mikhail Prokhorov and company are refusing to give it to him and will likely sever ties with Kidd as a result.
According to a league source, Kidd recently approached ownership with a series of demands, including the role of overseeing the Nets’ basketball operations department in addition to his head coaching responsibilities. The source said Kidd didn’t want general manager Billy King to be dismissed, but wanted to be given a title and placed above him in the organizational hierarchy.
Ownership declined to grant Kidd that kind of power, which is rare for any coach in the league to have. The source said ownership felt Kidd wasn’t ready for that kind of responsibility after having only one year of coaching experience — the team finished his first season on the bench with a 44-38 record, good for sixth in the Eastern Conference — and allowed Kidd to seek other opportunities.
The franchise then was asked by the Bucks for permission to speak with Kidd about the prospect of hiring him, and the Nets allowed them to do so.
The San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers, Detroit Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy, and Minnesota Timberwolves’ Flip Saunders are the only coaches in the league currently holding positions like the one Kidd seeks. Popovich, Rivers, and Van Gundy are universally considered among the NBA’s elite basketball thinkers in part due to years of sustained success, while Saunders assumed the dual-role of President and head coach last month almost by default after the Timberwolves struck out on their top candidates to replace Rick Adelman.
It’s a rare job description, basically, and one Kidd has hardly earned despite Brooklyn’s midseason seachange in his first season as a coach. It’s that inexperience coupled with wild hubris that has surely contributed to Prokhorov’s decision to deny Kidd the role he wants and likely part ways with the former New Jersey Nets star. Indeed, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that Brooklyn ownership is “done” with Kidd.
"The Russians are done with Kidd," source tells Yahoo. Story on the demise of Nets-Jason Kidd partnership. http://t.co/aDrtqeBds1
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 29, 2014
And though Bontemps and myriad of other reports indicate that Kidd will soon meet with Milwaukee’s front office to gauge their interest in providing him that rare autonomy, Grantland’s Zach Lowe says that the rest of the league is fed up with Kidd’s antics.
Reaction pouring in from other 29 teams is mix of eye-rolling at Kidd, out-and-out laughter, shock even among cynics that he'd pull this.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 29, 2014
If the Nets have already decided to let Kidd walk and things don’t work out with Milwaukee – the Bucks hired Larry Drew before last season and John Hammond has been entrenched as GM since 2008 – it’s not outlandish to suggest that Kidd could find himself without a coaching job, let alone front office one, for 2014-2015. Crazy.
Stay tuned for more developments. This story has just begun.
Is Kidd asking for too much?
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