Late Saturday, news broke of one of the more bizarre and strange power plays in a league of strange and bizarre power plays.
First-year head coach Jason Kidd, apparently jealous of the money and latitude given to first-time coaches Derek Fisher (Knicks) and Steve Kerr (Warriors), put in a bid to unseat general manager Billy King and gain more power within the Nets organization. Sure, he had some clout as probably the team’s all-time greatest player. As a coach though, his tenure was full of controversy — starting with the demotion of Lawrence Frank, the league’s highest paid assistant — and then eventually ending with the team’s unceremonious exit from the second round of the Playoffs.
This from a franchise that is paying almost double the salary cap in luxury taxes alone and has the highest payroll in the league.
Surely Mikhail Prokhorov thought he would be getting more for his investment. And surely he did not expect the coach to make such a massive power play. For the Nets, Kidd failed and it became quickly clear this weekend that the relationship was completely untenable.
So things moved quickly and Kidd may have ruined two franchises in the process. The Bucks agreed to send two second-round picks to the Nets for Kidd to become their head coach — Chris Broussard and Marc Stein report Kidd will not have any front office authority.
The only problem there is Larry Drew was still the head coach. He was fired Monday shortly after the deal was reported for Kidd.
Just because http://t.co/1KTz9mAIoR
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) June 30, 2014
So suddenly, a coach with a different philosophy and a different priority is in the driver’s seat with this new Bucks franchise. Not to mention there was reportedly no conversation between Bucks ownership and Larry Drew while this was all going on. Drew was left twisting in the wind.
Sure, Drew maybe had a firing coming his way despite being in his first year with Milwaukee. Last season was a disaster that ended up with Milwaukee finishing with the worst record in the league. Injuries to Larry Sanders kept him out of the lineup and the O.J. Mayo signing was horrific — he was eventually coming off the bench.
The way Kidd and the Bucks handled this trade really perturbed a lot of coaches. It surely will not ingratiate Kidd in the fraternity of coaches.
So now Brooklyn is looking for a new coach — likely targeting Lionel Hollins or Ettore Messina according to Chris Broussard. That may not save this bloated roster for the Nets, but they at least have talent. Not talent enough to win an NBA title it appears. Brooklyn appears stuck at $120 million in payroll and a middling Eastern Conference record.
The Bucks get a lot of bad press and a coach who probably is thinking about winning now instead of developing a young player like Jabari Parker. Milwaukee needed some buzz, so I guess they got that. People are talking about the Bucks again.
Kidd though remains the villain. This is the guy who spilled a drink on the floor to get his team a timeout. It seems those bush league tactics are still within his arsenal. And it does not appear this guy will stop.
After this season, if he finds success, what is to stop him from calling up his buddy — and former Nets minority owner — and current Bucks owner Marc Lasry and asking for John Hammond’s job?
This is a bad look for Kidd. He has a lot of dues he has to pay to regain respect around the league. Meanwhile, two franchises are changed for the near future in his wake.