The Milwaukee Bucks were supposed to be the team that would take the leap in the Eastern Conference this season into being a legitimate threat to the top teams, but through 45 games they have sputtered to a 23-22 start despite having a transcendent star in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
That record has the Bucks in the eighth spot in the East at the moment, which is far from where they hoped to be, and apparently the organization has had enough of what they feel is underachieving and have decided to fire coach Jason Kidd.
The Bucks confirmed the news shortly after Wojnarowski’s report broke, releasing a statement from GM Jon Horst.
“We appreciate everything that Jason has done for the Bucks organization, but we have decided to make a coaching change,” said Bucks General Manager Jon Horst. “We believe that a fresh approach and a change in leadership are needed to continue elevating our talented team towards the next level, bringing us closer to our goal of competing for championships. Jason led a historic turnaround during his first season and would guide our team to two playoff appearances. He also played a meaningful role in helping to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee. We thank him for all of his contributions and wish him the best.”
Kidd took over the Bucks in 2014 and has compiled a 139-152 record over his three and a half seasons in Milwaukee, failing to get the young Bucks to take a significant step forward in his time as coach. Making things all the more bizarre is that the news of his firing broke on Twitter prior to Kidd being informed and the Bucks’ young star is reportedly not pleased with the decision.
This would not be the first time the young star has been somewhat disillusioned by the management of the Bucks, as it came out earlier this summer that the budding superstar was not pleased with the infighting and general disarray of Bucks’ ownership. While there are legitimate reasons to question whether Kidd was the right coach to take Milwaukee to the next level, one would hope the Bucks’ brass has thought this through in how it will affect the happiness of their star player. It’s possible they have and have a name in mind for a replacement that will appease Antetokounmpo, but if not this could only get messier in Milwaukee.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Bucks’ poor start to the season plus a general lack of organizational alignment and stability from top to bottom played a role in Kidd’s ouster.
As Woj notes, the Bucks’ roster is among the most intriguing in the NBA and this job will be a highly sought after position. Names you would expect to be thrown around as potential targets would include former Grizzlies’ coach David Fizdale along with various top assistants around the league (and potentially a current TV analyst or two). USA Today’s Sam Amick also noted Monty Williams could be a name to watch for this offseason, should the Bucks roll with an interim coach through the remainder of the season — assistant Joe Prunty will be taking over when the Bucks take on the Suns on Monday night.